Tower of Faces Augmented Reality Experience
Presolicitation Notice for Pre-Bid Conference
About the Museum – A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (hereafter referred to as “USHMM” or “Museum”) inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. As an independent establishment of the U.S. Government with gift acceptance authority, federal support guarantees the Museum’s permanence, and its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by donors, members, educators, universities, leaders in governments and the public, just to name a few.
Notice to Businesses
Please read this entire notice carefully as it constitutes the only notice that will be issued regarding the Museum’s forthcoming request for proposals to develop and potentially implement the Tower of Faces (TOF) Augmented Reality (AR) Experience.
This is not a Request for Proposal (RFP). This is a pre-solicitation notice for planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Museum. The Museum will not accept unsolicited proposals in response to this pre-solicitation notice as it is not our intent to enter into a contract based on this notice or otherwise pay for information so solicited.
Why a Pre-Solicitation Notice? We are trying to determine the likely existence of available sources capable of satisfying the Museum’s requirement in as open a manner as possible. We seek to cultivate meaningful competition while minimizing proposal writing and evaluation burdens on offerors and Museum staff.
Subject Matter – Spanning multiple floors, the Tower of Faces is a prominent display within the Museum’s Permanent Exhibition (PE). The over 1000 photographs displayed in the TOF depict life in Eishishok from 1890 through 1941. Eishishok was one of many Jewish communities across eastern Europe destroyed during the Holocaust. Visitors encounter the TOF twice as they progress through the Permanent Exhibition—first on the fourth floor, then on the third floor. The Museum desires to use AR to enhance and facilitate deeper engagement with the TOF without disturbing existing visitor experience or flow throughout the PE. A fuller description of the Museum’s requirements will be presented in a nonmandatory online pre-bid conference and is also contained in the attached documentation, “Tower of Faces Augmented Reality Experience Statement of Objectives.”
The Solicitation (Overview) – Museum anticipates making up to three (3) development/design awards of $10,000 each, retaining the option to continue to implementation/installation in an amount NTE $200,000 (reserving the right for ultimate award value as high as $500,000 without re-soliciting). Awards will be issued against standard federal IT terms & conditions, current as of date of award. These may, but need not, be embedded in the standard solicitation format provided in conjunction with this notice for reference purposes.
Instructions for the Online Pre-Bid Conference – On or before 5 PM ET on May 11, 2020, suppliers who wish to attend the pre-bid conference must submit via email to <email@example.com> a hyperlink and two numbers. Specifically, these will be:
- Your firm’s URL (unless you lack one, in which case, you’ll want to indicate why),
- how many years you have been in business delivering VR, AR, and/or multimedia solutions, and
- approximately how many of your VR, AR, and/or multimedia development projects over the past five years served educational purposes or cultural or edutainment clients.
This will tell us who is in our pre-bid conference audience.
The Conference Agenda – We will start the conference with a general welcome; proceed to walking through a series of slides that better illustrate the project (what the TOF displays and represents, its physical layout and context within the larger PE, what survey data tells us visitors currently interact with and think about it, and why we decided to pursue an AR approach to enhance it); and then spend the remainder of our time outlining our thinking about solicitation methodology. We will take questions if time permits.
Our Solicitation Plan – We estimate it will take us about 10 business days to finalize and issue the solicitation proper; we will send it to all providers who e-mail Bruce Falk their intent-to-bid notice within 48 hours of theconference. USHMM reserves right to award initial contracts based on one or more criteria (e.g., past performance, capability/experience of proposed team, corporate capability, viability/desirability of proposed technical, testing, and or pricing of approach) and reserves the right to do a down-select on one or more factors as desirable to facilitate pre-award presentations with finalist candidate(s).
For example, one possibility under consideration is a phased submission approach, the first phase of which entails submission of short past performance/capability statements alone and is followed by a request for oral presentations and/or a basic technical approach (anticipated technologies, range order magnitude of pricing, and feasibility statement). In this context, we may:
- make one or more awards subject to approval in each case of a rough concept and estimated pricing;
- reduce the pool of offerors to a subset of notified finalists from which awards are to be made;
- hold pre-award oral presentations with award finalists; and/or
- reach out to communicate to offerors who are otherwise subject to immediate elimination our suggestion that (should they decide to pursue award) they find a means of offsetting the apparent risk; either by elaborating their experience and qualifications and/or by writing technical approach and feasibility statements that are substantially more detailed.
These determinations are subject to Museum’s sole discretion, and will be resolved and communicated as the pool of potential offerors becomes better understood and prior to the issuance of all awards.
One Last Thing – Be advised that FAR Sec. 4.1102 requires SAM registration for bid eligibility. The COVID-19 emergency response legislation may provide flexibility in the interpretation of this constraint; this has yet to be definitively determined, however. Regardless, SAM registration is a prerequisite for any award, because it is an integral part of validating and establishing the payment process. So… for suppliers not yet in SAM who are considering submitting a bid… please do look into registration and let us know if you have any questions or concerns about the process. We do not want this bit of red tape to be the thing that precludes anyone from submitting (or us from considering) a bid.
