Archive by Author

App Spotlight: Cabot’s Pueblo Museum

8 Sep

Self-Guided Tour Shares the Story of Coachella Valley Pioneer Cabot Yerxa

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Cabot’s Pueblo Museum preserves the homestead of visionary explorer, artist, and Mason Cabot Yerxa, whose discovery of two desert aquifers provides fresh water to California’s Coachella Valley and gave rise to the area’s hot springs resorts. After 24 years of construction, which began in 1941, Yerxa completed his 35-room pueblo, which was donated to the City of Desert Hot Springs after his death. The site is operated as a heritage museum and share artifacts of his travels, art, and collection of Native American artistry.

The newly launched Cabot’s Pueblo Museum audio tour shares the story of the adventurous pioneer and his self-built Hopi-inspired home.  The tour takes museum visitors around the structures found on the site’s 5 acres, on which the historic home sits. The app offers new interpretive content about these structures, such as the barn, tool house, and studio house, and prompts visitors to think about how they were created with locally sourced, repurposed materials.

“We have little interpretative material for the grounds and using the app will provide visitors with a stronger understanding of Cabot and simpler times in the Coachella Valley,” says Irene Rodriguez, Executive Director of Cabot’s Pueblo Museum. “Hopefully, the information found in the app will also spark greater interest and encourage users to take a guided tour, which is the only way to see the interior of the Pueblo.”

The content for the app is an expansion of an existing grounds brochure, with the audio tour scripted and recorded by a staff tour guide. The museum is working on a new exhibition in a space that has been closed for over 40 years. As this exhibition unfurls, additional content for the audio tour will be added to the app using OnCell’s flexible app-building platform.

“Our process is to start small and grow. We’re excited to use the app as a tool to enhance the visitor experience and add more content over time,” says Rodriguez.

Cabot's Pueblo Museum Brochure Image

The museum uses brochures to promote the app

The museum promotes their app with brochures and signs for tour stops. The tour can be accessed by a dial in tour number or the mobile web app, which uses a keypad.

Listen to their audio tour with their mobile app at: cabotsmuseum.oncell.com

No Time to Update Your App? We Can Do It for You!

17 Jul

Meet Our Mobile Experts!

OnCell’s app editing service will help you improve your app’s appearance. Our team of mobile experts will evaluate your current app and help improve both its visual readability and overall flow. After a thorough analysis, we’ll make a series of recommendations on how your app can be improved–and implement them for you!

What changes can we make in your app?

  • Restructure page layouts
  • Adjust text and titles for consistency and readability
  • Create site list thumbnail images
  • Add captions to images
  • Group images into rotating galleries*
  • Basic audio editing to clean up noise
  • Create transcriptions for audio files to create more accessible content
  • Group tours by theme
  • Color code map markers and geo tag markers
  • Create more interactivity with image maps* or trivia
  • Create visitor surveys*
  • Implement features you may not be using (but should!)
  • And so many more!

Here are just a few before and after examples:

Contact us today to learn more about how our team can transform your app!

Click any image to enlarge
*Available with Pro plans

Spring Promo: Upgrade to Lite or Pro and Save!

12 Jun

OnCell Mobile Apps Spring Upgrade Promo 2017 Image

Do you want to offer a more robust app for your visitors and include more functionality for your team? With a plan upgrade, you can leverage your app to its fullest potential! Features can include:

  • Multilingual tours
  • Mobile giving campaigns
  • Image galleries, videos, and interactive images
  • Surveys to gather visitor demographics & feedback
  • And so much more!
Explore the Cranbrook House & Gardens app and the Toldeo Museum of Art app for inspiration!

For a limited time, our current clients will receive a discount on product plan upgrades:

  • Upgrade to Lite and save 10%
  • Upgrade to Pro and save 20%

In order to receive this special offer, you must be a current client and your order must be in by July 15th.  

Contact your Client Account Manager with the promo code “Spring2017”. If you are not sure who your client account manager is, send us an email at info@oncell.com or call us at (585) 419-9844. We’ll find the right plan to fit your needs!

