A Covid friendly solution for visitor attractions, and a game changer for learning and education 


The following article and Q & A has been written to highlight the educational, entertainment and commercial opportunities available to institutions and businesses by utilising interactive audio guides and narrators.

Introduction

The target for any company producing educational content is for the user not to realise they are learning.

We are already seeing children interacting with devices such as Siri and Alexa as early as 3 years old. They use simple sentences and understand the mechanics in a short space of time. 

Computers are getting smarter and more human-like, so it makes complete sense to communicate with them the same way we communicate with humans; by talking. 

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Voice recognition is labelled as ‘new technology’ but talking is ancient technology for humans. Talking to computers enables access to information in the simplest way possible. Voice recognition based interactions don’t need the same learning curve, as we’ve already redefined this process as children.




Q & A with Eric Marradi, founder, Spoken Adventures 

 

How do interactive audio guides work?

Much like Amazon’s Alexa, users have an enhanced two way dialogue with an audio guide, via an app, asking and answering questions enabling them to create their own unique journey or experience. The application is compatible with all IOS and Android devices, and is geo-localised using Bluetooth beacons that triggers an audio narrative according to visitors’ position or by naming legends within print material such as books, brochures or posters.

 

What are the benefits of interactive audio guides?

 

We are currently talking to and working with a number of visitor attractions and book publishers. When I talk to museums, it’s clear that they are on a mission to be up to date when it comes to new technology utilising podcasts, VR and augmented reality. These are all interesting marketing tactics, but also short term in comparison to a long term installation that offers enhanced learning, and a longer standing commercial benefit. 

 

They already know the benefits of using traditional audio guides as an upsell for tickets, because they know how audio guides work, they also know how Siri and Alexa works. But if you put them together, it’s easy for them to make a simple calculation to see the experiential benefits within and outside of the museum. 

 

We work with businesses to help them realise varying commercial models. For example, if you sell a map or brochure at a museum or exhibit, with the name of the paintings or installations, you can also include interactive audio functionality within these, and monetise it; visitors buy the map, the map is the audio guide, the app is free, but you need to purchase map to interact with it. If you take the map home, the journey and brand experience doesn’t just end at the location.

 

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What is the benefit to the customer?

 

At the very beginning, we had a revelation, we discovered that more often than not people remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear and unbelievably 70% of what they say. The conclusion was obvious, if you can get the users to interact with a location or what they read using their voice, there will be accelerated learning and the formation of attention in their memory will be much higher.



Examples of where this is happening

 

There is an interesting trend in Quebec, for example one of our partners https://defi-evasion.com/en/ is an escape game company that sees themselves as a cultural company, as they only deliver escape games in real life locations. The games themselves tell the story of the location. You play with your friends and the escape game is centred around the story of the actual location such as a prison, where you enter the prison, play the role of a  prisoner, and have to escape, and to assist this experience you can interact with clues, puzzles and games that all relate to the story of the prison which is a historical monument. This works, because it provides a fine line between amusement and educating visitors whilst having fun.


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Extending the brand experience beyond physical locations

 

We all have the same challenge of developing digital content and it can be a challenge to sell. That’s why we developed a business model that also enables physical material to be played. For example, we are currently working with a fantasy role play book publisher, and also the city of Montreal, developing interactive posters. Children can explore the posters of the city that include audio capsules such as songs and quizzes to educate them about the city, it’s history and attractions. The sky's the limit when it comes to content. 

 

First and foremost, this gets kids away from a screen, granted, they are using their device, but with their voice, whilst also looking at a book, a poster, an image and everything else is overlaid by their imagination.



What do you deliver and how is this realised? 

 

We do a responsibility matrix (who does what), we collaborate with experts, i.e. scientists and historians. We co-write the narrative and in some instances, the game/narrative design. It’s crucial this is done in collaboration with the experts. They tell us what the content is, what they want it to be, and we advise on how we package it to become interactive  and engaging alongside the delivery format, audio production, casting, recording, mixing, integration, design and music composition. We deliver the whole audio package.



Is this technology accessible? 

 

We are open when it comes to budgets, most of our clients are open to a discussion around revenue share, this could be a licence, and any costs incurred are generally for the time needed to collaborate and some production. For example if an attraction decides to put a price point on an experience, and sell maybe a printed visit with amplified reality. After an initial assessment and calculations, we can potentially agree to a revenue share model, which makes the experience very accessible, they can deploy new technology, provide a new experience, educate an audience and at the same time it can be delivered at a relatively low cost.


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How can you help a location based operator or book publisher imagine what an idea and opportunity will look like?

 

We have all the software to quickly create a prototype with simple interactions. We always like clients to experience interactions as the end user, and most of the time we can provide something on a first or second meeting. We want them to try it, and it’s amazing how quickly ideas develop from there.



Interview by Paul Stancheris, founder, Do Something Digital



Summary

 

When it comes to education, It’s been proven that interactivity can significantly increase learning and retention of information, and that voice interaction gets even better results. The simple gesture of talking, asking or answering a question stimulates our brain in such a way that it increases the learning process.

 

I recently bought a new computer, and within seconds of booting it up, it talked to me, in fact the whole setup was entirely voice controlled. I was amazed, I didn't even know about this. And it made me think, if tech leaders such as Google, Amazon & Apple are already doing this, why aren’t educational establishments and businesses also adopting this approach?

 

If your goal is to educate and entertain your audience, or you have plans to enhance an attraction, or product, and would like to demo, or experience a simple prototype tailored to your brand, we’d love to hear from you. 



Contact

 

Europe: Do Something Digital 

Rest of the World: Spoken Adventures