The Technology for Tourism Testbed

New ideas need to be deployed and tested, and a key part of this initiative is to provide a testbed in a living dynamic tourist destination. The Malvern Hills is in an Area of Outstanding National Beauty with a heritage of tourism that had particular significance in Victorian England as a destination for the water cure.

The initiative aims to facilitate the deployment of new technologies in the Malvern Hills and surrounding area, enabling reference data to be gathered that will help these products and services to be made ready for international markets.  Of key significance is the diversity of the environment that the testbed offers:

• The Malvern Hills - an extensive rural area with limited broadband and patchy cellular network coverage; an ideal environment to test in an area where mobile data access may be limited and a range of weather conditions can be expected during the year.

• The Malverns - a community of small towns and villages in a countryside setting, with numerous indoor and outdoor attractions such as parks, churches, museums, stately homes and castles, an established showground, bed & breakfasts, hotels, and a limited rural transportation network of bus and rail.

• Worcester, Hereford, and Gloucester - three neighbouring mid-sized cities with cathedrals, enhanced infrastructure, and numerous attractions and facilities. These cities are also the administrative centres for the three counties that the Malvern Hills span.


A number of projects have been initiated through the Technology for Tourism initiative, either through inspiration and/or collaboration.



Malvern Town Trail App leading to Malverns Walks app

Inspired by the forum, High Street Malvern decided to write a simple Android-based mobile app to provide a series of walking tours around Great Malvern.  Software developer Mike Brooks and the Malvern Hills District Council have then used this prototype to create Malverns Walks, a series of walking tours available for Android and Apple iOS devices.



Virtual Malvern 3D Map

A demonstration of how the network works to solve issues through collaboration. The challenge was how to provide information to prospective visitors that would encourage them to turn 'days into stays' in the Malvern area. This resulted in the prototype web app of a 3D Malvern Map focused on the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The virtualisation made use of a Unity engine to allow easy 'simulator game-like' navigation, and highlighted the topography and spatial relationship of numerous attractions as well as places to eat and stay in the area.  The aim was to encourage people to explore the area before arriving and planning to stay longer to take in more of the local area.