HYVA Nordic Walking Rebrands European Fitness Experience in New York City

HYVA Nordic Walking, a recently launched company located in the heart of New York City’s Central Park, is working hard to reintroduce a popular European sport to a westernized fitness culture here in North America by adding their own unique musical twist.

Nordic Walking Offers Great Exercise

Nordic Walking was created in Finland by a cross country skiing coach as an off season training method for athletes. This method of exercise involves exaggerated swinging of legs and arms, which involves 90% of people’s body muscles. It burns 40% more calories than walking, increases oxygen consumption by 46% and the heart by 10 beats per minute. Today, over 12 million people in Europe participate in this growing sport.

HYVA Nordic Walks was founded by Bill Rosson and his wife Sonja Johansson. On a recent trip to Germany, Bill discovered Nordic walking and immediately saw the fitness benefits. But upon his return to the United States, he found that while it’s very popular in Europe, the opportunities to practice it in New York City were very limited.

European Sport is a Western Opportunity

Only approximately 1 million people in the United States participate in Nordic walking. Rosson saw an opportunity in a niche market that hadn’t really been tapped into and he knew it had huge growth potential. So Bill and Sonja began by researching the U.S. market. What they found was Nordic walking had been branded as an exercise for rehabilitation and the elderly population.

Bill explains, “Over in Europe, nordic walking spans all ages, where here in the United States it has more this geriatric and elderly misconception to it. […] The people who are doing it here are 60-70 years old.” Sonja and Bill decided to take on the challenge of killing this misconception by rebranding Nordic walking as a true fitness tool for people of all ages in North America.

In order to rebrand Nordic walking, Bill and Sonja took a different approach to the traditional European method. Typically, it’s done as a nature walk with set of skinny poles, however, people in the west are so accustomed to being highly stimulated when working out. Many people need music or television. Bill and Sonja recognized this and decided they needed music on their walks to modernize Nordic walking to better fit the way people exercise.

The problem they encountered was bringing music outdoors without disturbing others, while still allowing a leader to communicate cues to their group, often led by the music.

Bringing Music into the Fitness Experience

To solve this issue, HYVA recruited the help of AudioConexus and our wireless group tour solution, HearMe. HearMe allows HYVA’s group leaders the ability to communicate instructions while playing music. Using an auxiliary input on the transmitter, Instructors know how to use music in a group setting while wearing a head worn microphone to provide the instructional information the group needs.

The HearMe’s noise cancelling boom microphone also omits any of the outside environmental noise that New York has to offer. “The system has been really amazing. It’s worked so beautifully. Our concern was because we were in such a high traffic area in the middle of Central Park amongst huge sky scrappers surrounding the park and the environmental noise like traffic and horns and sirens the solution wouldn’t work. There’s a lot going on. My first concern was, are we going to have problems with the channels or need to scan to move frequencies? But we haven’t had any problems at all. The HearMe Tour Guide System has aided HYVA’s mission of rebranding Nordic walking. We are incorporating music into our walks to create a whole new modern form of Nordic walking, a more exciting and a more stimulating one. Without AudioConexus being a medium for the music, we really couldn’t rebrand this here in the States.”

Bill and Sonja named their company HYVA, which means ‘good’. The name originated from the feeling that is achieved through the practice of Nordic walking. “We just want to make people feel really good about doing it. We want people to get outdoors, get out of the gym, and feel the same experience they can share in the gym, but outdoors and in touch with nature.”

Outdoor Fitness in Central Park and Beyond

Groups meet in Central Park every other day and walk along a Bridle Path, a soft surface composite that is easy on the joints. To learn more about Central Park’s fitness programs click here: HYVA nordic walking class description.

HYVA’s goal is to license the program and expand to other cities across the country, either to individuals who want to be certified in the HYVA technique or gyms who wish to run a Nordic walk program. They are currently recording more soundtracks for future walks to help them with the expansion of their business.

We wish them much success!

The Key to Making the BIGGEST Tour Impact on Your Visitors

What may seem mundane and routine for you as a tour operator can actually be a great source of entertainment for your guests.

You know the ins and outs of your tour route, what lays behind the ‘employees only’ door, what happens when all the lights go off at the end of the day and where to go for the best grub experience off the beaten path.

The secret to making an impact on your visitors is to remember this – you have the inside scoop and your visitors desperately want to know what that is?

The best tours incorporate their behind the scenes knowledge and share it with their guests. It’s the insider experience that visitors crave and want to spend their time to get it. When your guests take your tour they want to get to know you. They want to know the ins and outs of the place their visiting. Who doesn’t love feeling like their getting special treatment?

