Wireless Transmitter Offers Live Guides New Audio Options

Did you know that you can supplement your live guided tours with pre-recorded commentary or music using your existing ieXplore Tour Guide System’s wireless transmitter?

Standard Process, Inc. is one of our clients that has done just that!

Standard Process Delivers Great Tours

Standard Process’s manufacturing facility is located in Palmyra, Wisconsin. They provide high-quality dietary supplements through health care professionals.

Visitors can take an in-depth tour of their facility. Visitors learn how extracts are made, view the chemistry laboratories, and watch mixed batches converted into tablets and capsules.

Walking tours of the organically certified farm are also available (weather and season permitting).

Blended Commentary – Live Guide and Pre-recorded Audio

During their informative tours Standard Processing delivers pre-recorded audio using our handheld audio guide that accompanies their live tour guide.

The live tour guide uses a wireless transmitter and head-worn microphone to communicate with visitors over manufacturing background noise clearly even if visitors are in the back of the group.

At tour stops (tour stations), the tour the guide plays audio tracks from their audio guide and all members of the tour can hear it.

This is what Karren Jeske, their Communications Manager has to say about this solution:

Our tour guides and tour helpers have high praise for the new system and its ease of use. Our administrative assistant loves it, too, because it’s much easier for her to get everything ready for our tours.”

…the tour guide can control the content for them. We’re finding that our guests can also pay more attention to the processes shown…

Two Audio Sources on Wireless Transmitter for Plant Tours

The AUX IN “input” on our wireless transmitter is what makes this possible.

Using a 3.5mm male to male cable you can connect the output of most MP3 players directly into the AUX IN on the side of our wireless transmitter. You can also use most devices that output audio as long as the input cable to the wireless transmitter is a 3.5mm jack. For example, you could plug one end into a standard headphone jack of a tablet, smartphone, or an iPod Touch and the other end to the AUX IN on the wireless transmitter.

Wireless transmitter connected to iPhone using cable for audio tours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can provide your guests with pre-recorded audio commentary or music whenever you like. Pre-recorded commentary is a great way to ensure a high quality, consistent tour experience. This gives your tour guides the opportunity to focus more on ensuring groups stay together, observing safety hazards, and fielding questions.

Expanding Again With New Office Location

It’s been another busy year at AudioConexus and we’re grateful to everyone who has trusted us with your vision, your goals and objectives for providing better visitor experiences.

Thank you!

As our company continues to grow we’re expanding again and moving our location to accommodate our growth. But we’re not going far! We’re staying here at the historic Woolen Mill on Kingston’s inner harbour, moving to the second floor.

We will close our office Monday, September 15th at 5:00pm to begin the moving process, re-opening our doors on Wednesday, September 17th at 9:00am.

However, if you need anything on Tuesday many of our team members will be working from home.

Our business, including our website and email will be fully operational during the moving process and you will not experience any changes or delays in service.

However, there may be a short disruption to our phone services during this time as we move our network and phone equipment.

Please update your records with our new contact information:

Our New Address

AudioConexus Inc.
4 Cataraqui Street, Suite 217
Kingston, Ontario
K7K 1Z7

Our other contact information will remain the same.

Thank you very much for taking the time to update your records. Please feel free to contact us at +1 (613) 507-1300 with any questions.

Tour Guide System Quick Start Guide

If you’ve purchased a tour guide system from us chances are you were up and running with your live guides and groups with very little effort.

However, before you got started on your first tour you more than likely had to read the user manual.

User Manuals are great for learning more about our tour guide system but lately, we’ve found that some of our clients are sending new team members into the field with no hands-on experience with the system. So we needed to create a simple training aid that helps our clients and new users quickly learn how to use a tour guide system in an office or on a factory floor.

Tour Guide System Quick Start Guide

From this point forward, all tour guide system orders will include our new Quick Start Guide illustrated below.

