Attracting around 600,000 sightseers annually, the Isle of Skye is prone to severe congestion along many of its single track roadways and car parks. The app uses a coloured traffic light system to alert users to the level of congestion at key sites, therefore allowing tourists to best time their route across the island. The app, named MySkyeTime, had been developed in collaboration with tourism business group SkyeConnect and software developers Cairn Consulting.
Aided by an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account grant, the team developed the app capability from a blueprint ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) system for visitor management that they had developed in two earlier projects.
‘We launched this app in February this year, and it has already been downloaded over 500 times,’ said Ewelina Lacka, Reader in Digital Marketing and Analytics and lead researcher of the project. ‘Tourists can now access real-time functionality and study an interactive map of the island to best plan their route across the tourist destination hotspots.’
Using sensor data taken across four key sites – the Old Man of Storr, Claigan Coral Beach, the Quiraing and the Fairy Pools - the app also provides important emergency information such as the location of defibrillators, as well as local eateries, shops, activities and walks. Further development of the app will use enhanced data and new traffic sensors to add scope to the numbers of live destination updates that are available.
The research team was led by Ewelina, and included colleagues Angela Tregear (Personal Chair in Marketing), Jake Ansell (Professor of Risk Management) and Sarah Cooper (Personal Chair in Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development).
Angela Tregear commented: ‘We are really pleased with the rate of downloads of the app since its launch in February, and we are already hearing tales of how it is helping local businesses, as well as visitors, as the main tourist season starts to ramp up. We continue to liaise closely with SkyeConnect as more data comes on stream from the app, and are looking at ways to extend the IoT system in future.'