“Sensors show bottlenecks and help spread visitors more evenly.”
An exhibition room that was not seeing the maximum number of visitors, a reading table that was hardly being used and a movie theatre that, contrary to common belief, actually was well-occupied. These are examples of insights into the use of the Noordbrabants Museum. Insights based on measurements carried out by Beyond Eyes sensors. Monitoring the walking routes and activities within the museum led to specific modifications to its layout. And in the end, an improved visitor flow and distribution.
Linda Janssen is the adjunct director of the Noordbrabants Museum. It was in Beyond Eyes that she found a solution for said issues. “The last couple of years, our number of visitors has increased immensely, from 140,000 to 250,000,” Linda says. “This is, of course, a great development and something the Noordbrabants Museum aims for continuously. However, it also impacts our building. The large numbers are causing difficulties at busy spots, such as the toilets, but also at places where visitor flows cross one another. Therefore, from a logistic point of view, it is important that, on the one hand, we optimise the visitor flow, while, on the other hand, we spread visitors more evenly. In order to achieve this, we need to ask the following questions. Where and when do we experience congestion? Which rooms and which museum pieces receive a lot of visitors? What are busy periods at the cloak room, toilets and the MuseumBrasserie? As Beyond Eyes provided the answers to these questions, it seemed like the obvious choice.”
“The sensor data support the solutions we had in mind about which modifications we needed to make to our building. This enables us to locate the bottlenecks. By the way, these insights are not just helpful in case of building modifications, but also with regards to the choices we make when designing exhibitions. We create a new design for each exhibition. And now, we can take these data insights into account when creating such a design. For instance, the first results showed that the large reading table at the ‘Van Goghs intimi. Vrienden, familie, modellen’ exhibition was hardly being used. So, we decided to change the layout of this room in case of a new design. This just shows you that data can help you make choices.”
“I find the Beyond Eyes sensors and resulting insights interesting. That is why we cannot wait to implement potential new developments at the Noordbrabants Museum. At the moment, we are measuring presence. When it turns out that there is almost always someone in a certain room, you can assume there will be a crowd. Then we are only left with the question, are there 20 or 100 people. The related technological developments* which have been set in motion, seem like a proper step forward in the short run. As this could result in extremely valuable data.”
“In the long run, it would be great if we could connect the sensors to visitors’ devices. This way, they could easily receive in-depth and possibly personalised information about, for example, the painting they are standing in front of at that moment. Or, be informed that if they turn right, they will enter an interesting exhibition. From a technical and privacy point of view this might be rather complicated, but it is definitely food for thought. Data really offer so much more than you might think, also to museums.”
*During the exhibition Van Goghs intimi. Vrienden, familie, modellen, the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS), Heijmans and the Noordbrabants Museum carried out a unique experiment together. An experiment that – using Beyond Eyes data- would provide insight into the movement and behavioural patterns of visitors of the exhibition. Both insight and outside of the museum gates. The aim was to improve the museum’s visitor experience.
Gaining new insights from available data is what Heijmans’ Data Science Team continuously aims for. The Data Science Team and Beyond Eyes are collaborating to connect the dots and to develop insights by combining data resources.
Finding valuable insights is not something we can do by ourselves: it is something we do in close cooperation with the customer. After their first experience with Beyond Eyes, the Noordbrabants Museum has decided to extend their cooperation for a period of one year.