Archive | November, 2014

New Feature: Google Field Trip Integration

24 Nov

OnCell-TourSphere has partnered with Google Field Trip to provide quality “stories” to Field Trip users. With over 1 million Google-Field-Trip-Partner-TourSpheredownloads to date, Field Trip is an excellent way to learn about what’s around you and is available as a downloadable native app in Google Play and the Apple App Store.

What is Google Field Trip?
Field Trip connects visitors to interesting sights and information, wherever they are. It runs in the background on your smartphone, and when you get close to something interesting, it pops up a card with details about the point of interest. If you have a headset or are Bluetooth connected, it can even read the information aloud to you.

How does this affect your tour?

Through this partnership, OnCell-TourSphere clients have the option to distribute tour content from their live app to Google Field Trip. It’s a win-win solution to give your tour content even more visibility and provide another point of access for your visitors or passersby who may not otherwise know about your tour. The tour “stops” from your OnCell-TourSphere mobile app will be available on Field Trip pop-up cards with a link to your live OnCell-TourSphere mobile tour.

A few thoughts to remember about pushing content to Field Trip:
1) Field Trip integration is available in both Pro and Lite accounts. 2) Enabling Field Trip will not affect your current billing amount as there is no additional charge. 3) When building/editing your tour, simply make sure each of your stops have the following items to help tell your “story”:

  • Map marker in a Google Map widget or a GeoAlert set
  • At least one image or a defined project app icon
  • Text widget that contains descriptive text

Would you like to learn more? Contact your Client Account Manager or email us to get the conversation started.

App Spotlight: Des Plaines History Center

21 Nov

Q&A with Shari Caine, Executive Director at the Des Plaines History Center

Founded in 1968, the Des Plaines History Center collects, preserves, and interprets the history of Des Plaines, Illinois and its people and provides access to those resources through exhibits, educational programs, and research facilities. They launched their mobile walking tour in late October, 2014, which includes interpretive audio for 10 historic sites in downtown Des Plaines and features a room-by-room tour of the Kinder House–a 1907 Queen Anne home turned museum.

Q. Why did you decide to create an app for your organization?

A. This was something we’ve been discussing for the past year. We wanted to do something technology-based that was interactive and available to as many people as possible. At first, we talked about working with an app developer, but around the same time we learned about what TourSphere had to offer, and after trying it out, we knew it was the type of app-making tool we could use ourselves.

Q. What are your interpretive goals and what are the benefits for people to use the app?

A. Our goals include increasing attendance, improving the quality of program content through historical interpretation, and increasing awareness of history in the community. We believe that this app will serve as both a great educational tool and a marketing tool, helping to make people more aware of the history of the community and bring in more visitors to the History Center. The proximity of the walking tour to our downtown area will reach many people who are in the area, whether they are residents, commuters, or visitors. The nearby transportation services, including the bus transfer points and the train station, are opportunities for us to promote the app further.

Q.  What advice would you give to other organizations who are looking to create an app?

A.  First, I would suggest that they determine whether they need someone to create and design the app for them, or if they are willing to do the work themselves. Then, I would recommend they look into all the tools that are available, compare the costs for each option, and take advantage of opportunities to test out the free trial for app-building tools. Finally, they will need to identify their potential audiences and how far they can reach by using the app to bring in new visitors.

Q.  Can you tell us a little about how you created the audio content?

A. The script was written by our Curator based on information and photographs from our historical archives. The audio was created by a volunteer who works in the IT field and who also has a bit of a background in voice acting and recording. He recorded the digital files from his own studio and delivered them to us. We were fortunate to find someone willing to work with us on a volunteer basis. I would recommend working with a volunteer to keep costs low, but it’s important to interview the person first, and review their demos, in order to assess their level of skill, knowledge, and ability in this type of work.

Q.  How are you planning to market the tour?

A. We held a special event on October 17, planned in conjunction with a re-opening of the second floor of our house museum. There was a special introduction to the walking tour app featured during the event. We also published information about the new app in our newsletter, and we’ve been interviewed by the local newspaper. In addition to the publicity for the special event, we will also distribute a poster and other materials relating to the app itself, with QR codes printed large enough for passersby to see as they are in the area of a building that is featured on the tour. We will promote the tour on a continual basis throughout the community, at other events, and through our Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well as in other community publications. We also just had a group of 44 high-school aged German exchange students visit the History Center, and they participated in a demonstration of the walking tour app.

Des Plaines Mobile Tour App Screenshots and QR code

The Des Plaines mobile tour app can be accessed on any web-enabled device at http://desplainestour.toursphere.com

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