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Integration of Advantech AIM in the National Theater & Concert Hall’s Arts Bank Arts and Cultural Promotion Plan


Author│ Liao Peijun
Interviewee│Chang, Team Leader, Members Affairs Team, Business Development Department, National Theater & Concert Hall

The Arts Bank was developed by the National Theater & Concert Hall as a point reward mechanism, with the specific aim of facilitating cultural development and greater participation in the arts. By simply participating in arts and cultural activities held by partner organizations, a member of the public can accumulate Arts Bank coins and badges through the use of the Advantech AIM industrial-grade tablet’s scan or sensing. Once the set annual target is achieved, a member can redeem a variety of rewards. This simple yet interesting point reward system was designed with the hope of attracting a greater number of people to participate in arts and cultural activities, and, consequently, create a more vibrant art and cultural environment in Taiwan.

It is Saturday morning, and while most people are still in lying in bed, Maggie has already been shaken awake by her son Ken, who is currently a third-year elementary school student. Arriving at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum via the metro, Ken glanced left and right at the entrance, then promptly marched up to the reception desk to his left, and lightly tapped his EasyCard against the front sensor of a tablet at the desk. “Mommy, I’ve gotten another Arts Coin!” Ken turned over and told his mom excitedly. Smiling, Maggie patted his head. Holding the tickets that she had just bought in one hand, and Ken’s hand in the other, they stepped into the museum to kick-start their arts journey for the day.

An app/EasyCard-based point reward system that promotes greater participation in arts and cultural activities

The Arts Coin is a virtual coin issued by the Arts Bank, a cultural technology project that was developed and implemented by the National Theater & Concert Hall with guidance from the Ministry of Culture. Chang, the team leader of the National Theater & Concert Hall’s Members Affairs Team, indicated that action speaks louder than words when it comes to promoting participation in arts and cultural activities. The Arts Bank was developed for this reason, and in the hope that, with this point reward mechanism based around a mobile app and the EasyCard/iPASS, elementary school students and members of the public will be more motivated to actively participate in the activities organized by arts and cultural organizations. 

At present, the Arts Bank is supported by 33 partner organizations that each focus on one of five fields, namely fine arts, cultural and creative parks, performing arts, history museum, and arts/cultural films. Each of these fields is associated with a badge, and 1 Arts Coin and 1 badge are earned each time an individual participates in an arts and cultural activity. In order to earn Arts Coins and badges and to deposit them in one’s account, a member of the public can simply approach the sensor device (i.e. Advantech AIM industrial tablet) that a partner organization has set up, and scan the QR code or activate NFC sensing using his or her EasyCard/iPASS. Upon achieving an annual target in terms of the number of Arts Coins or badges that he or she has earned, a member of the public will be eligible for giveaways or participation in sweepstakes. Furthermore, they can also track their coin account and progress via the Arts Bank app and website.

The Red House at Ximen

Huashan 1914 Creative Park

Aside from the Arts Bank’s goal to promote greater participation in arts and cultural activities, Chang pointed out that, in its first year of implementation, the program had focused on elementary school students as its primary targets for cultural development. Currently, trips by elementary school students to arts and cultural venues are usually organized by school groups, and through the Arts Bank program, the National Theater & Concert Hall is hoping that these kids will be encouraged to participate in arts and cultural activities by roping in their parents for support, which, in turn, will also create opportunities for families to enjoy arts and cultural activities together, and for these kids develop the habit of participating of arts and cultural activities from a young age.

In light of these objectives, the National Theater & Concert Hall has collaborated with elementary schools in regions such as Taipei City, New Taipei City, and Keelung, striving not just to promote the Arts Bank program, but also to actively convert elementary school students into Arts Bank members. Since going live in March of last year, more than 10,000 members have joined the platform, with elementary and junior high school students representing roughly 6,000 of the membership. The results are reflective of the preliminary success of the arts and cultural program.

Using a stable and multi-functional tablet as the sensor interface for a public point reward system

There is no doubt that the success of a program is determined not just by marketing efforts, since the design of the entire token deposit process, as well as the IT solutions that are used, also play key roles in the program’s success. For the Arts Bank program, the sensor device serves as the front-line point of contact with members of the public, which is an exceedingly crucial role. The device is responsible for a number of tasks, including sensor and coin deposit procedures, interactions with the public, and data transfers to backend systems. This means that the device must offer quality consistency and an operation interface that is simple to use, since this will leave a good impression in the eyes of the public and motivate them to continue collecting Art Coins and badges.

National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is one of 33 organizations.

The AIM-65 at National Theater & Concert Hall.

In addition to quality consistency and a simple to use interface, Chang also revealed four factors that were considered during the initial selection of the tablet type for use. Firstly, the tablet had to minimize the manpower load of front-line staff for the 33 organizations. Ideally, members of the public should be able to independently and easily complete the sensor-based and token deposit process, negating the need for the 33 organizations to train staff to serve or guide the public in this capacity. Secondly, when the tablet is switched on, it had to remain connected to the network. Therefore the tablet required a SIM card slot to maintain a stable WiFi connection. Thirdly, an NFC sensing function was essential. At present, the app utilizes QR codes for scanning and token transactions, and an NFC mechanism is required for the EasyCard and iPASS cards sensing functions. Fourthly, the tablet’s screen size had to be suitable for simultaneous display of both the app’s QR code and the NFC sensor interface on the token deposit screen.

After clarifying the requirements for the sensor device, the National Theater & Concert Hall then recommended its system integration vendors to begin by evaluating and testing general commercial tablets. “We scoured the market for tablet brands and models that seemingly fit the bill, yet none of them were able to meet all of our requirements,” said Chang. Subsequently, the team began to look at industrial tablets and ultimately discovered the Advantech AIM, a product that boasted comparatively consistent quality, a sturdy and durable frame, NFC and SIM card slots, and a suitably sized screen, making the ideal solution for the Arts Bank’s application needs.

Going forward, the National Theater & Concert Hall will continue to promote the Arts Bank program, seeking not just to increase membership participation, but also to further simplify the token deposit process. In this manner, more people will be encouraged to participate in arts and cultural activities, leading to a more vibrant art and cultural environment in Taiwan.