Q Media: Audio Tour Experts

Delivering your goals, to your visitors, within your budget.

Archive for iPods and other

Q Tours – Q Media’s new iPhone app

Q Media is proud to announce our new iPhone application for Audio Tours Q Tours.   As you probably already know, the mobile device revolution is changing the way we interact with our world;  and now Q Media offers our clients this new technology option.

If you’ve read our blog posts, you know we always say an audio tour has two components — what you’re listening to (the content) and how you’re listening to it (the delivery method).  In the past, the technology standard for audio tours has been audio guides.  These dedicated audio tour devices have many great features and are still an outstanding option for facilities who want to offer a point-of-purchase revenue generating tour or who need advanced features like infrared, GPS, or radio frequency triggering (especially to provide devices for ADA compliance) and quality audio fidelity. However, the expense, staffing, and maintenance required for these devices can be a hindrance for some organizations.

Recently, cell phone distribution has become a popular way for organizations to offer tours. Some of the benefits of this distribution is that a facility no longer needs to invest in dedicated hardware like audio guides nor the maintenance they require.  But setup and monthly service fees to cell phone tour providers can become expensive (especially for large volume tours) and there are still issues at some locations with reception and visitors not wanting to use their minutes to listen to a tour.  Also because cell phones operate at limited sonic bandwidth the audio quality suffers from compression.  Furthermore, in most instances, cell phone tours are often only offered as value added (free to the visitor) tours and not as revenue generating enterprises.

Which leads us to the Q Tours iPhone tour and its many benefits. First, the visitor brings their technology with them so there isn’t any dedicated hardware to purchase and maintain.   Second, pictures and text can be displayed as well as maps to help visitors find their way.  Third, quality audio production can be incorporated into the tour allowing a richer sensory experience than other devices.  Fourth the tour is available to the public 24/7 without the need to have a localized distribution point – visitors can access the tour from any location at your facility as long as cell service or wi-fi is available or download it beforehand.    However, the main benefit is revenue. An iPhone tour can be sold to the public to generate revenue. This technology and distribution method combines all of the best features of audio guides and cell phones by offering a potential revenue stream combined with decreased upfront technology investment.

So how does a  Q Tour generate revenue for the facility?   If your facility qualifies with enough annual attendance Q Media will produce a tour, or host your current tour, as a revenue share Q Tour.*  Once the visitor purchases the tour through our Q Tours iPhone app (either through cell  service or wifi) the revenue is split between Apple, us and you.  Many of you reading this are aware of the way Apple sells applications for the iPhone from its App store — the App is offered via iTunes and a percentage is paid to Apple with the remaining percentage distributed between Q Media and the facility.  The visitor accesses the tour through their iPhone (or iPod Touch) and you receive a percentage of every sale with no equipment to purchase, no staffing required to distribute and collect hardware, no hosting fees or other middle-men costs.  It’s that simple. All we require is that the promotion and marketing of the tour is handled by you to your visitors at your location so they are aware the tour is available.

So look for our Q Tours app to soon be available on Apple’s iPhone App Store.  We are ready create outstanding tours for your guests while reaping the benefits of generating revenue that audio tours traditionally provide.  To find out more on how we can produce and host a Q Tour for you please contact Stasha Boyd or Mike Lutz at Q Media.

*For qualified facilities only.

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Q Media GPS GeoTours

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August 23, 2009 – Q Media has launched a new service offering downloadable GPS audio tours for GPS devices.  GPS devices are becoming a great way for outdoor facilities large and small to offer audio tours to their visitors.  Up to now most choices to provide a GPS tour were based on purchasing expensive hardware that also needed to be distributed to your visitors as well as maintained.  But now with a Q Media GeoTour there’s no need to purchase, distribute or maintain any GPS audio tour equipment to provide a GPS tour:  Visitors download the tour into their own GPS devices such as Garmin or Tom-Tom and then use them to experience the tour.  The tours can also be downloaded to an Ipod or mp3 player, can include pictures and video and be made available for sale too.

“This is a great way for our clients to take advantage of emerging technologies,” said Mike Lutz Vice-President and Technical Director at Q Media. “There are many outdoor locations where traditional audio guide hardware or cell phones aren’t an option because of distribution issues or cell reception.  A Q Media GeoTour can now allow for tours where before it wasn’t easily viable to do so.  Outdoor parks, driving tours, city walking tours – any type of tour that takes place outdoors at the visitor’s own choosing and pace – can all easily be made into a Q Media GeoTour”. 

So for example, let us say Q Media is hired to produce a walking tour of New York City’s Theater District.  After the content for the tour is produced, Q Media would provide the outlet for the tour to the public as a Q Media GeoTour on its website and the visitor would only need to choose the device they want for the download to operate on.  No equipment is necessary for the visitor to sign out and return and the tour stops play automatically when the visitor reaches the programmed GPS waypoints.  

To see an example of a Q Media GeoTour please go to the GPS Tours page on the Q Media website and scroll down to the bottom to see the Q Media produced “Kansas Wetlands and Wildlife” driving tour of Barton County, KS.  In the example there you can read a summary of the tour, see a map of the route, preview the audio files and download the tour into a chosen device (with instructions).  Visitors can also rate the tour and leave comments.

If you have been interested in producing and distributing a GPS based audio tour the time has arrived!  Prices to host a Q Media GeoTour tour start at $89/month for non-Q Media clients and the service is free for any Q Media production client who wishes to have it.  For more information on how Q Media can produce and provide a GPS Audio Tour GeoTour for you please contact Stasha Boyd of Q Media Productions at stasha@qmediaproductions.com.

Audio guides in an iPod world. Are they still relevant?

“Audio guides are dead. Passe. Old news. Too expensive. Too creatively restrictive. Too… too…  yesterday.”
Fantasy of Flight; a unique experience!

Fantasy of Flight; a unique experience!

RUBBISH!

Before I start a non-professional rant, let me make a couple of clear points:

First, audio guides and audio tours are not the same thing. An “audio guide” is a device, an “audio tour” is an experience. You can experience an outstanding audio tour on a number of different devices — e.g. audio guides, cell phones, iPods, pdas — which may or may not have been designed and developed as a way strictly to present an audio tour. An audio guide, on the other hand, is a type of hardware that was designed, developed, and deployed with one purpose in mind, to deliver audio tours to the general public. 

Second, there are two sides to an audio tour (you will see this point made over and over in this blog), “what you’re listening to” and “how you’re listening to it.” An audio guide is simply another “how”, another way to get the “what,” — that is, the message — to the ear of your visitor.

Keeping those two points in mind, the question then becomes, do audio guides still have a place in today’s artistic, historical, and cultural organizations? The answer is “yes” provided that for the individual organization the pluses outweigh the minuses. Read the rest of this entry »