The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is the world’s first museum solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights. Current and historical international topics are covered, integrating local and global perspectives. Utilizing innovative multimedia technology, such as immersive or interactive exhibitions and location-based apps, the CMHR generates inspiring encounters with human rights for all ages for an extraordinary visitor experience.
Working in close collaboration, Acoustiguide and the CMHR designed a multimedia-focused interactive museum experience with a comprehensive location-aware mobile app. The app integrates low energy Bluetooth (BLE) iBeacon-compatible beacons to deliver accessible content to all visitors regardless of physical challenges. Acoustiguide also produced a bilingual audio tour (in English and French) and a visual description tour for the sight-impaired.
The CMHR is the first site in Canada to use iBeacons, and one of the world’s largest installations of this technology in a cultural institution, with more than 120+ units. The Acoustiguide-created app’s real-time “near me” identification location system interacts with the beacons to give museum visitors quick access to the nearest exhibits, as well as supplementary content from universal access points (UAP).
As a high proportion of the museum’s content is delivered digitally, Acoustiguide worked with CMHR to extend the museum's internal Enterprise Content Management System (ECMS). The museum could thereby create and maintain tour content independently, while ensuring updates would be distributed and synchronized to both the museum's in-house rental iPods as well as to visitors’ own devices via Acoustiguide's content distribution platform.
The free app also includes interactive mood meters, augmented reality, panoramic images, sign language videos, complete transcripts of all audio, and an interactive keypad. It features images, audio and text about each gallery, as well as accessibility to the museum’s multimedia collection beyond what is on display, such as versions with closed captioning or sign language. An interactive map of the Museum’s public spaces quickly locates you, displays floor plans and guides you to your destination. Mood meters enable visitors to share their mood reactions to the exhibits.
Overall the combination of location-based technology with an engaging user experience resulted in an amazing self-guided visitor experience for everyone.
Regarded as Australia’s most outstanding cave system, with pure underground rivers and amazing limestone crystal formations, Jenolan Caves – believed to be over 320 million years old - is among the finest and oldest cave systems in the world.
Jenolan Caves were known to the local Aboriginal population for many thousands of years as Binoomea, "Dark places". European involvement in the area began in 1838, with the first recorded discovery by a local pastoralist, James Whalan. Over the succeeding years, James Whalan and his brother Charles discovered several openings. The Elder cave was discovered in 1848. It was the first "dark cave" explored.
In 1860, the Lucas cave, largest of the current show caves, was discovered by Nicholas Irwin and George Whiting.
It was not until 1866 that the caves were brought under direct government control. In 1867, Jeremiah Wilson was appointed as 'Keeper' of the 'Binda', or 'Fish River' Caves. In the 1880s, Jenolan began to emerge as a genuine tourist destination. The Aboriginal word 'Jenolan' (high mountain) was not adopted until 1884.
Over 160 years since the first Europeans stumbled upon the vast openings of the Grand Arch and the Devil's Coach House cave, the magic of Jenolan is still leaving its mark on visitors. Jenolan is as timeless as it is unforgettable.
Since 2006, Acoustiguide has been working closely with Jenolan Caves to create various themed tours including the Self-Guided Nettle Cave Tour, an Indigenous Heritage Tour and a Children’s Tour; and for above ground walking trails the Waters Tours which introduces Geology, Indigenous, and European use of water at Jenolan. Acoustiguide has also supplied hundreds of Opus Click – our robust and durable multimedia hardware - for delivery of the tours in an inclusive format; where every visitor to the Caves receives the tour as part of their visit. Most recently we have created an app. The app offers 6 tours – one of which is available in 13 languages, and is compatible for both handheld and tablet devices in Android and iOS format.
In recent years Jenolan – one of Australia’s foremost tourist destinations - has won over 35 regional, state and national awards. Most notably, they won the coveted 2013 Qantas National Tourism Award for Culture and Heritage, which is directly linked to Acoustiguide’s products and services. It is with great pride that we continue our association with this iconic and treasured tourist destination.
The Tower of London, also known as Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, is a historic castle located on the river Thames. William the Conqueror built this site’s namesake the White Tower in 1078. A popular tourist attraction, many are drawn to see the display of the Crown Jewels, the very symbol of the British Monarchy. The Tower was also a notorious state prison including inmates deemed enemies of the Royals or the Church from Anne Boleyn, Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 and second wife of Henry VIII to Guy Fawkes.
Acoustiguide was awarded the Historic Royal Palaces contract in 2011 which covers the Tower of London, the Hampton Court Palace and the Banqueting House.
Our service at the Tower is on the basis of an optional sale of audio guides to the public. We recruit, train and manage the sales staff and have steadily increased sales figures during the course of the contract.