That’s exactly how your guests should feel, like they’re getting the V.I.P. experience with the stories you choose to tell. However brief their time is with you, visitors should leave feeling as though they hit the jack pot.

So what sort of things should you share?

Well, this is the tricky part. Everyone has their icons they can’t ignore – imagine going on a sightseeing tour in Paris and the Eiffel Tower isn’t addressed? It’d seem rather odd and as though you’re missing out on a grand experience. But aside from the icons, it’s the little things that matter too. What do the locals do on a Sunday afternoon? Where do they eat? Where do people go off the guidebooks? Where are the authentic experiences? Where do you explore?

The best way to make your guests feel like they have the inside scoop is to make them feel like a local. Lead people to unplanned experiences – and share with them the very essence of the place you call home. Put yourself in their shoes, if you were a first time visitor what would most intrigue you? What would you, or wouldn’t you, notice immediately?

Don’t give a guidebook tour or an experience someone could get from armchair browsing. Give them that something special, hidden, or off the beaten path by sharing your insider knowledge. Trust us, they’ll thank you for it!

Top 4 Questions to Creating Your Audio Tour Script

After much contemplation, crunching numbers and extensive research, you or your company have finally made the decision to go ahead and create a pre-recorded audio tour. It’s an exciting choice, one you know will push your sightseeing company, plant or museum forward into the market place. But as exciting as the decision is, it can also be overwhelming. Where on earth do you start?

At AudioConexus, we’ve had many clients eager to jump into designing their audio tour and quickly become overwhelmed when they realize they haven’t thought about their scripts overall direction. They don’t have a plan in place so they aren’t quite sure where they want to go or take their guests. In order to write an audio tour, or preferably hire a professional script writer, you’ll need to have some basic direction for your overall script. There should be a vision. The following four questions will help you create your scripts vision and get you planning your audio tour the right way- so you can create irresistible experiences your guests will enjoy time and time again.

#1 What’s Your Audio Tour Script Objective?

Your audio tour script is your creation and it should have an overall objective to it. What is it you’re trying to share with your guests? From every sentence, to every paragraph, segment and story, you should be asking yourself ‘what’s the point? Why should people care about this?’ If you know your objective, it’ll be easier for you to stay on track and share the information people want to hear and care about.

#2 Who Are You Creating This For?

Knowing your audience, as specific as possible, allows you to know how to create the correct tone, pace, and appropriate humour within your script. Consider who you’re sharing your stories with. Is it children, adults, retirees? You should also note where your guests come from. Is it a bustling city like Hong Kong, China? Perhaps a quiet countryside farm in France. Maybe a scorching hot climate like Darwin, Australia. The more you know about who your guest are, and where they come from, the better you’ll be able to create content that is appropriate, sensitive, aware and enjoyable.

#3 What’s the Takeaway?

What do you want your guests to take away from the tour? How do you want your guests to feel? Evoking an emotional response within your guests has a much stronger impact then leaving them exhausted after an influx of facts and figures- which no one really remembers anyways. An emotion however can leave a forceful impact that’ll make your guests eager to share their experiences with others.

#4 Is There a Call to Action?

Requesting your guests to do something following your tour is known as a ‘call to action.’ A call to action can be anything, from cross promoting another tour service you provide to asking your guests to consider their impact on the environment for a greener and more sustainable future. Whatever your call to action is, people enjoy being educated and hearing stories, and providing guests additional thoughts for consideration can help create the takeaway emotion you’ve laid out.

So What’s Next?

If you’re considering writing an audio tour script do you have a goal in mind? If so, we’d like to continue the conversation. We offer free consultations to answer any questions you may have. We’re also writing a free eBook to help organizations write their own scripts. If you’re interested in receiving a copy let us know. W e’ll notify you when it’s ready to download next month.

Colonial Gate 4D Cinema Chooses AudioConexus to Launch World’s First Simultaneous Multi-language Cinema Experience

Colonial Gate 4D Cinema, a new tourism and cultural experience movie theatre in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, proudly presents the short-film The Battle of Santo Domingo in a fully immersive 4D cinema experience. Visitors can enjoy the physical and virtual world of the 1586 walled city invasion of Santo Domingo lead by Sir Francis Drake – the most renowned seaman of the Elizabethan era. The film follows this fearsome pirate as he storms the city and is specifically designed for the 4D cinema platform, presenting itself in nine languages simultaneously.

