What is uGuideMe™?
uGuideMe is a mobile phone application which allows users to download and use multimedia-enriched guides of worldwide attractions onto Smartphones like the iPhone®. uGuideMe is not simply an application, but rather a software platform that hosts Guides created by our Partners through our web based content management software (CMS). Although not open source, uGuideMe is built around an open software architecture which allows developers the ability to have their Guides interface directly with their existing web software via the use of embedded hyperlinks and streaming media, or to be completely self contained such that all media is embedded within the Guide. This design flexibility provides the tailored feel of a customized application but requires minimal maintenance and can be updated in real time. Although it is envisioned that uGuideMe will be used primarily by Smartphone owners on their own devices, uGuideMe can also be distributed to all attraction visitors via hardware purchase / lease. While the initial launch of uGuideMe targets the iPhone and iTouch, later versions will target other mobile platforms including Blackberry, Google, Palm, etc.
How’s it Work?
uGuideMe Partner Attractions create their own Guides through a simple step-by-step process using our web based CMS, and post them for their patrons. This approach allows our Partner Attractions the flexibility and freedom to design their own “Official Guides” while retaining full control of their own content. We allow members to create as many Guides as they wish and to change them as frequently as they wish (daily if desired). In this way, Partner Attractions can target their audience to provide unique experiences; for example, attraction Guides can target families, repeat visitors, first time visitors, etc. Our philosophy is that it is better to repurpose, or redirect, existing content than to create all new content, especially when there is so much outstanding content readily available.
About the Guide
Unlike many Smartphone applications, uGuideMe is the only application users need to download to have access to all of the Guides in our database. From the perspective of our Partners, this means that they can continually update the content in their guides without having to resubmit to respective application stores, and from a user standpoint, they only have to purchase one application.
uGuideMe is a map centric guide. All of the Guide’s operations are focused around the museum, zoo, or aquarium floor map. When your map is uploaded into the software, it becomes interactive. As a Guide creator, you choose which Points of Interest you’d like to highlight and then attach corresponding media to those points. A single stop can handle multiple media attachments including text, html, image, audio, and video. Besides Map View, uGuideMe also supports a List View which displays all of the Points of Interest in an interactive list. uGuideMe also allows in-guide searches based on key words, services, groups, and categories.
uGuideMe does not use GPS tracking or other means of auto-locating a user’s position (due to the many difficulties this poses), but the application does keep track of the user’s location as they navigate the guide. This is done semi-autonomously with user input. Although the Guide cannot tell the user exactly where they are, the user can provide updates to the Guide as required thus enabling all of the location based services the Guide offers (find nearest restroom, cafe, etc.).
uGuideMe can be run in the same manner as classic audio tours by keying in exhibit identifiers, in a Guided Tour mode by using a subset of the stops in the Guide, or in a manual “explore” mode where patrons can pick and choose what they want to view and when they want to view it. Although uGuideMe is capable of replacing existing handheld guides, uGuideMe was more specifically designed to act as a complement to these guides for your mobile phone visitors.
- Touch screen interface
- Map and List Based Navigation Modes
- Supports multiple maps (floors)
- Tracks user location without need for GPS or cell connectivity
- Guides may be downloaded prior to arrival, or via WiFi or Cell at attraction location
- Once downloaded, requires no cell signal or GPS to operate Guide
- Ability to provide directions, admission times and prices, links to on-line reservation / ticket services, parking, etc.
- Ability to add services such as restrooms, gift shops, atms, food services, parking, etc.
- Ability to add / link gift store coupons, advertising, menus, etc. to service icons
Points of Interest (POI) (waypoints)
- Allows the creation of large numbers of Points of Interest and Services (restrooms, restaurants, gift shops, etc.)
- Allows insertion of Sponsor Pages prior to specific exhibits, shows, wings, etc.
- Ability to attach 4 different media types to each POI
- Text / HTML, Image, Audio / Streaming Audio, Video / Streaming Video
Mobile Excursions is a Smartphone software solution provider to the travel and tourism industry. uGuideMe is our first software product, which will be released in Fall 2009.
For more information about uGuideMe or Mobile Excursions, please contact us at www.mobilexcursions.com.