AudioConexus has developed a unique solution for triggering RF audio guides by creating a Captain Control Panel. The panel was designed for a sightseeing operator offering sailing charters. Here is a description of our client’s problem and how our technical team solved it for a successful project outcome.
The Problem – Audio Guides for Tours On and Off Boats
We were asked to solve the problem of providing multilingual “automated” audio guide tours on catamarans (on and off vessels).
Our client wanted a solution that enabled their staff to automatically trigger audio tours in 8 languages at the same time. Once the sightseeing tour was over, (in the future) passengers could then step off their vessels and continue their audio tour experience on foot.
This provided our client with the flexibility to create and offer walking tours at a later date.
The Solution – Automated Captain Control Panel
While our GPS commentary systems met the first requirement, they didn’t meet the second – audio guides for walking tours “off the boats”. We knew RF audio guides had the range we required for automatic triggering, but these audio guides only triggered audio commentaries one way – when visitors approached RF beacons from specific predefined distances.
Since catamarans are constantly moving, (and we couldn’t install RF beacons in the ocean), we had to put the control of automatic triggering into the hands of the staff themselves.
To solve this problem, we designed and built an interface for staff, a marine grade “manual play” RF Control Panel shown in the photo below. This control panel was mounted close to the captains, connected to several “RF” triggers hidden in a small weatherproof enclosure on the vessels.
Captains or staff simply have to press play on the panel and audio automatically plays on the audio guides (in several languages simultaneously).
Once the segment of commentary has concluded, the control panel auto-advances to the next segment of audio. To deliver a tour, a staff member presses play, followed by “play” for the next segment. They can also select a specific segment of commentary by pressing the “Advance” or “Back” buttons on the front of the panel. Commentary segments are displayed numerically on a LCD display, making it easy for people to play the commentary segments they want, when they want to.
Now, audio tours are automatically played on catamarans with the added flexibility of providing audio tours off the vessels at a later date.
The Result – Project Success
The first automated audio guide experience for vessels that use an easy to use Control Panel interface for staff. Audio guides can be used on and off the vessels. And the staff love the flexibility the system provides them.
The collection and distribution of audio guides happens on the vessels themselves. As part of the project requirements, we installed a security solution on a set of stairs leading from the dock to the vessels. What this means is, when people disembark, if they have mistakenly left an audio guide in a pocket or a bag, this will alert staff that an audio guide is leaving the catamaran. This security feature prevents equipment from being lost.
The summary of features includes:
- Allows remote triggering of audio guides
- Water-resistant Control Panel
- Discreet Installation
- Adjustable trigger range from 5M-30M (15ft – 100ft)
- Professionally designed electronic components
- Scalability for number of RF triggers
- Automatic track advancement – Just press Play!