Established to provide visitors with an introduction to the Colonial City of Santo Domingo, the film shares knowledge of the history, culture and values of the Dominican Republic through world-class technology. Much to their delight, visitors participate in a fully interactive and multi-sensory experience, one that includes a 3D movie with remarkable features such as motion seats, wind, mist, fog, heat and even bubbles!

The audio experience is delivered with AudioConexus digital multilingual commentary systems, which allows visitors to select their preferred language and adjust volume while wearing noise-cancelling headsets. The audio plays seamlessly with the visual presentation in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin or Russian.

Created by a private group of entrepreneurs and investors, the cinemas were designed and built to meet the growing demand of international travellers for foreign language entertainment. The cinemas are also designed to bring new cultural experiences to Santo Domingo, including the distribution of documentaries, short and long films with an initial investment of $100 million Dominican pesos in the tourism sector.

“We’re providing domestic and foreign language visitors to Santo Domingo unforgettable experiences,” said Cristobal Justiniano, President of Colonial Gate 4D Cinema. “We take audiences on an adventure. People dodge cannon balls… avoid being hit by the sharp swords of marauding pirates… fly over the walled city of Santo Domingo… and see the city burn while feeling heat on their faces. Creating this experience in many languages simultaneously has given us a huge advantage, allowing us to deliver world-class entertainment.”

Jonathan Stanley, President and CEO of AudioConexus Inc. enthusiastically adds “Colonial Gate 4D Cinema’s vision for innovation in the tourism industry was a key driver for the collective success of the partners involved in this project. This is an industry first and we’re proud to be a part of it, installing our technology into cinema show control and motion seats. By providing multilingual cinema experiences we’re raising the bar for fun, educational and immersive audio-visual experiences to meet the demand for foreign language experiences by cruise ships, tour operators and international travellers.

The creative collaboration between Colonial Gate 4D Cinemas and AudioConexus Inc., has resulted in an unforgettable and fully immersive 4D experience, not only for domestic visitors to enjoy, but also for travellers from around the world. Now having the luxury to listen and partake in their desired language, visitors can explore Santo Domingo whilst enjoying the foreign language entertainment this culturally rich location now has to offer!

About Colonial Gate 4D Cinema

The Colonial Gate 4D Cinema operates two 4D cinemas located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The cinemas offer visitors to Santo Domingo a 4D audio-visual immersive experience about the history, culture and values of the Dominican Republic in a fun, entertaining and educational way.

Offering greater access to entertainment, especially for foreign language visitors from North America and overseas, the Colonial Gate 4D Cinema includes simultaneous audio in nine languages including English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish for many global travellers to enjoy.


Tillicum Village To Add Language Translation For Asian Visitors

Beginning this May, Chinese and Japanese visitors will be able to use state-of-the-art headsets by AudioConexus to listen to the complete Tillicum Village 25-minute show in either Mandarin Chinese or Japanese languages. A nominal rental fee for the headsets will be charged and the technology will be in place for guests by May 15th.

According to Kevin Clark, President and CEO for Argosy Cruises and Tillicum Village “Our goal is to help encourage our foreign visitors to better understand the Native American art, history, food and culture of our region – and what better way to do so then in their native tongue.” According to Clark, “Between Seattle’s strategic gateway location to Japan and China, and the newly released 10-year travel visa deal with China, growth in Seattle tourism from Asian markets is on the verge of exploding. We want to be ready to accommodate all of our guests.”

Jonathan Stanley, President and CEO of AudioConexus Inc, said “Argosy Cruises is redefining the quality of the storytelling experience their guests receive by providing language interpretation in Japanese and Mandarin. We are thrilled to be a part of Tillicum Village’s vision to topple language barriers in a one-of-a-kind stage performance that is truly unique and entrancing. Storytelling preserves Native American culture and tradition and we’re grateful our technology is being used to connect foreign language travelers to a deeper feeling of interconnectedness during an amazing stage show and performance.”

In 2012 Delta Airlines served just three Asian cities from Seattle, in 2015 that has jumped to six. In addition, beginning this July, Hainan Airlines will have direct routes to Seattle from Beijing. According to Visit Seattle, Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization, the Chinese market is now the fastest-growing and highest-spending tourism market in the world, with the average Chinese traveler spending $6,000 trip.