 

App Spotlight: Toledo Museum of Art

25 May

Toledo Museum of Art Audio GuideQ&A with Maria Iafelice, Docent Program Manager at Toledo Museum of Art

Since its founding in 1901, the Toledo Museum of Art’s mission has been art education and it has earned a global reputation for the quality of their collection, their innovative and extensive education programs, and their architecturally significant campus. More than 30,000 works of art represent American and European painting, the history of art in glass, ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works, Asian and African art, medieval art, sculpture, decorative arts, graphic arts, and modern and contemporary art. The app provides content that caters to a variety of audiences and allows visitors to explore the galleries in alternative ways.

Q. How does the app enhance the visitor experience?

A. 
TMApp integrates technology into the gallery experience and provides a sensory learning opportunity for visitors to look, listen and learn; we know that people learn in different ways. Additionally, TMApp creates an opportunity for new audiences to access and connect with our collection and for current audiences to see it in new ways. TMApp allows us to communicate with our visitors and also help them to navigate the space.

Q. The app features a very unique approach to an audio tour, with original poems inspired by the TMA collection penned and read by revered Irish poet Paul Durcan. Was it always the intention to use his work in the app when he began his residency at the museum?

A. 
It was a great honor to have Irish poet Paul Durcan write a book of poetry inspired by works in the TMA collection. While working on the project, we knew we wanted to incorporate his poetry in the galleries. The timing of his public poetry readings and the beginning of our relationship with OnCell was happenstance. This audio tour inspired another poetry-related audio tour that’s currently in the works.

Scavenger narrator Cardinal Antonio Barberini gives users clues to locate an animal on the loose in the galleries.

Q. Another unique feature of the app is a “wild animal hunt” for a creature who has found its way out of an artwork and prompts families to follow clues around the museum.  What inspired you to create this experience in the app?

A. Because the Toledo Museum of Art has a long history of immersing children in the world of art, we believe that it’s never too early to start the learning and engagement process. The goal of the Escape! scavenger hunt on TMApp was to have a fun and playful way for families to explore the galleries and to look closely at works of art.

Q. How has the app been received by visitors and colleagues?

A. We’ve received a number of positive reviews including a young visitor who was so excited about the scavenger hunt that he wanted to come back the next day to explore again!

Q. How do you plan to leverage the app builder to share new content?

A. We’ve used the builder to ensure the app is updated and reflects rotating exhibitions. For example, visitors were able to dive deeper into our special exhibition Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic with a mobile guide that includes artist interviews, with video and audio interviews with the artist; images of the Old Master works of art that were the sources for poses, titles, and other details; audio commentary; and other contextual information. We have also used the guide to include information about TMA collection connections, a soundtrack (on Spotify) inspired by the exhibition and created by the TMA Teen Apprentices, and a selection of audio descriptions for visitors with vision impairments. Visitors can look forward to new guides coming this spring that will include accessibility features including extended audio descriptions.

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

A. You don’t have to do it alone. This project is a collaborative effort across multiple departments including Information Systems, Marketing and Education & Engagement which has been important in the development phase. Additionally, frontline staff has been leveraged to promote the TMApp experience.

The TMapp app features original audio and poetry, gallery tour, an interactive scavenger hunt, and essential visitor info such as admission and floorplans. The app will soon be paired with location-aware beacons to help visitors discover content. It is available for download on iOS in the App Store and Android in Google Play. Access the web app on any web-enabled device at TMAapp.oncell.com.

We’re featured in the Democrat & Chronicle!

11 May

OnCell was recently profiled in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle’s Small Business Spotlight. Hear about our origin story and a few things about our founders you may not know about!

You can find the the article here.

OnCell Announces New Chief Technologist

14 Dec

Technology Veteran Kevin Grinberg Selected to Lead Company’s Engineering Strategy

PITTSFORD, N.Y., December 14, 2015–OnCell, a leader in the mobile technology space for museums, parks, and cultural destinations, today announced the appointment of Kevin Grinberg to the role of Chief Technologist. Grinberg will be responsible for the company’s technology strategy, engineering, and quality assurance operations as well as product research and development.

Grinberg is a seasoned technology leader with 20 years of application development experience. He’s successfully delivered numerous consumer- and enterprise-facing projects on platforms and has founded half a dozen startups. He graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University and holds a BA in Computer Science as well as an MA in Politics.

OnCell acquired Boston-based TourSphere, the first of its kind mobile app builder for museums, in 2013. Grinberg served as lead developer for TourSphere and ensured its technology was focused on client needs and a seamless user experience.

