Visitors to Coventry will be able to download tourist information and up-to-the-minute 'what's on' news straight to their mobile phones from next month.
On entering the city, visitors in possession of web-enabled mobile phones will be able to download, for free, comprehensive tourist information specific to Coventry, such as guides to the city centre, key tourist sites such as the Cathedral and the Motor Museum, points of historical interest, landmark buildings, special events, eating out, s hopping centres and cinema/theatre listings.
The application has been designed by UK Unplugged, a tenant company of Coventry University Enterprises, the commercial arm of Coventry University.
Tim Luft, UK Unplugged director, said: "Advances in technology in recent years offer a real opportunity to change the face of traditional industries such as tourism.
"From visiting tourist attractions myself, I noticed many guides were still using basic tape recorders on an audio system. We felt the use of interactive media could dramatically enhance the visitors' experience.
"Our application is a real breakthrough for Coventry's tourist industry and has the potential to be a nationwide success.
"Visitors to Coventry who own web-enabled phones - either GPRS or WLAN - simply need text a certain number or click a web-link in order to download the software onto their phones. This is completely free and once down-loaded remains on the phone until the owner wishes to remove it.
"Not only does the application eliminate the need to carry around handfuls of leaflets and booklets, it also ensures the
user is constantly kept up to date via real time scrolling news with what is happening that day in Coventry."
Local businesses will be able to advertise on the application. A one-off fee gives them an unlimited licence, while UK Unplugged installs the application on their server and trains them how to put content onto it.
The product was successfully piloted last year in Stratford-upon-Avon, where visitors were able to download the application onto PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) which they hired out from hotels and other venues. By adapting the service for mobile phones, however, the company hopes to reach a far wider and more varied audience of users who already own mobile phones and have a good understanding of how to use them.
If the project proves successful, it will be rolled out in Birmingham as well.