Smart Tourism with Smart TVs
Luis Leonardo Camargo-Ariza1*,
Miguel José Rivera-Ospino2 ,
Byron Medina-Delgado3 .
Background: The use of ICT to promote tourism in the Colombian Caribbean is limited; however, applications for smart TVs are a
viable alternative due to their multimedia capabilities. Objective: This paper presents the development of an app called SantaMartaTV,
which is intended for Smart TVs and envisions the concept of tourism in a Smart City. The app offers photos, videos, maps and
descriptions of the most ideal touristic places in Santa Marta; it allows users to share the content on Facebook, a social networking site.
Method: The content displayed on the site is stored on XML files which contain information about the resources. These files are hosted
in the servers of freely available services, such as Facebook, YouTube, Google Maps and Dropbox. This feature reduces the cost of
implementing new technological infrastructure and facilitates the editing of content. Result: SantaMartaTV promotes the good name
of the city as well as improves the visitors’ experience by providing them with interactive information at any time. This article further
proposes a methodology for developing Smart TV apps. This new methodology is based on existing agile methodologies, usability
concepts and the audiovisual capabilities of TV sets. Conclusion: The methodology satisfies the needs for the development of apps
because it provides tools and diagrams which facilitate and guide the elaboration of these specific applications therefore ensuring a
user-friendly and attractive app for potential users.
Antecedentes: El uso de las TIC para promocionar el turismo en el caribe colombiano es limitado, las aplicaciones para televisores
inteligentes es una alternativa debido a sus capacidades multimedia. Objetivo: El artículo muestra el desarrollo de SantaMartaTV,
una aplicación creada para televisores inteligentes proyectando el concepto de turismo en una ciudad inteligente. La aplicación es
capaz de mostrar fotografías, videos, mapas y descripciones de los sitios y eventos más representativos de la ciudad de Santa Marta;
y permite a los usuarios compartir los sitios en la red social Facebook. Método: Los contenidos mostrados son manejados a través
de archivos XML que contienen la información sobre la ubicación de los recursos alojados en servidores gratuitos como Facebook,
YouTube, Google Maps y Dropbox, reduciendo la implementación de infraestructura tecnológica y facilitando la modificación de
los contenidos. Resultado: SantaMartaTV hace posible la autopromoción de la ciudad y mejora la experiencia de los visitantes al
tener acceso a la información en cualquier momento y de forma interactiva. Además, este artículo propone una metodología para la
creación de aplicaciones en estos dispositivos, propuesta fundamentada en: las metodologías ágiles y cíclicas existentes, los conceptos
de usabilidad y las capacidades audiovisuales de los televisores. Conclusión: La metodología planteada satisface las necesidades para
el desarrollo de aplicaciones en televisores inteligentes, porque brinda herramientas y diagramas que facilitan y guían la elaboración de
estas propuestas, asegurando aplicaciones de fácil manejo y de agrado para los usuarios.
Palabras clave: Dispositivos
software de aplicación,
Smart City is the modern concept of the ideal city, where
economy, government, mobility, inhabitants, sustainability
and environmental care function correctly and together in
an intelligent symbiosis that improves people’s quality of
life [1-3]. This process is based on an adequate management
of Information and Communication Technologies, ICT ;
management that allows the participation of all actors for
the construction of a better city, supporting decision-making
in public administration and ensuring transparency and
optimization in the execution of resources [5-6].
Materials and methods
Intelligent tourism, which is inherited from the concept of
intelligent city, has now been one of the most important issues
in the tourism industry . Intelligent tourism is defined as an
urban tourism platform that integrates ICT, connecting tourism
sources with technologies such as: artificial intelligence,
cloud computing and the Internet of things, to provide explicit
information and efficient services to tourists [8-9]. Intelligent
tourism benefits the tourism industry and the travel industry
in three ways: one, city information is integrated and centrally
managed, this is convenient for tourists who require updated
information and services; second, the use of monitoring
devices in areas of interest allows real-time tracking of tourists,
increasing demand for this area; and three, the intelligent
tourism system provides an information exchange center [10-
An intelligent television is a television with computer capacity,
operating system and connectivity, which allows: install and
run own programs for the TV, in addition to connecting to the
Internet to view multimedia content . These devices turned
the TV into an interactive information center, rethinking its use,
through applications that execute predefined tasks in search of
desired results [12-13]. According to Futuresource’s report for
2018, 70% of households will have an intelligent television
and will use additional services to the conventional television
in their television . Currently there are applications for
interactive digital television such as TripFromTV +, which
offers customized tourist packages, and that influence the user
to decide what to do and what to visit during a trip .
