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Offline Maps

After talking to customers at several events over last few months, we kept getting a firm message regarding offline maps… basically they want custom offline maps due to network issues and the fact that they have existing designs already and wanted them integrated on their app.

We did some research and talked to a few map designers and we have developed a way to create custom map tiles and then swap out our traditional Google maps and enable our apps to work fully offline! (more…)

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We can integrate MBtiles directly onto our platform and these will synch with our apps! This popular file format can be exported form many popular GIS  products such as Mapbox and Tilemill both of which can be styled using CartoCSS. We can also still overlay data such as GPX routing files and custom images and other overlays. We also integrated a way to allow our event data to be fully downloaded and cached locally not he app, but also sync when back on wifi network. So, if you already have custom maps in PDF, or you want us to design you relevant maps that have a look and feel for your project, we can do it!
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Colin Glen Trail

Eventro has just released our apps for Colin Glen Forest Park on Android and iOS . We created three popup quiz trails featuring the Gruffalo Trail as the headline act! Visitors can follow the trail, answer the questions and get a score at the finish line. We also integrated Vuforia cloud recognition so images can be scanned and videos triggered to help give more information for the featured quiz questions.


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Our CMS now handles GPX format files, so if Google maps does not have roads and paths marked for larger outdoor areas, you can use Garmin or similar devices to log the track data and upload it to our system.

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We have also integrated custom map overlays that can be dropped on top of Google maps, so if you already have custom maps we can position them exactly to match Google maps. Get your paper maps or brochures digitised with us!
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Cross Border Tourism Conference in Carlingford

Eventro will be attending The Cross Border Tourism Conference in Carlingford on the 6th April 2017 organised by Dundalk Chamber of Commerce. This event will bring experts together from various Tourism projects around Ireland so that you can replicate it in your own business.

We have our brochures printed out and also we will demo our Augmented Reality directly on the brochure! Also we will be aiming to get a few signups and some feedback on our product.

 

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Bluetooth Beacons and user context

Bluetooth Beacons are great for location-based and real-time mobile experiences to deliver localized, timely, and relevant information and marketing offers, and in our experience they work well for short term projects in the correct context, but there are also a lot of limitations.

 

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We recently were given a Bluetooth project for Winterfelt Tours who run film location tours in Ireland, where many Game Of Thrones scenes are shot... and yes, they actually have Direwolves.. real ones !! The National Trust own Castle Ward and they allow the tour operator to run their business from it.Winterfelt Tours tried to get a guided tour project completed by a company who went out of business who created a Bluetooth tour using iBeacons which fell short of actually working for several reasons :
  • The Awareness Problem
  A recent First Insight report showed 70% of consumers don’t know what beacons are. This is a major problem, as many people do not know how the tech works. And how do they know to find a beacon hidden somewhere, unless they get pointed in the right direction. Bluetooth beacons suit a more passive user context rather than a self-guided context, and are more suited to corridor type locations than you are guaranteed to walk past, but not search context based scenarios where it can be tricky to find the dam thing. If a user see's a QR code for example, this can act as a queue to 'Scan Me' and that makes sense someone, and acts like a context queue.
  • User Experience
  You have to walk about trying to find them, as there is no mapping ability currently existing to  show iBeacons in Augmented Reality! Basically you are blind, and need guided. The experience is bad, as its not passive.  
  • Maintenance Problem
The batteries will die eventually, and its common for the signal to drop out and get interference form other radio signals. Also people will steal beacons for the fun of it unless they are secured very well.  
  • Cluster problems
  Beacons can over lap and interfere with each other, so you might get triggers form different beacons, and in our case the triggers played videos, so this was a poor user experience if beacon locations are clustered, like below :   img_0019 Simple is good! The solution is low tech… we just removed all the bluetooth code and let people find the locations and physically use the app map and press to play. User experience was much simpler and the system worked. Sometimes the story context can be over complex, expecting non-tech savvy  people to just understand how bluetooth works.   Maps are still a great way to navigate and have been used for 1000’s of years, and we think Augmented Reality will be the next type of mapping using our phones camera or a pair of glasses. We have developed a prototype to display the map locations in Augmented Reality so the user experience will be more intuitive, and we can also integrate Vuforia to attach digital media to real physical artefacts such as signage and placards.
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VR 360 degree videos

We have been experimenting with Unity and recently integrated Google Cardboard and have created a concept app to pull 360 degree images and video form our backend. We wanted to create a way to attach images/video to GPS coordinates, for example a heritage trail could show historic artifact’s in the form of 3D Models. We are working on a project to show secret creatures in the form of Fairy’s for Galgorm Castle trail, which is basically a Fairy trail for children. This is another project we are doing with Brilliant Trails.