Tour Guide System Quick Start Guide - AudioConexus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’d like this guide now, click here for an Adobe PDF of our Tour Guide System Quick Start Guide. This guide is designed to print on 8.5 x 11 paper.

Tour Guide System Summary

The system supports up to 8 live guides and groups working side-by-side. Powered by standard AA or rechargeable batteries, our portable tour guide system is easy to transport and includes three different models of intelligent trickle chargers. Charging cases are available in 12, 36, and 50 unit configurations.

Our tour guide system offers you a wireless group guiding system designed for guided tours, assistive listening and language interpretation. Our wireless mic systems are used for a variety of applications including manufacturing plant tours, walking tours, Segway tours, bus and boat tours and most recently, eBike tours in Europe.  Also used for language interpretation and assistive listening, tour guide systems include a variety of listening accessories to meet your needs. Contact AudioConexus for more information.

Adding Music to Your GPS Tour System

Making Your GPS Tour System Musical

Music says more than a million words about the culture that it is created in. The rhythm and the lyrics can truly set the mood for a GPS tour. This article will guide you through adding music to your TourMaster Lite GPS tour system that can play between the stories on your tour, allowing it to take on a life of its’ own and upgrading your tour from Great to Extraordinary!

Verifying Your Audio Files

To begin, we need to understand the format of the music.

Let’s start by making sure your music files are in the correct format and bit rate.

First, open Windows Explorer. To open Windows Explorer, click Start and click All Programs. Click the Accessories button, and then click Windows Explorer.

Find the folder where your music files are stored. Double Click the folder to view your music files.

Using your mouse, right click one of your music files and select “Properties”.

Anne Frank Audio File - AudioConexus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the General Tab at the top of the screen, ensure that the Type of file is .mp3 as seen below.

Type of File - AudioConexus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click the Details Tab at the top of the screen. Look for Bit Rate under this new tab. The number beside this should be 128kbps.


Anne Frank Bitrate - AudioConexus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your music file is not in the right format for the TourMaster Lite, you will need to convert your audio file to the correct format or bitrate. To do this, we recommend using a free audio converter “Switch Audio File Converter”. You can get this free audio converter here:

http://www.nch.com.au/switch/index.html

Please note that AudioConexus, Inc. is not associated with NCH and is not responsible for any third party software you may use to convert your audio file(s).

Loading Your Music Files

Now that you’ve verified that your audio files are in the correct format, you can proceed to moving them onto your TourMaster Lite Head End.

Connect your computer to the TourMaster Lite GPS tour system. The TourMaster Lite will act like a hard drive that you computer can open. Now we can look at the file structure. Here’s a step by step list how to accomplish this task:

Uploading Content to TourMaster - AudioConexus

Position your Laptop computer near the TourMaster Lite Head End System.

Power your laptop on and wait until it has completed booting-up.
Start the Vehicle (Bus, Boat) so the vehicle’s batteries do not get run-down.

Power the TourMaster Lite GPS tour system on at the Driver’s Control Panel using the Power On button and wait until the Control Panel is displaying the first route and segment.

Connect your laptop to the TourMaster Lite using the USB A/B cable. Within a few seconds; your laptop should see the TourMaster Lite as an external drive such as “TourMaster Lite (E:)”.

You will find the TourMaster Lite listed under the “My Computer” Icon, along with drives C:, D:, etcetera. The Driver’s Control Panel will display “USB CONNECTED” whenever a link exists between your laptop and the TourMaster Lite.

If your laptop does not see the TourMaster Lite within 30 seconds; unplug either end of the USB AB cable, wait 10 seconds, then reconnect the cable.

Now that is says USB CONNECTED on the Driver Control Panel – you can view the file folders on the TourMaster Lite. To view these files on your laptop, ensure you have the TourMaster Lite selected as your hard drive.

You will see file folders on the TourMaster Lite drive. The only file folder you need to use is the file folder titled “MUSIC”.

