Finalists revealed in VisitScotland digital competition

The University of St Andrews, Edinburgh Napier University and The Glasgow School of Art have been named as finalists in a digital competition launched by VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourism organisation.

 Teams from the three universities submitted creative proposals centred on the development of an interactive and innovative digital product designed to showcase Scotland’s places of interest and inspire visits to Scotland during the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

The competition which aims to celebrate the expertise, skills and knowledge of Scotland’s academic institutions is a brand new product development approach for Scotland’s national tourism organisation.  The project was developed in collaboration with Interface, which connects organisations to academic expertise for research and development leading to new products, services and processes.

 Competition finalists were selected by a panel of judges including Dr Jamie Coleman - Managing Director of CodeBase, Clive Gillman - Director of Creative Industries at Creative Scotland and Suzanne Dawson - Head of Sector Relationships at Interface.  The judges evaluated the entries based on criteria including the interpretation of the brief, clarity of content strategy and product innovation.

 Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“The 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design carries forward the momentum from last year’s celebration of food and drink and demonstrates Scotland’s credentials as an innovation nation -  showing that our creative, modern and inventive past, present and future can continue to inspire and influence audiences across the globe.

 “This innovative marketing competition links two of the Year’s themes –  innovation and design – with young designers across Scotland, challenging them to create an interactive digital product which will motivate people to visit Scotland. I would like to congratulate the three finalists for reaching this stage of the competition and I look forward to seeing how the winning entry will develop into an exciting digital product that will inspire visitors for years to come.”

 Charles Smith, Director of Marketing at VisitScotland said:

“This is a brand new collaborative approach for VisitScotland and it has been a really exciting process from initiation to working with the finalists across the three teams as part of the mentoring process. The support from Interface, the mentors and the judges has been central to the success of the project, but ultimately it is about celebrating the expertise, knowledge, ideas and talent of the academic teams.”

 Suzanne Dawson, Head of Sector Relationships at Interface, and a competition judge, said:

“The VisitScotland competition has been a fantastic way of highlighting how Scotland’s top academic expertise can help turn an idea into an exciting reality.”

 “I’ve been impressed by the proposals, which provide creative solutions aimed at attracting international and domestic tourists to Scotland. I am sure that the competition will inspire those working in the tourism sector, from the largest visitor attraction to the smallest B&B, to think about how working with academics could help grow their business.”

 “This is a great example to show how universities and research institutions are paving the way for new developments in all sectors.”

 Professor David Benyon, Director of the Centre for Interaction Design in Edinburgh Napier’s School of Computing, said:

“It has been a great boost for the students to work on a real commercial brief as part of their studies.”

 “They have been able to apply the techniques taught in class and see how well they work in real life, and it is pleasing to see their efforts and enthusiasm rewarded with a place in the final three.”

 Dr Alan Miller of the University of St Andrews’ School of Computer Science said:

“We are so excited to be in the final. It would be fabulous to work with VisitScotland to create our proposed ‘Taste From Afar’ collection of immersive tours. It has been a joy to participate in the competition and we have learned so much from our mentors.”

 Dr Stuart Jeffrey, Research Fellow in International Heritage Visualisation at The Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design (DDS) said:

“Our Heritage Visualisation MSc students are delighted to have been short listed for the VisitScotland Digital competition for the year of Innovation, Architecture and Design”

 “The DDS has extensive previous experience in research projects in the heritage sector, from The Scottish Ten - large scale recording of World Heritage Sites with Historic Environment Scotland - to co-production of heritage data with community groups and mobile application development for tourists.”

 “The students leading the competition entry are excited to have the opportunity to work so closely with visitor and digital industry professionals and are enthusiastic about the impact their competition idea could have on the visitor experience in Scotland in this important year.”

 As part of the competition process, the finalists have been awarded a mentoring session with leading games industry representative Michael Boniface, Managing Director of Reloaded Productions Ltd and Charles Smith, Director of Marketing at VisitScotland.  The one-to-one sessions focus on nurturing and developing each idea further to ensure readiness for market delivery.

 All three teams will now go forward to present their final product idea to a panel of judges, with the winning team securing a £16,000 prize fund towards their professional development.   In the final stage of the competition, the winning team will be matched with a digital agency to develop their concept through to completion.

 The competition winner will be announced at a later date.

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