ArtGuru – A Personal Art Assistant
Imagine your own personal art assistant, who recommends which art galleries you should visit and when based on your past experiences. ArtGuru is an app that does just that. Ulrike Kunze explains why her team created it.
When we think of museums, we think of old buildings filled to the roof with the heritage of different cultures. Digital is not the first thing that comes to mind. But what happens when a museum puts Mona Lisa on display? Or Andy Warhol? We take pictures of it, with it, we share it, and we show it around.
Museum Selfie Day
On the 21st January more than 27000 tweets were send out with hashtag MuseumSelfie. It had a reach of nearly 60 Million people. Digital has arrived in museums. But what happens once the picture is shared? When we forget who the artist was, where we have seen it or the title of the painting? And who has got the time to create folders and tags for every picture in our phone? Eventually our art snaps will disappear in the black hole of any phone storage, never to be seen again.
That is when the team of ArtGuru decided to step in. ArtGuru is built for the art enthusiast, the secret collector in us all. The idea behind ArtGuru is: We are all different and we all experience art differently.
ArtGuru – Scan, Store and Share pictures
ArtGuru lets you personalise your own experience. It is able to scan, store and share pictures. The suggestions engine creates recommendation on what to visit next based on your personal art gallery, location and even how much time you have. This makes ArtGuru highly individual and personal. It turns away from the idea that museums not only curate the exhibitions but also our own experience.
In future users will be able to buy prints and other merchandise of their favourite artwork directly through the app. And this will become interesting for museums too. In return ArtGuru can offer valuable insight into the audience behaviour, making it easier for museums to be more relevant to their audience.
Subscribing museums are able to replace their mostly expensive and outdated audio-guide systems with the ArtGuru app. As we do not rely on beacons or QR-codes, museums do not have to implement any internal infrastructures. Since ArtGuru is working offline too, users do not have to rely on Wifi anymore. Just take a picture of the painting you want to save and ArtGuru will store it until you are online again. Once it has been recognised it will show up in your personal gallery and you can decide if you want to like and share it.
Six Museums – Across Milan, Paris, L’Aquila and London
ArtGuru is currently live in six museums. Four of them are using it as their primary audio guide system. This has been our core business model for months. We relied exclusively on partnerships with museums to grow our base. The statistics were against us. 90% of people do not use an audio-guide while at a museum and rather tour exhibitions individually. We were gaining some traction but not as much as we did expect.
In 2014 we were lucky enough to become one of the chosen start-ups of the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator program. The program had a dramatic impact on discovering the flaws in our business model. There were several challenges we had to overcome in order to become the art assistant app we aimed for.
During that period, we stressed heavily on consumer validation to the point that we got banned several times from the National Gallery in London. But eventually we ended up with the new concept of ArtGuru as it is today.
Technically speaking, we invested many resources in our image recognition engine. It is scalable and hosted in the cloud, so we can span it across several servers. The company is part of the Bizspark Plus program, and is leveraging Microsoft Azure to run the image recognition engine on five different servers. The performance is already amazing, less than a second to search among hundreds of thousands of images, but we want to move even further. That’s why we recently started a collaboration with some researchers and professors all around the world.
We are loving that experience so much that we are planning to possibly fund some of these projects in the near future.
ArtGuru is currently in closed beta, but everyone who wants to join can do so by sending us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be available on the app store by the first half of February, allowing every art lover and secret collector to enjoy ArtGuru.
ArtGuru is your personal art assistant that stays in your pocket. Tag the artworks you love with the image recognition engine, grow your collection and share it. It will recommend you new pieces you will love, based on your personal gallery. Ulrike is responsible for all types of marketing at ArtGuru. You can follow her trips through the London artworld under: blog.artguru.me