*This is the only folder you will ever directly transfer files into from your computer. All other content is uploaded using RouteBuilder Software*

Now move your files over:

  1. Double click on the TourMaster Lite drive, then double click “MUSIC” folder to open it.
  2. Copy and paste the desired MP3 files from your laptop directly into the “MUSIC” folder located within the TourMaster Lite drive.
  3. Confirm your files are now in the “MUSIC” folder on your TourMaster Lite drive.
  4. Exit Windows Explorer.
  5. Disconnect your laptop from the TourMaster Lite by using the “Safe Disconnect” Icon on the laptop. Select “Eject”.

Eject - AudioConexus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re now done! Your music will now play between your commentaries.

Some Things to Keep in Mind

  • Pick music that fits the entire theme of your tour because the sequence of music files that play on the TourMaster Lite are random. What this means is, music files are played randomly, not sequentially.
  • If you wish to play specific music pieces with specific points of interest you can add a GPS trigger in the RouteBuilder Software near your point of interest instead. Your GPS tour system will automatically play music just like your tour commentaries – at the right place, at the right time.
  • For more information on how to add music between tour commentaries refer to your Routebuilder Software User Manual or contact our support team at +1 (613) 507-1300 or by email at support@audioconexus or keep a look out for our upcoming blog post on adding music on your route using Routebuilder!

Learning How Our Warranty Works

Have you ever read a warranty document? I’ve read a few in my time. Normally filled with legal language and disclaimers, most people simply brush them aside as the last pages of a manual or throw a printed copy of the warranty right into a file folder or recycling bin.

Warranties are important however and not just for the company that issues them. AudioConexus provides one and two year manufacturers’ warranties on our products (depending on the product). What does that mean? And how does it help you?

Our warranties are more than printed ink on recycled paper. We stand behind our warranties. So that means we will support you completely through any problems or issues you may have. While we don’t have many warranty related issues, murphy’s law, there is always a chance that you are the person that needs our help. So what is the process for a warranty related issue? Well, I’m hoping to simplify that for you today.

Warranties are for your protection and assurance – as our client – that everything is going to work well for you. If a product doesn’t work due to a manufacturer’s defect within one year of purchase, we will replace or repair that unit for you right away. If you want to call our technical department to ask questions about your product, we’re here to help. The technical department is set up as a client-facing department. We actively answer questions, provide training and solve problems. We also work diligently with you to uncover the root of a problem so it doesn’t occur again.

To help guide you through our warranty process, we have the following procedure in place. It all starts with a phone call or an email. Please call us at 613-507-1300. Our department extension is 107. Or you can email us at support@audioconexus.com.

Emailing to our support@ address will begin a “Trouble Ticket” in our help desk system. Alternatively, if you’ve already been introduced to our new AudioConexus Help Desk system, you can login to input a help ticket directly.

When we receive your support ticket, we’ll contact you by email (we receive tickets for a variety of requests including user manuals and software training). If you are experiencing a problem, we’ll ask for additional details about the symptoms of your problem. This step may also involve a phone call so we can ask questions or suggest simple solutions, but often pictures of the unit in question will help us as well. If we determine there is a fault with the product, we will immediately issue an RMA number. (Return Merchandise Authorization Number).

Using this number, please ship the unit back to our AudioConexus Head Office address. Please ensure that your RMA Number is noted on the package. When the package arrives at AudioConexus, we will run diagnostics tests on your unit following a rigid Quality Assurance checklist. During this QC process, we will determine if the problem falls under your warranty plan. If your product falls under warranty, we will either repair or replace your product with a new one and ship it back to you at our cost. If the issue does not fall under warranty repair or replacement, we will notify you and provide you with a quote for replacement or repair.

Once your product is repaired or replaced, we ship it back to you. When your unit has arrived back at your location, we ask that you contact us by phone or by email. This is because we will support you in reinstalling or setting up the new/replaced unit so you are fully operational again.