“Kevin is a true technologist with extraordinary vision and expertise within SaaS-based (Software-as-a-Service) platforms,” says Thomas Dunne, OnCell CEO and President. “I am thrilled to welcome Kevin to OnCell and back to our core product, which he helped to develop.”

The New York-based company works closely with museums and cultural destinations to develop audio tours and apps with their easy-to-use content management system, which allows organizations to upload media content, create points of interest, and output mobile tours. Visitors are given instant access to educational content through their mobile devices.

“Innovation is a key element of our strategy and Kevin’s combination of skills, experience, and passion brings a unique perspective to the role of Chief Technologist,” says Dunne.

OnCell technology has powered millions of mobile tours for the National Park Service, US Forest Service, museums, and historic sites.

About OnCell

OnCell provides a full range of mobile tour solutions integrated onto a single platform, a DIY app builder. With a variety of interactive services such as native and web apps, audio tours, beacons, mobile surveys, and scavenger hunts, OnCell helps cultural sites and organizations become mobile-friendly. As mobile communication experts who are passionate about the arts and education, the OnCell team has worked on over 2,000 projects both in the U.S. and internationally since its inception in 2006.

Contact:
Monica Barndt
Director of Marketing
OnCell
mbarndt@oncell.com

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New Feature Release: Favorites Smart Page

23 Nov

Museum and Event mobile app builder favorite sites pageYou asked and you got it! The ability to collect favorite pages in an app and to build a schedule of events is now available in the OnCell App Builder.

When you enable this functionality in your app, your visitor will see a heart icon at the top of every page in your app. The visitor taps the heart icon to add the page to their favorites list. Additionally, any page in your app can be assigned a time and date stamp, so visitors can create an easy-to-read schedule of events they are interested in at your venue.

The visitor can access all of their favorited pages by tapping the “Favorites” button found in the main navigation. Favorited pages will sort alphabetically or chronologically if a date has been set.

Our Favorites Smart Page complements any type of app, be it a tour app to collect stops that visitors would like to see, an event app to build a schedule, or a destination marketing app to save must-visit places in a city.

Explore some of the apps who have implemented favorites into their app. The Virginia Association of Museums allows conference attendees to build their own schedule, while the Cranbrook House and Gardens allows visitors to collect favorite stops on their tour.

Our new Favorites Smart Page is available in Pro plans. Contact us to learn more or to upgrade your existing plan.

OnCell and TourSphere Launch New Merged Website

18 Jun

As part of the final stage of the merger between OnCell and TourSphere, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of our new website. Access your projects and learn about the latest features from one fancy, unified site. Take a moment to take the tour!

New-OnCell-TourSphere-Website-Home-Page

 

Frontier Homestead State Park Launches TourSphere Mobile Tour

12 May Tour Stop Sign

Self-Guided Tour Offers Visitors Detailed History of Museum and Collections

Tour Stop Sign

Visitors can take a self-guided tour at Frontier Homestead State Park powered by OnCell-TourSphere.

Cedar City, UT – Frontier Homestead State Park Museum is excited to announce it has launched a new mobile tour app. The new cell phone audio tour allows park visitors access to significantly more information about artifacts and exhibits, all through their mobile devices. With almost 60 stops, visitors can enjoy little known historic details and personal reflections of yesteryear. Not only does the tour encourage visitors to explore the park at their leisure, it also allows them to take away what they have learned by providing access to the tour long after their visit.

Opened in 1973, Frontier Homestead State Park Museum interprets the history of Iron County, horse-drawn transportation, and early iron production. Attractions include the main carriage gallery, pioneer crafts, gift shop, and historic cabins.

Comprised of 27 stops inside the museum and 33 stops on the park grounds, the tour offers a glimpse into the history of Iron County, including rare wagons and carriages, historic buildings, and the realities of life on the frontier.

“We wanted to tell the story of each of the stops within the Park and Museum by looking deeper into the history of a particular topic than traditional signage alone would allow,” says Todd Prince, Park Manager. “The tour is an excellent opportunity to provide historic background, add intriguing details, and tell the special stories that make each stop memorable.”

Powered by technology provided by New York-based OnCell-TourSphere, a leader in the mobile space for cultural destinations, the Park intends to include additional tour stops as new exhibits are developed in the coming years. Development of the tour is made possible by support of the Cedar City–Brian Head Tourism Bureau.

