Tag Archives: Accessiblity

OnCell Acquires Competitors My Tours & STQRY

11 Jan

oncell-my-tours logos-banner

Acquisition of New Zealand-based company Authentic will drive mobile tour app technology innovation for cultural and historic sites

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Jan. 11, 2019–OnCell announced today it has acquired Authentic, a New Zealand-based company which develops My Tours and STQRY, a respected competitor in the mobile tour app technology space. OnCell pioneered the first self-guided mobile tour platform for cultural sites and historic destinations, and allows organizations to offer their visitors immersive educational experiences using their smartphones and tablets.

Over the past decade, OnCell and My Tours have both succeeded at building innovative mobile tour app technology solutions designed to meet the changing needs of museums, parks, attractions, cities, and historic sites of all sizes. With location-based mobile tour delivery, native and web apps, hands-free touring, gaming, and beacons, both companies have consistently evolved their platforms as new technologies become available, furthering their commitment to provide cutting-edge products for their clients.

The acquisition strengthens OnCell’s position as a leader in the self-guided mobile tour app space, significantly increases its global presence, and expands its commitment to support hundreds of organizations in their efforts to engage and educate visitors.

OnCell was founded by entrepreneur Thomas Dunne, who has served as Chief Executive Officer and President since OnCell’s inception in 2006. Dunne, with over 25 years of experience in application development, telecommunications, and sales, has grown OnCell to a team of nearly 20 employees.

“This is an exciting time for OnCell. We are thrilled to add Authentic’s brands to our portfolio and welcome both their team and clients,” said Thomas Dunne. “Together, our innovative technologies will keep us ahead in the market, offering an unrivaled product and feature set.”

My Tours was founded by technologist Glen Barnes in 2009. In recent years, Barnes, worked to acquire two additional competitors, and formed Authentic as an umbrella company in 2016. Authentic currently powers three different platforms designed for the cultural and heritage space – My Tours, STQRY, and Curtis.

“We are delighted to be joining the OnCell team,” said Glen Barnes. “Our international client base along with OnCell’s strong US presence creates a powerful worldwide footprint and means we will achieve global scale quicker. The combined product suite will allow us to pick the best solution for our customers, from small museums to the world’s major cities. ”

Dunne will remain President and CEO of OnCell and Barnes will continue to play a vital role in the new company structure as Chief Product Officer, working alongside Dunne on the leadership team, as well as  managing a team of engineers. Dunne plans to keep the current My Tours team to support the New Zealand office.

“Our people are core to OnCell’s success. It is their expertise, desire to push boundaries, and passion to ship great products which allows us to expand our technology and keep us ahead in the market. We are elated to have Authentic’s team join our family,” added Dunne.

With Authentic’s portfolio of brands, OnCell can now provide even more services to support cultural and historic sites. In addition to mobile tours, with the platform Curtis, OnCell can now offer collection management tools. With STQRY, OnCell will have an innovative mobile app that allows anyone to discover educational content about fascinating destinations across the world.

Combined, OnCell now powers thousands of projects for clients, delivering stories and interpretation to over ten plus million visitors this past year alone, across 19 countries, making it a clear leader in the mobile tour technology space. The new OnCell will continue to drive technology innovation while providing customers with best-in-class support for all of their platforms.

About OnCell
OnCell provides a full range of mobile tour technologies for museums, parks, and cultural destinations. With a variety of interactive services such as a DIY app builder, native and web apps, audio guides, beacon tours, and games, OnCell helps organizations become mobile-friendly. As mobile communication experts who are passionate about the arts, outdoors, and education, the OnCell team has worked on over 3,000 projects both in the U.S. and internationally since its inception in 2006. www.oncell.com

About Authentic
Authentic is passionate about creating mobile applications to help audiences explore, engage, and discover arts and culture in new ways. Powering three platforms which address the different needs of cultural and historic sites, Authentic empowers organizations to create their own mobile tour apps, searchable websites and kiosks for their collections, and provides the ability to share their stories via an innovative app which allows visitors to search all things arts and culture in their area. www.getauthentic.io

Explore Historic Independence Missouri with City’s Official App

31 Aug

Independence Missouri Mobile App and Game

Beacon-Enabled Audio Tour and Exploratory Game Offers Visitors a Unique Glimpse of Pioneer Life

The City of Independence Missouri’s new mobile app celebrates the city’s unique history–a bustling center which supported pioneers as they started their long journey on the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails during the Westward Expansion of the 1800s.

The goal of the project was to offer visitors a modern way to explore the city with fewer pamphlets, less planning, and more spontaneity. 

Core to the app experience is an audio walking tour of historic locations within the city. OnCell configured and deployed location-aware beacons at the tour stops, which automatically play the audio content as visitors navigate the city. Written transcriptions of the audio content are included to make the app accessible for those who are hearing-impaired.