Cloud computing is a paradigm in which information is stored or
processed permanently on Internet servers and eventually sent
to temporary client caches, such as personal computers, smart
phones, tablets and intelligent televisions, among other devices
, allowing the consolidation of technological infrastructure
in projects related to intelligent cities in an efficient manner,
with quality of service and with a green infrastructure. Cloud
computing offers different levels of architectures and models
such as: IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service, PaaS, Platform as
a Service, SaaS, Software as a Service, and BaaS or Mobile
Backend, Background Services, among others.
BaaS is a tool to build robust and dynamic applications on
any platform. In addition to providing storage capacity and
information processing in the cloud, allows user management,
push notifications, integration of social networks and other
features that mobile users demand in their applications .
Santa Marta is a coastal city located in the Department of
Magdalena in Colombia, a city that bases a large part of its
economy on tourism. The government is currently developing
projects to strengthen this economic sector and position the city
as an international tourist destination . Ecotourism is one
of its greatest strengths, thanks to its ecological biodiversity
; historical and cultural tourism is also attractive because
Santa Marta is one of the oldest cities in the Americas. These
business models are those that want to be exploited in greater
quantity with the use of new technologies.
The city is currently seeking to solve a wide variety of
problems, in terms of civic works, security, health, education
and economy ; if these development plans are successful
and the city is restructured with the help of ICTs, Santa Marta
would be close to becoming an intelligent city.
This work describes the development and evaluation of the
SantaMartaTV application, an application that promotes
the city and facilitates tourism, through televisions, using
intelligent multimedia resources and Internet services without
exceeding the limits established by companies such as Google
and Facebook; through APIs developed under the BaaS
SantaMartaTV is an application developed for intelligent
televisions, with the objective of promoting and strengthening
tourism in the city of Santa Marta. The application shows
photographs, videos, maps and a short description in English or
Spanish of the beaches, historical places and significant events
of the city (see Figure 1). In addition, it allows the user to share
and comment on these places and events on the social network
Facebook. (Fig 1:)
The content shown by the application is managed through
XML files hosted in Dropbox, files that allow you to select and
refer to text, elements, attributes and any other information
contained in the file, such as the location of resources hosted
on free servers on the Internet such as Facebook, YouTube and
Google Maps, see Figure 2. This design aims to implement the
application without a technological infrastructure of its own,
such as Web servers and / or databases, also to facilitate the
manipulation of the information displayed. (Fig 2:)
The application is developed in Android for being a free
platform with great penetration in the market of intelligent
televisions; this operating system is used by brands such as
Sony and also by small manufacturers such as Challenger,
Olympus, Simply, Hyundai, among others.
Smart TVs bring with them new challenges for developers, as
they have different hardware and software characteristics to
computers, tablets or smart phones; therefore the methodology
for software development is adapted to the audiovisual
potential of smart TVs. The main objective of this proposal is
to facilitate the creation of applications, pleasant to the eye of
the user and with a high degree of usability.
The methodology proposed and used in the development of
SantaMartaTV is based on agile and cyclic methodologies for
the development of software such as XP, Scrum and Crystal
Clear, and on the requirements of ISO 9126 and 9421. Table I
shows the comparison of the agile methodologies mentioned. (Tab 1:)
The concepts of simplicity, flexibility, iterative and incremental
development and continuous communication with the client
were inherited from agile and cyclical methodologies [21-
23]. From the ISO standards, the criteria of learnability,
comprehensibility and operability were adopted, framed in the
effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction of software [24-26].
The main difference and contribution of the methodology is to
strengthen, in the development process, the audiovisual design,
taking into account the semantics (meaning and information)
and aesthetics (signifier) of the system of signs used to improve
the communication capacity of the application with the user.
This strengthening will reflect a high degree of usability. Figure
3 shows the stages and activities of the methodology. (Fig 3:)
Estage 1, definition: This is the initial stage where the project
guidelines are established through the three activities known
as storytelling, achievement of objectives and allocation of
Story: first meeting of the client or interested party with the
work team, to identify the facts that describe the problem and
possible solutions. In this activity the misinformation of the
tourists about the city of Santa Marta was evidenced and the
development of the application for intelligent televisions was
proposed as a solution; highlighting the theoretical, technical
and economic implications of the execution of the project.