About Argosy Cruises

Argosy Cruises has been operating in the Puget Sound region since 1949 and has carried more than eight million people. Family-owned and locally operated since its inception, Argosy Cruises offers its guests public tours and private events. Argosy Cruises took over complete operations of Tillicum Village in March 2009. Tillicum Village was founded in 1962 and is the Seattle’s complete Northwest Native American experience, featuring a cruise, salmon bake and Native American storytelling and dance on a 475-acre island.

AudioConexus Set to Open EU Sales and Service Office

AudioConexus Inc., a Tour Entertainment company that provides automated and remotely triggered technology (GPS RF, IR and RFID) as well handheld audio and multimedia interpretation in the global tourism industry has expanded by opening an office in Lisbon, Portugal, providing a strengthened presence in Europe to facilitate business development and service work for its clients in Europe.

“We’re really excited to offer our European clients an EU sales and Service Centre while providing sightseeing companies/tour providers and cultural attractions with innovative and cost effective tour solutions,” said Jonathan Stanley, President & CEO. “Heading up our Lisbon office is Daniel Bilhau, who is set to leverage our expertise in multilingual tour markets. For us, Europe is a strategic market where we will continue to provide high levels of service and support with attractive pricing.”

Doug Humphreys, cofounder and Executive Vice President, Sales said “Our business in Europe is growing exponentially. Opening an EU office enables us to deliver expertise and advice quickly to clients, often sharing the same time zone. By servicing the demand in Europe with local sales, service and support we can better accommodate the multilingual tour market demands far more effectively.”

About AudioConexus

AudioConexus Inc. provides GPS triggered and handheld audio and multimedia interpretation in the global tourism industry. Providing multilingual entertainment, AudioConexus has produced audio tours in more than 30 languages for premier brands around the world. AudioConexus provides thousands of audio tours daily, unique tour experiences about destinations, works of art, objects and exhibits.

AudioConexus is delighted to welcome Daniel Bilhau to represent the company in Europe. Mr. Bilhau is an experienced and respected Media Communications professional based in Lisbon, Portugal. From 2008 – 2013, he worked with AudioConexus, developing clients in Portugal, Spain and Iceland. Daniel currently advices clients on mobile strategies and content.

The EU Office is set to open May 1st, 2015.

Blue Boat Company Features Kids Tours and Pirates! Arrr!

Blue Boat Company, a leading sightseeing company in The Netherlands, is leading the way by welcoming parents and kids looking for fun things to do in Amsterdam. Blue Boat Company has launched the first and only kids tours on the city’s winding canals.

The Children’s cruise began in the Fall of 2014 and has been a big hit (with both parents and kids). The audio tour is GPS triggered and plays on our multi-language commentary systems in Dutch and English.

Kids Tours Create Family Fun

Kids get to learn and explore the real world while hearing good stories in a beautiful setting. Not only are kids engaged in a fun quest, it’s educational too.

Vincent Geljon, Managing Director, Blue Boat Company says “We are very happy with our new kids tours, it’s been a big hit for us. Kids are engaged in their surroundings and really enjoy the new tours.”

Blue Boat Kids Tour GPS Multi-language










Wanted: Freshwater Pirates!

Blue Boat Company Kids Tour Pirates











Are you ready for an exciting adventure on the canals of Amsterdam? Kids get to hop on board Blue Boat Cruises to discover what it means to be a buccaneer! Their quest is to help a cat named Harold who wants to be a pirate. But there’s a big problem. Harold is afraid of the water! How will your kids help Harold to become the pirate he’s always wanted to be?

Jump aboard matey, arrgh and learn how you can help Harold face his fear by becoming a certified Freshwater Pirate!

Audio Tours Include Fun Activities For Kids

Kids on this adventure tour get to spot all the animals in the city using their binoculars, they design a lucky sign and a tattoo for Harold, recognize water-sounds and draw the perfect ship-house.

This interactive adventure is included in every children’s ticket (5-12 years) and includes an audio tour, a log and a pair of binoculars.

How cool is that!

Bail-out Routes and Why You Need Them

The best sightseeing operators have alternative strategies for unforeseen traffic and construction, planned and unplanned city events and emergencies. When it comes to providing GPS triggered audio commentaries on vehicles the challenges of the road are often the hardest to adapt to. If you have construction or traffic jams, what’s your backup plan?

At AudioConexus, our Project Managers plan for alternative routes based on the challenges you may encounter in your destination. For example, do you experience heavy traffic between 4:00pm and 6:00pm Monday through Saturday? Is the city planning construction on the road near a major attraction on your route? Do certain streets on your sightseeing route flood with water when there is an abnormal amount of heavy rain?

