The COMFIT project is about multimedia communication for eTourism, applied to the Como and Ticino counties. It introduces two major innovations: the notion of “supply chain” applied to communication and a sophisticated building blocks (“LEGO-like”) strategy for building multimedia artifacts. All kinds of technologies will be involved: web, podcast, iPhone, iPad, smartphone, interactive kiosks, multi-touch tables and alike.
The scientific objective of COMFIT is to devise an authoring strategy supporting two apparently contradictory goals: low cost and high quality. Low cost is needed since most medium small tourism operators cannot afford the cost of traditional multimedia production. Quality is needed since effectiveness, and therefore impact and revenues, are at stake.
The most important conceptual innovation lays in the original notion of “communication supply chain”. For e-Tourism, for example, relevant actors are cultural institutions, hotel associations, restaurant associations, event organizers, local administration. All these actors generate information and at the same time assemble information. A hotel keeper, for example, generates information about her hotel, but (for creating an effective multimedia brochure) she must also include info originated by other actors: the landscape, the cultural life, the events, etc.
The most important technical innovation lays in the notion of “multi-channel & multi-format” multimedia applications. A number of different authoring environments (each one tuned for a specific delivery format) will share the same, XML-based, data base. From a single authoring effort, with no additional costs, several deliveries (covering different devices and technologies) will be ensured at once.
The application of the approach to other domains (eCulture and eFood) is already envisioned.