Language tours are popular among individuals and groups, as a large number of visitors to the Tower are foreign language speakers. Our multi-lingual staff is available to assist them.
There are other interpretation services available such as guidebooks and the popular warder (or Beefeater) tours. In 2014 visitor numbers reached 3 million.
Tower of London Family Tour
The tour is presented on Opus Click and is an example of a “simple” interactive multimedia tour primarily based on audio, including still images and witty cartoons presented on the screen. It is the result of a close collaboration with the HRP interpretation and education teams and has been very well received. It is intended to help different generations engage with each other as they experience the Tower; parents & children, grandparents & grandchildren, teachers & pupils. The tour is narrated by three ravens in the Tower. There are blood-curdling accounts of prisoners, as well as tales of escape plans and attempts to steal the Crown Jewels. History is made enjoyable through the combination of fun and facts. The tour’s striking imagery and imaginative ways of conveying information are very pertinent to our overall content approach.
The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC)
Founded in the mid-nineteenth century, the Art Institute of Chicago ranks as one of the world’s great encyclopedic museums, with a diverse collection representing millennia of human artistic achievement. It attracts nearly 1.5 million international visitors annually, and, since 2011, Acoustiguide has offered the museum a full range of our mobile interpretation services.
At the heart of our work is content development. Acoustiguide’s creative team has written and produced tours for a wide range of exhibitions including Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective; Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity; Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture and Cuisine; They Seek a City: Chicago and the Art of Migration 1910-1950; and Picasso and Chicago. Our creative team has developed—and is continuing to develop—a new Director’s tour, fresh additions to the Lion’s Trail family tour and ongoing translations of the permanent collection in French and Spanish. We work closely with the museum’s Education and curatorial departments to craft engaging and expert tours that enlighten visitors and enhance their understanding of the museum’s collections.
Acoustiguide also provides the Art Institute of Chicago with delivery hardware (Opus Click) and staffing. In 2013 alone, our staff distributed almost 160,000 Opus Click players. Our turnkey on-site operation involves a full spectrum of services including hiring, training, and supervising on-site tour managers and staff; distributing the multimedia tour to visitors; dialoguing with museum visitor services staff regarding visitor flow, desk and sign location, customer service protocol and special events; setting up and maintaining the equipment and consulting on marketing and sales.
Here’s what we’ve heard from some our visitors:
“As a long time member, I usually take the audio tour for special exhibits. Today I decided to give the permanent collection a try. I couldn’t believe how the audio tour forced me to look at pieces of art work differently.”
“The Lichtenstein audio was absolutely fantastic! I thought it was wonderful that you could actually hear from the artist himself during the tour.
“The audio tour really added depth to my visit. I am glad that museum staff convinced me to rent it.”
The Art Institute of Chicago website:http://www.artic.edu/
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Acoustiguide Japan, the Japanese subsidiary of the Espro Acoustiguide Group, is a leading provider of audio tours to numerous art museums and exhibitions around Japan; and yet, its diverse client sites include history and heritage sites as well, specialized museums and even one famous train station. One of Acoustiguide Japan’s unique clients is the Kaiyukan Aquarium also in Osaka, the second largest city in Japan.
Kaiyukan is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Its theme is partly based on the new Gaia Hypothesis advocated by Dr. James Lovelock, a thesis that proposes that all organisms and their inorganic surroundings on Earth are closely integrated to form a single and self-regulating complex system, maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. Focusing on the Ring of Fire (Pan Pacific Volcanic Zone) and the Ring of Life (Pan Pacific Life Zone), Kaiyukan Aquarium respects the dignity of the life and natural environment. The Japanese word “Kaiyukan” literally means “playing in the sea pavilion”. In this aquarium, visitors can enjoy creatures as if they are playing together in the sea. The 18 regions of Kaiyukan focus on Pacific Ocean and reproduce its nature and various living things including fishes, plants, invertebrate animals, batrachians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Acoustiguide’s Opus systems with full content production escort the Kaiyukan visitors as they walk through the tunnel-shaped water tank of the Aquarium, feeling as if they were at the ocean floor.
The audio tours are offered in 4 languages (English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese) and in two versions each: one for a daytime observation, and the other designed for a nighttime. A short, summarized version is also available for people in a hurry, as the Kaiyukan is big enough to spend more than 2 hours for observing. Hence, the visitors can enjoy 3 types of audio tours in each language which is very entertaining especially for Kaiyukan fans – and these are many!
