We are studying a ferry ride between Slussen, Stockholm and Djurgården, Stockholm.
The trip is fairly short, about 15 minutes one-way. The ferry is a rather well integrated part of Stockholms public transport, but also a bit of a tourist attraction since it runs between "Gamla Stan" and Djurgården that are popular locations for visitors.
The team performed a combined observation field study and interview excursion by taking a ride with the boat and asking travellers questions according to the questionnary prepared in a previous blog post. Questions were both for:
- Qualitative analysis to get empirical data and aquire a better understanding of context of use and also get hints of Use Cases and expectations around the trip.
- Quantitative analysis with rating scales on the limited set of questions we could categorize exact answers for in advance.
Interviews of Ferry RidersWe did a task analysis by interviewing ferry riders and a few potential ferry riders about the intended purpose or goal of the ride. Most of the respondants were either going to work or touristing in a location nearby the ferry landing. They had to wait maximum 15 minutes for the ferry, the ride was about seven minutes one-way. There were both seats inside and viewplaces outside.
Most of the travelers said they were happy with the boat trip. This was also confirmed by simple triangulation -- we observed most people at the boat looking happy and acting relaxed. Both for frequent commuting and for a single tourist ride. This might be explained easily though. The boat offers a competitive alternative to buses and trams that has to follow a crowded road instead of going straight over the water. And the sea view comes for free while the ride is short enough to compete with the equivalent bus ride.
Technical State of the Art and Expected Future
FerrysAll ferrys has restrooms and all had some or even good support for wheelchairs, bikes and goods transport. According to the ferry operator's web page, the fleet consist of both old and new boats, where new boats has better accessability.
The combination of old and new boats suggest that a ferry has very long operational life-time. Hence it is fair to assume that a ferrys basic properties will remain similar for decades exept for refurbishing and add-on installations.
Ecosystem state of art
Traffic SystemPublic transport in Stockholm is operated by SL, Stockholms Lokaltrafik which employ subcontractors for the actual bus, train, subway and boat operations. To the average rider though, SL looks like a seamless single operator with a central ticket system and customer service.
APIs and appsThe SL traffic information data base and servers (like timetables, real-time delays, travel planner) are available over a public API. SL has an official web page and app, but there are also a large number of 3:rd party apps available of verying quality. This might be a cultural probe of the intersection of Open Data and Apps. Everybody can in theory make an SL app, and a few of those who really can has done it and published the result.
One conclusion is that we must think twice before designing yet another app.
Personal TechnologyBased on indirect observations and empirical data of technical products and their evolution.
Most people have a phone. A lot of people has a phone or similar device with ability to run apps and access internet. Some people wears headphones, mainly for music but sometimes also for talking over the phone.
Apps has existed since 2008, but the concept (programs installed by users) has existed for more than 50 years. Conclusion: The App concept is not stable yet. There will be further change.
The Siri App is one of the first Virtual Assistant products launched by Apple 2011. It offers a voice interacting artificial intelligence that can respond to a limited set of instructions. Typical examples are setting an alarm, getting a weather report or dictate an SMS. The current Siri is stupid, but useful for a person who learned to stay within Siri's abilities.
Watson is a Question Answering AI system by IBM. It is able to read massive amounts of text and provide answers based on the text, including refering to the text and explain how the answer relates to the text material. In a marketing event by IBM in 2011, Watson played Jeopardy! against the best human players and won. Right now it is learning to read medical records and law text.
What if Siri and Watson merges? Can they read timetables and tourist guides from an unknown city and act as a personal guide?
Background data here.