Achievement of objectives: we define the course and the goals
to be met in order to obtain the final product. SantaMartaTV
aims to strengthen tourism in the city, using ICTs to provide
multimedia information in English and Spanish about the most
Stage 2, development: This stage has five activities, which
are in a cycle, called sketching, coding, audiovisual design,
delivery of the prototype and client evaluation; activities that
convert the objectives into functional prototypes, which will
be approved by the client when validating the fulfillment of
the requirements and operability, by means of precision in the
execution of the desired tasks.
Sketch: diagrams or sketches of the product are made, which
serve as a guide for the coding and audiovisual design activities.
This activity is carried out in each cycle or turn, solving the
problems that arise in the following stages. The sketch takes
into account the times, programming modules, technical
limitations, graphic capabilities, ease of use and the operability
of the software.
The drafts of the application varied with each cycle, which
lasted 1 month, due to the rethinking of the operating policies.
The drafts were made using UML tools, such as diagrams of
use cases (see Figure 4), sequence and classes, and additional
mixed drafts were made in which they expressed how the
graphic design should be and the interaction of the user with it. (Fig 4)
The sequence to arrive at the information of the desired place
begins with the selection of the language, that reconfigures the
application according to the language; then, the user enters
the menu to select the place of interest, in this section the
category and the site are chosen with the horizontal and vertical
directional of the control, respectively (see Figure 1). Finally,
the user reaches the screen with the desired content, which has
a menu on the left to expand the information through videos,
photos and maps and, to publish the place of interest on the
Facebook timeline, 5. This sequence was designed
considering a limited control when navigating on an intelligent
television. (Fig 5:)
Coding: each of the parts defined in the elaborated diagrams is
written in the selected programming language. The application
was made in Java language, with the IDE Eclipse; the tests
of the code used a Jelly Bean distribution of Android for
computers, installed in a virtual machine of the Oracle Virtual
of the Oracle Virtual Box program having access to Google services, such
as Google Maps (see Figure 6) and YouTube, among others, simulating a television whit android. (Fig 6:)
Multiple free web services were used to manage Internet
content. The videos use the YouTube development package
for Android, the maps use the Google Maps development kit
for Android, and the images are downloaded directly from the
Blogger and Facebook. The XML files are stored in a public
access folder in Dropbox, these files contain the description,
the code of the videos, the coordinates of the site, the URLs
of the images in the gallery and the link to share on Facebook,
see (Fig 7:)
Audiovisual design: this activity is executed in parallel with
the coding activity and its objective is to design the form and
distribution (of the text, icons, symbols, sound effects and
music) on the screens of the application, to ensure effective
and pleasant communication with the user. The design of the
application took into account: the average distance between the
user and the television, to select the sizes of text and images;
the sound effects and representative symbols in the menus; the
division of the screen into frames to facilitate navigation and
order of information; and the use of music representative of
the city (The milk ice cream, musical history of Santa Marta).
Results and Discussion
Delivery of the prototype: the coding and audiovisual design
activities must culminate with a prototype that meets at least
30% of the client’s requirements, including the missionary
requirement. This prototype is not the final product and
is delivered to the client for evaluation, in order to know
the customer’s appreciations and consider them in future
Evaluation of the client: the client must send a response with
the points against and in favor of the prototype, with the aim
of feedback to the development team and thus obtain the final
When all the requirements are met and the human resource of
the project considers that the application has been completed,
we proceed to the stage of interaction with the users.
Stage 3, user interaction: This stage has two activities called
testing with users and distribution channels.
Tests with users: we interacted with people totally alien to the
process of developing the final product, to get an idea of the
acceptance that has the application in the community, prior to
the start of distribution.
Distribution channels: once the application passes from the
evaluation activity to the user population, it can be published in
some distribution channel, such as manufacturers’ application
A day of use of the application was carried out, the population
to which this day is directed are the potential users of the
application, people totally alien to the process of elaboration; for
being the very big population and the period of test according to
the very short methodology, it was decided that this day would
last five (5) days and two points were established to carry out
the evaluation, the main seat of the University of Magdalena
and the alternate seat of the university located in the center of
the city. The volunteers who in this time and in these points
carried out the test of the application comprise the sample,
which has a size of fifty (50) volunteers, distributed between
twenty-five (25) tourists and twenty-five (25) locals, with
ages between 16 and 35 years. This sample is significant and
sufficient to perform this type of black box testing according to
 and .
