NMC Horizon Report > 2015 Museum Edition Released

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NMC and Balboa Park Online Collaborative Release the NMC Horizon Report > 2015 Museum Edition
San Diego, CA (April 20) — Today the NMC and Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) are jointly releasing the NMC Horizon Report > 2015 Museum Edition at the 2015 Smith Leadership Symposium at Balboa Park in San Diego. The fifth  museum edition describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry across various education sectors. There is also be a special edition published to commemorate BPOC’s Centennial.
Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in technology are identified across three adoption horizons over the next five years, giving museum leaders and staff a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The format of the report provides in-depth insight into how trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational and interpretive technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership, and practice.

“Museum leaders and cultural heritage professionals use the report as a springboard for discussion around important trends and challenges that are emerging in this sector,” says Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the NMC. “We’ve identified that leveraging technology to enhance and personalize the visitor experience, along with partnering with private companies to realize common visions for museum education and interpretation are key trends that will be shaping museums over the next five years.”

The NMC Horizon Report > 2015 Museum Edition is a critical resource for 21st century museums,” notes Nik Honeysett, Chief Executive Officer of BPOC. “Now rooted in the information age, the real-world examples in the report will assist museums in developing long-term strategies, decision-making, aligning with trends, and identifying the challenges of an expanding audience.”


Key Trends Accelerating Museum Technology Adoption

The NMC Horizon Report > 2015 Museum Edition identifies “Expanding the Concept of Visitors” and “Increasing Focus on Participatory Experiences” as having a short-term impact that will accelerate the adoption of educational and interpretive technology in museums over the next one to two years. “Increasing Cross-Institution Collaboration” and “Increasing Focus on Data Analytics for Museum Operations” are mid-term impact trends, expected to drive technology use over the next three to five years; meanwhile, “Expanding the Boundaries of Creativity” and “Rise of Private Companies in Museum Education” have been identified as trends with long-term impact, anticipated to shape cultural heritage institutions for the next five years or more.

Significant Challenges Impeding Museum Technology Adoption

A number of challenges are acknowledged as barriers to the mainstream use of technology in museums. “Developing Digital Strategies” and “Improving Digital Literacy of Museum Professionals” are perceived as solvable challenges – those which we both understand and know how to solve. “Balancing Our Connected and Unconnected Lives” and “Measuring the Impact of New Technologies” are considered difficult challenges, which are defined and well understood but with solutions that are elusive. Described as wicked challenges are “Maintaining Progress in Technology, Workflows, and Infrastructure” and “Privacy Concerns,” which are complex to define, much less to address.

Important Developments in Technology for Museums

Additionally, the report identifies Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and games and gamification as digital strategies and technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the near-term horizon of one year or less. Location-based services and makerspaces are seen in the mid-term horizon of two to three years; natural user interfaces and the Internet of Things are seen emerging in the far-term horizon of four to five years.

The subject matter in this report was identified through a qualitative research process designed and conducted by the NMC that engaged an international body of experts in museums, technology, business, and other fields around a set of research questions designed to surface significant trends and challenges and to identify important developments in technology with a strong likelihood of adoption in the cultural heritage sector. TheNMC Horizon Report > 2015 Museum Edition details the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.

The NMC Horizon Report > 2015 Museum Edition is available online, free of charge, and is released under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution.

> Download the Report (PDF)

> Download the Balboa Park Online Collaborative Centennial Edition (PDF)

About the New Media Consortium

The NMC is an international community of experts in educational technology – from the practitioners who work with new technologies on campuses every day; to the visionaries who are shaping the future of learning at think tanks, labs, and research centers; to its staff and board of directors; to the expert panels and others helping the NMC conduct cutting edge research. The role of the NMC is to help our hundreds of member universities, colleges, museums, and organizations drive innovation across their campuses. For more information, visit www.nmc.org.

About Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC)
Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre urban cultural park in San Diego, California. In addition to open space areas, gardens, and trail paths, it contains museums, theaters, recreational facilities, restaurants, and a zoo. Placed in reserve in 1835, the park’s site is one of the oldest in the United States dedicated to public recreational use. The Park welcomes more than 12 million visitors per year. Founded in 2008, the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) leverages the economy of scale in partnering with museums, art, science, and cultural organizations to make cost-effective, sustainable, and strategic technology decisions with a range of technical and support services, digital production and collection management, website and in-gallery development, online marketing, and digital strategy. To learn more about the BPOC, visit www.bpoc.org.

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