The mobile tour can be accessed on any web-enabled device at http://frontierhomestead.toursphere.com, or by dialing (435) 868-3043. For more information call 435-586-9290. Frontier Homestead State Park is located at 635 North Main Street in Cedar City, Utah.

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About Frontier Homestead State Park

Frontier Homestead State Park Museum (FHSP) interprets the history of Iron County, Utah, horse-drawn transportation, and early iron production. Attractions include a main exhibit hall, pioneer crafts, gift shop, and historic cabins. The Park hosts various educational programs including community celebrations, public lectures, living history demonstrations, curation workshops, and volunteer programs. The north wing exhibit hall receives new exhibits every 6-8 weeks. The Museum is open year-round with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Hours are Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. September through May, and Monday-Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. June-August. For more information, contact the Park at (435) 586-9290, or by email at frontierhomestead@utah.gov

About OnCell-TourSphere

OnCell-TourSphere provides a full range of mobile tour solutions for museums and cultural destinations. With a variety of interactive services such as a DIY app builder, smartphone apps, mobile web apps, audio tours, GeoAlerts, beacons, and scavenger hunts, OnCell-TourSphere helps organizations become mobile-friendly. As mobile communication experts who are passionate about the arts and education, the OnCell-TourSphere team has worked on over 2,000 projects both in the U.S. and internationally since its inception in 2006.

Bringing Stories to Life makes Ed Rodley Happy to be Alive

23 Mar

This interview is part of our “Thought Leader” series, where we get inside the heads of the best and brightest in the museum & technology world.

Ed Rodley

Exhibit Developer @ Museum of Science, Boston

Ed was born, went to school, started working at a museum. He’s still at it and is showing no signs of stopping anytime soon.

TourSphere: What was a stand-out museum/exhibit that caught your interest this year?

Ed: I wish I’d gotten down to see Infinite Variety in New York during the week it was up. The pictures of the Armory full of towering cylinders and curves of red and white quilts took my breath away. I can only imagine what it must’ve been like to be in the space. Degas and the Nude @ MFA was the best exhibition I actually saw in 2011. It combined great art with a compelling narrative, deep curatorial knowledge, and the mobile tour that went with the show was impressive. It was the best, most seamless blending of mobile with physical I’ve seen.

TourSphere: What was the coolest use of technology you saw in a museum in 2011?

Ed: I don’t tend to think that way, which is a bit ironic given my position and institution, but there you have it. The exhibits I’ve seen this year that have made me go “Wow…” have almost always incorporated computational power in ways that aren’t obvious. Like my colleague who has made a MIDI-controlled Tesla coil that plays creepy loud music. It’s a computer exhibit, but the computer is just a tool to get the job done.

TourSphere: Is there an app or a technology that has changed the way you do things or made your job easier this year?

Ed: Twitter has been a major part of my professional workflow for years, and I continue to be amazed at how central it has become. I use it to search for information, communicate with colleagues around the world, trend spot. It’s a godsend. This year in particular I have been loving my productivity apps like Evernote and Dropbox. Keeping my files accessible across multiple machines and OSs is vital to me.

TourSphere: Apple or Android?

Ed: I own an iPhone, but I’m rooting for HTML 5 and responsive web design to throw a wrench into the Apple/Android shouting match. Given the success of sites like http://www.bostonglobe.com and others to deliver really rich mobile experiences, I think 2012 is going to be an interesting year.

TourSphere: If you had to sum up what you think the theme for museums in 2012 will be in one word, what would your prediction be?

Ed: Relevance.

TourSphere: What do you see as the biggest challenge for museums in the coming years?

Ed: Making the case for museums in the 21st century. What can we contribute to society in the 21st century that makes us worth supporting?

TourSphere: Is there something you are passionate about in the museum world that you would like to wax philosophical about or rant about?

Ed: Heh. That’s why I blog, to get out all the ranting and raving in more socially valuable ways. I am a story teller, and anything that involves bringing stories to life makes me happy to be alive. Weaving objects and experiences into narratives that visitors can construct for themselves as they go along gives me a thrill, every time.

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with us, Ed!  Keep up with Ed and his insights at:

Twitter:@erodley
Site: Thinking About Exhibits
If you’re in the Boston area keep an eye out for Ed’s “Drinking About Museums” events.  They’re wicked fun!

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