Tag Archives: Games

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”.

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.

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