Kaiyukan website - English: www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng/index.htm
Kaiyukan website - Japanese: www.kaiyukan.com/index.html
Danshui (or Tamsui) is a small city to the north of Taipei, which was the center of shipping and commerce in Northern Taiwan during the 19th century. The city is very popular with both domestic and international tourists alike, and boasts many historical attractions.
Since Danshui is a small town, most visitors spend only about half a day (on average) in town and then move on. The government wished to enhance the quality and value of the tour in Danshui to attract visitors stay longer; one of the selected means was to offer a city walking tour around Danshui.
In 2009, Acoustiguide Taiwan produced a special audio tour service for a walking tour in the town. The audio tour, offered in two languages (Chinese and English) is provided on Acoustiguide’s advanced Opus Touch™ players.
In order to overcome the fact that in a metropolitan environment one cannot place wall mount symbols, Acoustiguide offers creative ways in order to provide access to the content, meaning a special application that helps the visitors navigate around the city on the Opus player. This especially-designed application is comprised of a combination of orientation maps which are large in scale and friendly to view and use, and a list of items that are displayed on the players’ screens. The visitors are offered to reach the points of interest through either the maps or the item lists.
The rich audio & multimedia content includes commentary segments about various points of interest around Danshui, as well as more informative content and coupons for restaurants, coffee shops, souvenir shops and other merchandise.
The Orsay museum in Paris is one of the most prestigious museums in the world, and one of the largest museums in France. Orsay museum opened in 1986, in an ancient railway station built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. You can find there paintings, drawings, decorative arts, photography and sculptures of the finest artists of the 19th century.
Espro Acoustiguide’s collaboration with Orsay museum started in February 2006. Espro Acoustiguide provided than 450 audioguides that offered 350 commentaries in 7 languages for the permanent collections.
During four years of activity at Orsay museum, Espro Acoustiguide has also realized 9 specific tours in various languages for the major temporary exhibitions.
Espro Acoustiguide is operating now 500 opus click players presenting more than 430 commentaries in 9 languages for the permanent collections, in order to satisfy most of the 4 million visitors who rush into the Orsay museum each year.
“In an industry known to be fiercely competitive, Acoustiguide’s hallmark has been their utter professionalism and objectivity, where the integrity of the company and the way it behaves rise above the ambitions and interests of individuals, and yet it has also been important to us to work with people who have a knowledge and understanding of the subject matter that goes beyond the commercial interest of their company.”
Stephen Bird, Head of Heritage Services, Bath and North East Somerset
Acoustiguide Ltd., the UK subsidiary of the Espro Acoustiguide Group, have been the provider of audio tours at the Roman Baths and the Fashion Museum since 1995. This year Acoustiguide Ltd. won a fourth consecutive contract to continue its service at the sites.
From the beginning of April 2009 Acoustiguide Ltd. have been providing over a thousand Opus Click™ players which are included in the admission price. The adult tour is offered in eight languages with additional children’s tours in English and French and a celebrity tour narrated by Bill Bryson.
With 1 million visitors per annum, a very high take up rate for the audio and a site combining internal and external areas, an excellent operational service is paramount.
Acoustiguide have provided audio tours at Westminster Abbey since 2007.
Initially the service was an optional sale of audio tours on exSite equipment. In May 2008 the Abbey swapped out to an inclusive service offering multimedia tours on two thousand Opus Click players to every visitor.
The tour comprises audio, text, still images and some specially commissioned videos. The English tour is narrated by Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons and there are ten language versions including Russian, Hungarian, Portuguese, Mandarin and Japanese. Videos are used to show areas of the Abbey which are not accessible to the public at all times.
A February 2009 CNN article on London museum says "At Westminster Abbey, the excellent, new audio is narrated by Jeremy Irons"
„I want to emphasize the service provided by Acoustiguide GmbH during our many years of cooperation and the carefully selected staff, who obligingly attend to the museum visitors and collaborate with the supervisory personnel commendably.”
Dirk Burghardt, Commercial Director
Acoustiguide GmbH, the German subsidiary of the Espro Acoustiguide Group, has been the provider of audio tours at Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) since 2009.
Acoustiguide GmbH provides over 1,400 Opus players with more than 250 hours of content in up to 15 languages at the different museums of the State Collection. One of the highlights is the tour with Saxon accent at the Historic Green Vault. Besides adult tours, children can enjoy a special tour at the Historic and New Green Vault.
The latest Acoustiguide App which was launched for the State Collection is “Kunst4Kids”. This app was developed especially for school kids and is now available at the Albertinum on iPods and on iTunes. Click here for the app.
The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden is among the most renowned and oldest museum institutions in the world. It emerged from the aristocratic collections in the 16th century and celebrated its 450th anniversary in 2010.