Return on Investment calculations/tracking key performance indicators - Museum Technology Projects.
Across the world, the rise of technology has added new ways to interact with your surroundings. When it comes to museums, they are beginning to enter the digital age using various forms of technology. They want to use technology projects to bring more visitors to museums which would result in a high ROI on their technology investments.
There were several mentions of ROI as it relates to the use of technology in museums. Many of the mentions involve companies talking about increasing the ROI for technology projects. They talk about adding more digital media and signage to the museums and state that it will result in an increased ROI for their technology. They don't give any hard numbers of how much the ROI would change or how they calculate this ROI. Examples of these companies were Live Picture Digital Experiences and DCL.
Another company that works with museums on technology projects is LYRASIS. In a letter from the CEO towards the end of 2017, he said that the company has just received a grant to study how technology is being used in museums and how the ROI can be increased. They will also investigate how they can increase the visibility of the museums and make them more sustainable for the future. He only mentions that they will be looking at increased ROI from technology as a large part of the study but does not mention how they will calculate ROI or when and where the study will occur specifically.
CNBC reports that museums bring in 850 million visitors per year which equates to around $21 billion. Museums are looking to add technology to entice millennials and Gen Z to visit museums more often, and they are doing this by making many exhibits more interactive. Visitors can see how sculptures are created and what they would look like with minor changes to their eyes, nose, etc. They are also digitizing exhibits so that anyone can download and see the art all over the world. This has created more interest in visiting museums because visitors want to see the pieces they saw online in person. The ability to view the art online also gives low-income people the ability to see art they otherwise might never get to see.
Museums are also adding digital signage to their exhibits where visitors can interact with the exhibit via their smartphone to gain more knowledge or background. In some cases, there are even puzzles and interactive games that can be played to engage the audience. While talking about all the ways museums are adding technology to their exhibits, very few mention ROI and those that do simply mention seeing an increase in ROI but give no hard data.
After extensively researching how the museums are calculating ROI there was nothing found. We did find an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University (Leonard Steinbach) that frequently writes on increasing the ROI from technology projects in museums. He has written formal publications on the topic and spoken at museum-related conferences. He was the only writer that came up in our research on increasing ROI from technology projects.
Museums are using technology more frequently to bring in visitors, but there were few mentions to ROI and exactly how much technology is impacting visits to the museums. There were no references found for ways they are calculating ROI from technology projects and for the most part anything related to technology still appears to be very new to the museum industry.