Objectives of the service
Tourists are getting more and more tech savvy, and expect to be able to use their smart-phones and tablets to both plan their journeys and get information while on site.
In the Geoaudio concept information and interpretation is delivered to visitors in-situ through a mobile app installed on their personal smart phones. This format is both convenient and appealing to the target segments satisfying the consumer demand for innovative technology that enhances their visitor experience and provides learning opportunities in an experiential environment. Geoaudio creates an immersive world around the user that is both spontaneous and enriching and is triggered by nothing more than their changing location.
Users and their needs
The key user/customers are Visit County Durham (VCD), the destination management organisation for Durham. They work closely with VisitEngland / VisitBritain and a wide range of public and private sector partners and tourism businesses, both in Durham and across England, to grow the county’s visitor economy. The North Pennines AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) / UNESCO Global Geopark is a key protected landscapes in the county and is a notable areas for outdoor activities such as walking backed with strong historical and geological interests.
To ensure the county stays competitive in a crowded global marketplace it needs to focus on tourism development and marketing projects that will appeal to ‘the visitor of the future’ in particular the ‘millennial mind-set’ consumer. Recent research from VisitEngland / VisitBritain identifies two target market segments to which the Durham destination offer would appeal:
35-55 yrs old
Defining attitudes & traits:
Active and love adventure
Curious – want to learn
Keen to get off the beaten track
25-39 yrs old
Defining attitudes & traits:
Independent, adventurous, busy
Interested in learning about and experiencing other cultures
Influential – key advocacy group
UK initially but there is potential for customers in Europe and other global markets
Service/ system concept
Geoaudio includes a backend service, a frontend web page and a mobile application. The backend service design is based on a REST architecture and provides the necessary data to reproduce the audio in the required location and define the way it will be played.
The system is designed so that Geoaudio can operate when the user has no mobile phone reception assuming they have previously download the application required for their chosen location.
The service is managed by a web page designed for system administrators/content producers. From the web page it is possible to upload audio files, set audio points and manage users.
Space Added Value
Using GNSS technologies and hi fidelity audio, Geoaudio creates an immersive world around the user that is both spontaneous and enriching and is triggered by nothing more than their changing location.
The GNSS capability of modern smart phones allows Geoaudio to trigger audio segments at precise points located in an outdoor tourist attraction. By focusing on this simple scope the system avoids the need for dedicated infrastructure or bespoke mobile devices.
In conjunction with local partners Visit County Durham and the North Pennines AONB Partnership, Imperative Space have created a Geoaudio Geotrail in Upper Teesdale that allows users to explore the rich geological and cultural heritage around the Durham dales. A second Geotrail at Ashes Quarry is in preparation to give users the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Weardale quarrymen.
User feedback will guide future Geoaudio development and support the plan for Deimos and Imperative Space to move from the demonstration phase to the launch of a commercial Geoaudio application.