Anticipated Project Timeline (all times EST)
May 11, 2020, 5 PM – Pre-Bid Conference participation notification deadline
May 18 and/or 19, 2020 presentation dates
The pre-bid conference webinar will be recorded for interested parties who can not attend the live event.
On or about May 29, 2020 solicitation issued
On or about June 30, 2020, 5 PM (subject to interim dates TBD) proposals due
By end of July, 2020 1-3 contracts awarded
Tower of Faces Augmented Reality Experience: Statement of Objectives
Background & Opportunity
Spanning multiple floors, the Tower of Faces (TOF) is a prominent display within the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s (USHMM) Permanent Exhibition. The over 1000 photographs displayed in the TOF depict life in Eishishok from 1890 through 1941. Eishishok was one of many Jewish communities across eastern Europe destroyed during the Holocaust. Visitors encounter the TOF twice as they progress through the Permanent Exhibition—first on the fourth floor, then on the third floor.
A USHMM team conducted audience research from late 2018 through 2019 to learn more about how visitors experience the TOF. As part of this process, we designed and tested an Augmented Reality (AR) prototype. Based on audience research findings, we believe that AR is an appropriate and compelling medium for fostering visitors’ sense of connection to the people, community, and history represented in the TOF.
USHMM seeks to develop an AR experience on the third floor of the TOF that tells the stories of many of the photographs in 30 seconds each, with an introductory video for context. On a mobile device, visitors would access content that:
- Tells the stories of individuals’ lives and fates
- Places individuals in the context of a family and community
- Briefly provides context about the Eishishok community
Overall, the AR experience will reinforce the message that one flourishing community with many years of history was destroyed in three days.
As a next step, USHMM will solicit proposals from outside firms to help the core AR team develop and implement our storytelling concept. Drawing on expertise in user experience and trends in AR technology, an outside firm would be required to build an easy-to-use, robust, and durable AR experience. The AR experience must also meet accessibility standards and have built-in functionality to passively capture user engagement data and analytics.
General Museum visitors
We believe that AR has the greatest potential to enhance the visit of those who currently have an unmediated experience in the Museum’s Permanent Exhibition. The AR experience is intended primarily for individual visitors and small, self-organized groups (1-4 people).
We recognize that making AR available in the TOF may impact other audiences, including those on docent-led tours, school groups, and other large groups. We aim to avoid disrupting any visitor’s experience in the TOF, regardless of whether they are visiting alone or as part of an organized group.
What does success look like?
- Dwell time remains consistent, or AR lengthens current experience
○ Current experience: fleeting to 40 seconds
- Engagement with 4-7 photos & stories
Testing with an AR prototype suggests that visitors are interested in exploring 4 to 7 photos and stories. Engaging with 4 to 7 stories with a duration of 30 seconds each would mean increasing visitors’ dwell time in the space up to a range of 2 to 5.5 minutes.
- Opt-in participation rate over 5%
Visitors will walk away with the TOF’s main message:
One flourishing community with many years of history was destroyed in three days.
- The AR content will convey:
○ Sparks of life – ordinary people living everyday lives; The photos in the TOF represent people who lived, not just victims who died.
○ The destruction of 6 million includes both individual lives lost and the eclipse of the communities and social structures in which individuals participated.
○ The destruction of longstanding communities can/did occur rapidly and with finality.
The AR experience must be:
- Robust (does not crash, runs quickly)
- Intuitive (simple interface, easily understood and used by public, ages 12 to adults over 65)
- Appropriate (design/look of the experience fit the tone and quality of the Museum and the Permanent Exhibition)
- Sustainable over the 3-5 year life of the project
- Owned by the Museum
For the anticipated 3-5 year lifetime of this project:
- Museum staff members have access to the Content Management System
- Museum staff members are trained in how to change, update, and add content
- Quantitative data collection is built in (passive collection of user engagement data, basic analytics)
Equipment (if applicable)
Given the 3-5 year lifetime of this project, vendors who propose distributing Museum-owned devices must be able to address these questions:
- What is your plan for delivering a sustainable hardware solution?
- How will device maintenance work?
- How will we (USHMM) acquire new devices when needed?
- Hardware is easily procurable
- Hardware is durable (not easily destroyed)
- Device has a battery life of 8+ hours
- Plan for how to handle sanitization, storage & charging
- Plan for how to easily distribute and retrieve devices to/from visitors
Collaboration & Work Process
USHMM will control the historical research, content, and storytelling. We are looking for the outside firm to provide creative input on what form the AR experience should take and how to deliver the content effectively.
The USHMM AR team and the outside firm will collaborate to develop the AR experience, encompassing hardware, software, user interface, and distribution process (if applicable), through an iterative design process.
The outside firm must have experience considering success criteria, such as use rate, engagement, and comprehension; conducting iterative testing with museum audiences; and accounting for feedback from both museum staff and audiences.