The app includes Pioneers to Presidents, a game developed using the app builder, in which the user prepares for the long journey on the Oregon Trail. Visitors can playfully navigate the city, answer trivia, and collect virtual “supplies” in the form of badges. The badges can be shown at their Visitor Experience Center to get a physical prize. OnCell’s engineering team developed badges as a custom feature to integrate into their app and our content management system.

Photo filters were also custom engineered for this app, which allows visitors to access the device’s camera and take photos with themed overlays, such as wearing President Harry Truman’s hat and spectacles.

The app can be found in the App Store and Google Play, search: “Find Your Independence”.

Currier Museum of Art Wins Accessibility Award for Audio Tour

22 Jul

currier-appThe Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, was honored with a 2015 Access Award by the New Hampshire Association for the Blind for outstanding accomplishments in accessibility for people with disabilities. The Currier worked closely with the New Hampshire Association for the Blind to launch a mobile tour of collection highlights that includes audio with detailed visual descriptions.

“The Currier is committed to providing opportunities for all to enjoy art, and that means designing experiences that are accessible to people with disabilities,” said Leah Fox, Director of Public Programs.

The app also contains audio interpretation with transcriptions for each piece. Additionally, to help meet their accessibility goals, the Currier is fully wheelchair accessible, wall text is designed in large print, and assistive listening systems are available.

Visit the audio tour app at http://currier.toursphere.com to see how The Currier used mobile to help make art accessible to all.

 

App Spotlight: The Noah Webster House

30 Mar

Noah-Webster-App-HomeQ&A with Sarah St. Germain, Coordinator of Public Programs at the Noah Webster House

The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society is located in the restored birthplace and childhood home of Noah Webster. Webster was a national figure known not only for the first American dictionary and the Blue-Backed Speller, but also for being a federalist, an abolitionist, and a cofounder of Amherst College.

Our team worked closely with the Noah Webster House to create a unique custom design and help build a striking multilingual app. The app was designed especially for onsite tablet devices. It features English and Spanish tours, unique content for children, and closed captioned videos to better meet their accessibility goals.

Q. How many visitors do you see a year?

A. Around 4,000 visitors take tours of the house each year.

Q. What were the main goals for creating your app?

A. We wanted to extend our audience and reach out to the deaf, hard of hearing, and Spanish speaking communities. West Hartford, Connecticut is a highly diverse town and we want to be able to offer an experience that just about anyone can enjoy. We would like to expand the tour to other languages in the future.

Noah-Webster-App-RoomQ. How does it enhance the visitor experience?

A. The videos, object information, and narration give a completely different story than we’ve told in the past. It includes videos of an actor playing Noah Webster and using his words to tell the story of his life. Each one is only a couple of minutes long. We also included videos of local experts talking about and demonstrating a variety of things. Hearth cooking, weaving, architecture, room use, etc. And with the videos for kids, by kids, there’s something for every age group. Visitors love to see the kids react to eating colonial foods that are weird to kids now, like black pudding and clams.

Q. How are you using the app?

A. We’re using the app on days when we don’t have a tour guide.

Q. How are onsite devices used in your mobile strategy?

A. We only have four tablets available now, but we’re hoping to add more soon. Each tablet is loaded with the proprietary app and can be used by one or more visitors.

Q. Why did you choose to have onsite devices only, and not a web or native app for download in the app stores?

A. Since the app covers the entire house, we decided not to give away our tour completely. We still want people to come to our site to see the historic house and interact with it and our exhibits. We are planning to post some of the videos and highlights on our website at some point.

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

A. It was a lot of trial and error because we had a ton of information and each room narration was originally about 7 minutes. But visitors don’t want to listen to something for that long, so we found different ways to share the info, like the videos, object information, and the paintings.

Q. How did you plan the app?

A. We did a survey in 2011 about how people like to tour a museum. Half wanted a guided tour, while the other half wanted a self-guided tour. We can now cater to just about everyone.

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

A. Get funding first! It was a tough road to get planning grants, then have to apply and reapply for implementation grants. The funding was definitely why it took so long to finalize the app. If you can layout your entire plan first and talk to the funders along the way, it will save you a lot of time. In the end, the changes we made along the way have made our tour stronger and more applicable to our site.

Q. How are you marketing the app?

A. We’ve sent out press releases and emails, but we also have an exhibit space in Blue Back Square in West Hartford Center. It’s a changing screen that includes info on upcoming programs and events. We have the tablet tour in the mix, so hundreds of people see it every day.

Q. What part of the app is a staff favorite?

A. We LOVE the art! Monica Vachula, the artist behind the imagery, did an amazing job at giving the historic house a more lively look. You can see the room in front of you, then look at the tablet and see what the room might have looked like with the Websters in it. There is a painting for each room, so it’s hard to choose a favorite.

Noah-Webster-House-Tour-Object

 

Though the Noah Webster House tour is not available for download, visit www.noahwebsterhouse.org to learn more about the lexicographer who strongly believed that the United States had a distinctive brand of English with its own idiom, pronunciation, and style, and published the first truly American dictionary in 1783.

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