By using our Help Desk system, we’ll catch problems that can be resolved quickly. Often, products do not have to be shipped back to us because we can help you resolve the problem by email, over the phone, or by using TeamViewer. We recommend that we support you before a unit is shipped to us. When we have the opportunity to be involved early on we often find that products may not actually be defective or damaged. We’ve encountered problems such as batteries, loose or disconnected cables, changed system settings, etc. But that’s why we’re here. Client care is really important to us.  So if you have a question please call or email us.

Download our latest eBook: Public Address System Integration – What You Need to Know

If you have any comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Tour Bus GPS Systems and Duplicate Routes Feature

New Tour Bus GPS Systems Feature

In the most recent update of Route Builder software we’ve included a “Duplicate Route” feature. Using this feature, you can now duplicate your tour bus GPS systems waypoints using our online mapping interface.

So why would you want to duplicate the your tour bus route? Some of our clients run very similar routes for different tours. For example, we are often asked to write and produce multilingual commentary for daytime and nighttime tours. While some of the daytime commentary is used on nightly sightseeing tours there are segments of audio that are added to enhance the nighttime sightseeing experience.

Using the duplicate route feature, you can now duplicate your route, its GPS waypoints, and your multilingual audio tours.  Next, simply name your new route and add any new commentary associated with your new tour. There is no need to rebuild your second sightseeing route from scratch making this new feature a valuable time saver.

Once your new route is updated your drivers will be able to select your new tour from the Driver Control Panel. You can assign which route appears a the beginning of your day and quickly and easily change tour routes in seconds.

 

 

Audio Tour Script Writing, 10 Tips For a Better Script

Audio Tour Script Writing - Top 10 Tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to write a killer audio tour script? It’s more than just the basics. Like writing about history, facts and figures. You do need history, but being really great at history writing doesn’t mean you’ll write a great audio tour. You need to be a storyteller. And an aficionado of sound. Audio tour writers are highly skilled at their craft and know how to bring the success that you want.

Here are 10 tips you can use to write a great script.

Tip #1: Focus on Story, Not Facts and Figures

When writing a script for an audio tour it’s hard to avoid facts and figures. But facts and figures bore people most of the time. Focus on sharing stories the way you’d like to hear them. Use dates, figures and facts sparingly.

Tip #2: The Three e’s: Engaging. Educational. Entertaining.

Really good stories are the best way to engage, educate and entertain an audience. Famed author Studs Terkel said “People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being.” Stories have the power to inspire. Write for head and heart and you’ll find your stories are transformed into more memorable tours.

Tip #3: Pick a Theme

While picking a theme for your tour may seem difficult at first glance, it’s essential for storytelling. A theme gives purpose to your stories. When developing a theme ask questions like “what do our stories mean to our visitors? How are we connecting with listeners emotionally? Theme is what your stories are about. It’s what makes people think, feel and remember your stories. It’s the focus of your message and your tour.

Tip #4: Make People Care

When storytelling, write stories people care about. Heard of Ted Talks? Watch Andrew Stanton’s talk, The Clues to a Great Story. He says “make me care… please, emotionally, intellectually, aesthetically, please just make me care.”

Most of us are in the business of creating fun but that doesn’t mean you can’t make people care. By writing for the head and heart you’ll create a narrative that makes people feel good about your tour. Use stories to inform and educate, but also work to uncover compelling stories that connect visitors to your unique destination in meaningful ways.

Tip #5: Don’t Go On and On

If you go on for too long, visitors will tune you out. Keep your audio tour segments below 2 minutes and more often than not – write for 90 seconds for each point of interest. There are exceptions to the rule. But if you try to keep your stories shorter, your guests will enjoy a better tour experience.

Tip #6: Work at it

The process of writing a great script includes rewriting and editing (and editing and editing). When writing a tour script get your ideas on the page. Since a first draft usually isn’t very good, rewriting gives you the opportunity to make all the fixes you need. Pull apart the stories you like by asking yourself if your audience will appreciate them.

