Praise for smart­phone tourism tracker

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - DAVID KILLICK

THE in­sight and in­no­va­tion of Tas­ma­nia’s bright­est in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy stars has been recog­nised.

The big win­ner of this year’s Aus­tralian In­for­ma­tion In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion was a Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia joint ven­ture that helps track tourism be­hav­iour via a smart­phone app.

The Tourism Tracer team, who use GPS tech­nol­ogy and com­puter pro­gram­ming to un­der­stand the travel be­hav­iour of tourists, took out four gongs in the awards cer­e­mony at Wrest Point on Fri­day night.

The team from Ionata Dig­i­tal and the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia were recog­nised in the Con­sumer Mar­kets, Busi­ness Ser­vice Mar­kets, Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Project of the Year and the In­fra­struc­ture and Plat­forms In­no­va­tion of the Year sec­tions.

Se­nior lec­turer at the univer­sity’s School of Busi­ness and Eco­nomics Anne Hardy said the recog­ni­tion was a great hon­our.

“Over time we’ve both learned a lot about the ben­e­fits of part­ner­ship and we’ve be­come leaner and we’ve ex­plored op­por­tu­ni­ties to bring the costs down sig­nif­i­cantly for po­ten­tial cus­tomers in the future,” she said.

“It’s an un­likely part­ner­ship, but it has just worked. Be­cause it is a small firm, we have de­vel­oped a re­ally strong re­la­tion­ship within this team.”

Dr Hardy said the project was hit­ting its straps at a crit­i­cal time for tourism.

“I think it’s re­ally cru­cial. Tas­ma­nia is right on the cusp of change. We’re start­ing to see ques­tions in the com­mu­nity about whether we’ve reached peak tourism,” she said.

“What Tracer can do is show how peo­ple move. The next stage of this is send­ing mes­sages to tourists say­ing ‘Fr­eycinet is full, con­sider go­ing to Friendly Beaches first’.

“My dream for Tracer is that it trans­forms the way we col­lect and the way we vi­su­alise data. I think the days of pa­per-based sur­veys and col­lec­tion are go­ing. They are no longer al­ways use­ful.

“My dream for Tracer is to see it turn into a suc­cess­ful busi­ness.”

State fi­nal­ists go on to com­pete in the na­tional AIIA 2018 iAwards in Mel­bourne. See www.themercury.com.au for win­ners list.

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