SINGAPORE – The Asian Civilizations Museum now has an artificial intelligence (AI) powered chatbot as a tour guide.
Named Allie, the digital assistant guides users of the museum’s website through a virtual replica of its jewelry gallery.
Allie and the digital gallery is one of two projects jointly unveiled by the National Heritage Board (NHB) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) on Monday, November 22.
The project is a collaboration between the museum, the developer of AI solutions Taiger and the spatial data company Matterport3D.
Users can access the virtual gallery for free through the museum’s website.
Once inside, they can access Allie’s services, which include an option to be guided through the gallery.
But users can also choose to explore the gallery freely by moving between exhibits, which are displayed in the same position and location as their physical counterparts.
Some of the gallery artifacts also have white circles next to them which, when clicked, activates a pop-up text box with information about the exhibits.
Visitors can also ask Allie questions about the gallery or museum, such as “What is the oldest object in the gallery?” “
Taiger’s government company chief Jaron Ong told the Straits Times there were talks to expand the project to other galleries in the museum.
“Apart from that, we also envision the Malay Heritage Center as the next site to work on,” he added.
The other project announced on Monday is a facial recognition and data analysis system that tracks physical visitors using cameras.
Developed by technology company Trakomatic, it is currently being tested at the museum.
Although the data collected does not have a guest’s name or other personal information, visitors can also register a profile with the system to receive personalized recommendations of exhibitions that may be of interest to them.
These are based on data analyzed by the system, such as the time spent by a guest at exhibitions during their previous visits.
How the visitor will receive the recommendations – whether in the form of SMS or other types of text messages – is still being decided, said Shaun Kwan, co-founder and COO of Trakomatic.
Mr Kwan also said the system would help the museum make decisions, such as improving the layout of galleries for better visitor traffic to certain exhibits.
The Trakomatic project is the result of NHB’s collaboration with IMDA to digitize Singapore’s heritage sector, through the authority’s crowdsourcing initiative called the Open Innovation Platform.
Other ongoing projects involving NHB include the development of a digital concierge solution with local start-up Vouch SG and a virtual tourism solution with tech company Revez Motion.
NHB news director Mohamed Hardi said digitization efforts are not meant to replace physical visits to museums.
Instead, these are meant to keep customers coming back and improve the physical viewing experience.
“We always want people to come and visit us,” he said.