To address these potential issues, we create bail-out routes for your tour. Bail-out routes are additional points of interest tied to audio commentary on streets used when your buses are forced off route. You can play existing audio from your tour or include fresh content written and produced to fit seamlessly into your sightseeing experience.

If there is a road closure due to construction that forces your drivers to miss a Point of Interest on your tour? Bail-out routes solve this problem.

Let’s look at a practical example of a bail-out route. Below is a photo of Wellington Street in Toronto, Canada. You operate a tour bus that passes directly behind of the Hockey Hall of Fame. On a normal day, your bus follows the blue line through the Hockey Hall of Fame POI, which plays the corresponding audio files. Your bus continues down the street without any tour interruptions. The bail-out route POI, ready to play audio about Union Station is not activated.

GPS Audio Commentary Hockey Hall of Fame

The next day your tour bus approaches this same area and the street behind the Hockey Hall of Fame is closed.

You knew the city had planned construction on this street so your driver turns left to bypass the road closure, heading towards Union Station. Seamlessly, commentary plays at Union Station and your tours are not interrupted. Once your tour bus is past the construction, it returns to your sightseeing route and continues your tour.

Hockey Hall of Fame Bail-out Route

If you want to create bail-out routes for your commentary systems give us a call at (613) 507-1300. We’re here to help.

Our Audio Duckers Don’t Quack

Audio ducking is a feature we sometimes use when multiple sounds or audio sources are present in a bus, boat or train. For example, we use a ducker when two audio sources are required for different purposes. Imagine installing a multi-language commentary system with a dedicated microphone for emergency announcements. Which audio source gets priority when your bus in on route?

An audio ducker is used to solve this problem of prioritizing sound. How?

  • An audio ducker allows one sound to be partially or fully muted while another sound is playing.

Audio ducker






The use of audio duckers is fairly common when integrating your GPS commentary system with your PA System. An audio ducker allows you to prioritize which sound is heard first. Using the example of a microphone used for emergency purposes, any sound delivered over your mic takes priority over audio commentary playing over your PA System speakers.

By setting up a ducker to give your microphone priority, your emergency announcements are always heard first – over any other audio source.


GPS Navigation is Everywhere – So What Is It?

Most people know about GPS. It’s on our cellular phones, in our cars and seems to be omnipresent in technology. What really is GPS? How does it work? Why does it work in some situations but not in others? These are some of the questions I’m going to address today. GPS is a more complicated system than some people realize and I want to shed some light on the subject.

GPS stands for “Global Positioning System”. The system consists of 24 satellites orbiting the earth everyday. Where did they come from? These satellites were originally put into orbit for military use by the United States Department of Defence. In the 1980s they were made available for use by the public. Since then, GPS devices have been a booming industry. Think of the Personal Navigation Devices in cars. Or the mapping capabilities of your phone. There are still other positioning satellites out there – GLONASS (Russian) and the planned upcoming Galileo Positioning System being developed by the European Union. There is also the American Standard Global Positioning System, still the strongest player in the commercial market.

So now that we know what GPS is, how does it work? With 24 GPS satellites in orbit, a standard hand-held GPS device needs to have a clear line of sight to 3 satellites to generate your location on the planet. This uses a fundamental principal called Triangulation. Your device, be it a tour app or a bus, sends out a ‘ping’ to the satellites. When the Satellites receive that ping, they transfer the data (how long the satellites took to receive the message) to a Monitoring station. The Monitoring station then relays the location back through the satellites and to the device to tell it where it is positioned. This all happens in the blink of an eye.

In our case, we use GPS for our commentary systems. Our GPS receivers lock signals with several different satellites orbiting the Earth. This allows us to play commentary at precisely the right moment on sightseeing routes worldwide.

Occasionally something happens to make your GPS unavailable. Normally you may notice your device states “GPS Searching”.  GPS Satellites can normally see through “soft” materials, while being blocked by “hard” or “reflective’ materials. As an example, a GPS signal can easily penetrate vinyl, but has a much harder time penetrating a metal roof. This can show itself in a variety of ways, and ‘hard’ or reflective materials are found in a lot of unexpected places. Large buildings are obvious, while not many people know that tinted windows contain metal that can block GPS signals. You always need to be aware of location when you are holding or installing a GPS device or antenna.

GPS is a great technology for a lot of different applications and is a perfect tool for almost any outdoor tourism application.  Just look at the way GPS has changed the way we travel – with devices like Garmin or applications like EveryTrail.