Tip #7: Make a Point

Make sure you have a point to your story. There needs to be a reason for sharing your stories and a point of view. When you don’t have a point your stories are less engaging. For example, one of our client’s sightseeing tours in an exploration of the ocean. They’ve been investing locally by building artificial reefs to enlarge overall population numbers of species present in their local area. They believe in and are committed to conservation by rebuilding natural habitats. This is their point. And a big part of their story.

Tip #8: Use Small Words

Our rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Don’t use big words like pontificate or conviviality. Make sure the words you use are easily understood by your audience. Remember, your guests don’t have time to reference a dictionary or thesaurus. They want to escape and have fun while learning something new.

Tip #9: Have Great Conversations

Imagine you’re in a casual setting sharing your best stories with a friend about a recent trip you’ve had. You’re friendly, warm, fun and personal. This is the relationship you want between narrator and listener. To be memorable, narrators need to be able to share your stories like a great conversation.

Tip #10: Think About Sound

When writing an audio tour script think about how sound will enhance your tours? Our writers make production notes in the body of their scripts. They close their eyes and imagine a pregnant pause, the sound of a cannon firing or a jazzy musical piece that fits into their scripts. Audio tour writers consider the opportunity to create emotional responses from music. And they write to create tempo.

When writing for a sightseeing tour, your natural tendency may be to write as many words as you can because there’s so much to say. When this happens there’s no room for dramatic pauses and sound effects (or musical tails that fade in and fade out). Create opportunities for sound by rewriting, editing, or moving your copy around. Keep reading your tour aloud until you’ve got your words just right.

Writing a Great Audio Tour Experience

It requires expertise, experience and writing for the ear know-how to write a great audio tour script. But if you’re venturing into script writing these tips will help you get started. But they only scratch the surface. If you’re writing a tour script we recommend working with an experienced audio tour writer to help you rewrite and edit your work. This is how your hard work will shine through.

Boston Duck Tours Entertains Foreign Language Travellers

Boston Duck Tours Foreign Language Services

Boston Opens its Doors to the World

Boston Duck Tours voted by Boston Magazine as “Best of Boston” in the city tour category, and voted Boston.com’s “Best City Tour” continues its leadership role in tourism by adding several new foreign language tours for visiting travellers and locals alike.

As one of Boston’s must-do experiences, foreign language visitors will receive historical, educational and fun tour commentaries triggered by our GPS commentary systems at key locations throughout the city (on land and on the water) in several languages.

Direct Flights from China

Most recently, Boston Ducks appeared in The Wang Post, (Boston Welcomes Tourists from China with Direct Flight) as Boston prepares for inbound visitation from China. New direct flights from Beijing to Boston means Mandarin speaking travellers will experience sightseeing in their own language.

“Boston Duck Tours is a highly unique sightseeing operator that offers the very best of Boston delivered by people who sincerely care about delivering memorable tour experiences”, said Jonathan Stanley, President & CEO of AudioConexus Inc. “At Boston Ducks, the passenger experience comes first and it shines through on every ride.”

Tours are provided in Spanish, German, French, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese and Portuguese.

How to Connect Your Public Address System to a Commentary System

If you’ve ever stood over a Public Address System with connections and wires and didn’t know where to begin – this guide is for you.

This guide is designed to assist you in connecting our commentary systems to your PA Systems. With many organizations coming to us for assistance with PA System integration, we quickly realized there was a need for more information regarding how to identify and solve audio problems with PA Systems. This guide summarizes two methods of integration. While we do not sell PA Systems, we’re hoping this guide will assist you.

In this Public Address System guide we cover:

  • Sound Outputs
  • Connectors
  • Jacks
  • Components (Sources, Amplifiers, Mixers, Audio Duckers, Line Level Converters, etc.)
  • How to Connect your Systems

Working with Public Address Systems

Integration of AudioConexus GPS commentary systems with PA systems of various brands can often be a confusing ordeal. This guide is designed to give you a basic understanding of sound levels, connectors, equipment, and how they all work together.