Each volunteer, after interacting with the application for more
than 20 minutes, evaluated the application. (Fig 8:)
Usability heuristics was used to evaluate the application as an
effective method to determine software quality . Instead
of proposing a new heuristic model, the method was used to
evaluate interactive digital television, a method that focuses on
14 themes .
(H1) Match between the system and the real world
(H3) Consistency and standards
(H5) Physical constraints
(H6) Extraordinary users
(H7) Structure of information
(H9) Recognition rather than recall
(H10) Flexibility and efficiency of use
(H11) User control and freedom
(H12) Error prevention
(H13) Recovering from errors
(H14) Help and documentation
The applied instrument evaluated the 14 topics through 128
questions, on a scale of 1 to 10. The answers were averaged
for each question, scoring the question as a problem when
the average was equal to or less than five. The results of this
procedure yielded 21 of the 128 possible problems, see Graph
1. This allowed us to infer that the application has quality. (Graph 1:)
In the themes H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H9 no problems were
detected. The most problems were found in themes H10, H11,
H12 and H13.
The problems detected in H10, Flexibility and effi ciency of
use, were the result of a low data transfer rate on the network
and the diffi culty in validating the Facebook user using the TV
Problems were detected in H11, User control and freedom,
because the application did not allow the user to manipulate
the elements or processes of the application.
Problems were detected in the topic H12, Error prevention,
because the application does not determine which situations
can generate error, to warn the user before performing the
action. The errors presented in the application are the result of
problems with the Internet connection.
Problems were detected in H13, Recovering from errors,
because the application does not have an error response
mechanism, since the processes it performs do not have
representative consequences on the application or the device.
Additionally, many users did not show errors during the use of
As a possible solution to the problems found in topic H10, it
is recommended for higher versions of the application, that it
evaluate the transfer speed and tell the user if it is suffi cient
to ensure operational effi ciency. According to the diffi culty
in validating the Facebook user, this is solved from the
technological improvements of intelligent televisions with
respect to the remote control.
As a possible solution to the problems found in topic H11, it
is recommended for higher versions of the application that it
allows the user to manipulate the graphical interface allowing
the change of font and size, background, audio and order of
As a possible solution to the problems found in topic H12, it
is recommended for higher versions of the application that it
evaluates the Internet connection and warns the user when it
As a possible solution to the problems found in the topic H13,
it is recommended for higher versions of the application that it
informs when the connection is lost and in the same way when
it is recovered.
The proposed methodology satisfi es the needs for the
development of applications in intelligent televisions in a
hundred per cent (100 %), because it provides tools and
diagrams that facilitate and guide the elaboration of these
proposals. In addition, it allowed to realize a quality deliverable
product in the established time and with the participation of the
The evaluation method based on heuristics made it possible to
detect learning, comprehension and operability problems in the
The Android operating system was chosen to develop the
SantaMartaTV application, because it is a free platform used
by small manufacturers of intelligent televisions, with great
market penetration, due to its low cost.
The development of the SantaMartaTV application, using
libraries and development packages freely distributed by web
services companies, to promote the use of their technological
platforms, reduced the infrastructure required by the application
to manage online content, such as documents, videos, photos
Tourism in an intelligent city requires interactive management
of information, which allows users to be updated on the
location and status of sites of interest in the city. For this
reason, intelligent televisions are important to show contents in
an interactive and agile way.
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1* Magíster en Ingeniería Electrónica, Orcid: 0000-0002-7956-441X, Universidad del Magdalena, Santa Marta, Colombia, email@example.com
2 Magíster en Administración de Empresas, Orcid: 0000-0001-5061-0606, Universidad del Magdalena, Santa Marta, Colombia, firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Magíster en Ingeniería Electrónica, Orcid: 0000-0003-0754-8629, Universidad Francisco de Paula Santander, Cúcuta, Colombia, email@example.com
Received on January 21, 2018 - Approved on June 12, 2018.
How to cite :L.L. Camargo-Ariza, M.J. Rivera-Ospino and B. Medina-Delgado, “Smart Tourism with Smart TVs”, Respuestas, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 22-30, 2018.
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