“AudioConexus GPS commentary systems can be connected to your audio or PA system using one of two methods. The main difference between the two methods is how you would like your driver to change the language played over your PA system.”

Public Address System Integration - What You Need to Know?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download our free eBook Public Address System Integration – What You Need to Know

Installing Multi-language GPS Systems into Historic Trolleys with Wooden Slat Seating

Improving Multi-language GPS Installations on Historic Trolleys

In the midst of another busy season at AudioConexus, the technical and installations team is always looking ahead and putting serious thought into how we improve our multi-language GPS systems and methods of installation. We put customer satisfaction first and we’re always looking for ways to do more than expected to overcome the next challenge that dares put itself in our way.

One of these challenges we’ve faced is the construction of bench slat seats on trolleys. When taking a sightseeing tour on a trolley through a historic and iconic city, wooden bench seating adds to the character of the trolley and of the tour. There is nothing quite like the texture and the beautiful shine of well-kept, polished wood. The wood itself seems to add legitimacy in and of itself to any classic tour vehicle, be it a tram, trolley or boat.

Wooden Slat Trolley Bench

The challenge in installing hubs and audio controllers into wooden slat seats is hiding wires so that passengers don’t see exposed wiring while touring. That’s why companies mount audio controllers on the sidewalls of trolleys and buses. The challenge of putting audio controllers in front of people is too much work. But we see the passenger experience differently. Putting audio controllers in front of people is an important part of making tours better.

Kingston Trolley Moves From GPS Triggered English to Multilingual Tours

We had the wonderful opportunity to work with Kingston Trolley Tours again this year. Last year, we installed single language GPS commentary systems on their trolleys. This year, we were tasked with removing these systems to install multi-language GPS systems to provide better services for foreign language travellers. In trolleys with wooden slat seating, the easiest approach to the installation of our hardware is on the sidewall of the vehicle. We could hide wires and give Kingston Trolley’s customers access to multilingual tour entertainment on the system.

Redefining The Wooden Bench Seat Installation

As we were talking about the upcoming trolley installation, I really wanted to take a different approach to how these installations get done. Then an idea came to me through a series of small steady steps. The seats themselves had a horizontal wooden slat on the very top. And this was the right height for people to interact with the audio controllers in front of them. Since the seats are made of wood, why couldn’t we customize the way audio controllers get installed? So I asked myself, if we change the design of the top wooden slat, could we accommodate wiring and audio controllers?

This line of thinking soon brought me to the people responsible for maintaining and refurbishing these wooden benches – Jeff Eggert and E.Coating Solutions in our hometown of Kingston, Ontario. I approached Jeff with my idea and we began working hand-in-hand to turn an idea into something tangible. Working within our budget, Jeff worked with our mutual client to procure some beautiful old wooden boards from a historic boat owned by Kingston Thousand Island Cruises. These boards were sanded and prepared into our first prototype.

Kingston Trolley Wooden Bench Work by AudioConexus

After a few visits and some modifications and new fittings, we believed that we had the end product that was perfect for this installation – seat-caps that would support the wiring of audio controllers and even custom wooden conduit to run the length of the trolley to hide the wiring.

Taking Small Steps Leads to Big Changes

When the new caps were fitted and in place, our team went to work. Over the next few days we worked to get all of the electronics neat and in place.

When the installation was finished, we took our wrap-up pictures and shared our installation success with our team. Kingston Trolley, who had originally expected to see audio controllers on the sides of walls embraced our ideas and were really happy with the end result.

Audio Controllers for Multi-language System on Custom Made Trolley Bench

The way we conduct our work is directly linked to our core values - one of which is “embrace small causes”. To become better, it’s often about taking smaller steps and re-examining how things get done. By making small changes to how we install multi-language GPS systems into wooden benches on trolleys we’ve made the passenger experience better. And that’s what it’s all about.