 

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Unity is traditionally a closed gaming engine for consoles and casual phone games, but we see massive potential for using the engine on outdoor serious game applications as it can be combined with Google Cardboard and Vuforia to create interactive locative based story telling experiences. Getting all this technology to work together seamlessly has been difficult and Unity has proved to be more complex due to the incompatibility issues of PC's/ Mac's and various mobile devices, but with some perseverance we got a good demo built to hook into our CMS.   imgres-2   Our friends at Billygoat Entertainment developed the models above for their game Her Majesty's SPIFFING (please download their game) and we have seen them work hard to make amazing 3D models, and we think these ideas can be taken out form traditional gaming context and used in the real world, essentially creating virtual real estate, where we can experience mixed reality story telling experiences. Minority Report is a while away, but for now we can leverage our mobile devices and interact with a live environment until we get our Augmented Reality glasses!
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Targeted Push Notifications

We all hate SPAM emails, like someone offering to tarmac you’re driveway in Florida USA and you live in Strasbourg France.. which does bring up marketing short comings and makes you think .. can marketing campaigns be targeted better.

 

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Eventro integrated a simple notification system that allows a location to be targeted by setting a radius around the location so a notification can be sent once an app subscriber steps over the boundary. (more…)

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We used a technology called Geofire to achieve this as it integrated well with our Firebase and offered the flexibility of handling our notifications automatically and hooking into our Parse Server services, forwarding pushes to Apple and Google Play. We also enable a 24 hr lock on push notifications, so only one would be sent in a single day.   screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-13-33-31   Target push notifications offer a locative channel for marketing, and sending relative real-time useful information to people in the form of a text message, e.g. "here's a coupon code for a free coffee at Starbucks", or you could even organise a location hijack so that if you are close to a Starbucks, then offer another independent coffee shop offer to get people to change their direction and seek out an alternative to Starbucks. Meat pack  successfully created such a campaign to get subscribers to exit competitors shops by offering a price countdown so if subscribers left a competitors shop, they had to run and reach Meat Pack stores as quickly as possible as the faster they got there the cheaper they got the shoes. Pedro Rodriguez got a record breaking 89% discount!   cekuwapkuum   Meat Pack is the trendiest shoe store in Guatemala, a brand known for its edgy, irreverent style and a store known for its special discounts in limited edition kicks, including brands like Adidas, Nike, Puma had a very famous hijack campaign in 2012. GPS location offers many ways to engage live with potential customers, and send relative information that can change their habits and offer alternatives. Eventro also has the option to send broadcast targeted messages to an audience also, for example if we wanted to send out a health and safety message to all attendees at an event, security message etc. or traffic shape crowds and inform them if a service is broken down and give them an alternative in real-time. Locative strategies can really help people stay informed in real-time and let's them plan an alternative should a situation arise. GPS logging also offers a way to collate movement data and statistics after an event has taken place. Movement data can help in future event organisation and gives great insights to traffic movement.
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Augmented Reality Maps

We completed a mobile app for Concentrix to help employee’s relocate to Belfast a while back, and it was the first time we tested the concept of pulling GPS data form a CMS to create a projection system that could overlay onto a phones camera, so anyone could point their camera in a direction and see a location’s distance, direction, estimated walking time etc.

The app was something I designed and programmed which was a concept at the time, but now we have integrated a Cordova plugin to show data in this form, which is really suited to urban street landscapes. The system is also ideal for outdoor locations that have no roads, tracks or paths marked, e.g. forest parks, rural attractions etc.

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We tested users with traditional maps and others with the augmented reality version and the vast majority of people preferred using the camera based system. Augmented Reality glasses  are a few years away yet... but we think leveraging the current tech on mobile devices (namely digital compass, gyro and accelerometer) can create basic visual interpretations of the hidden digital landscape around us and gives us a good indication of future possibilities. Also there is the ability to add in non-static data, such as a friends location, so you can find someone at a busy festival, or track someone on an outdoor excursion for health and safety monitoring. From a gamification perspective you could add killer zombies chasing you! Mixed reality for us is much more tangible and useful compared to virtual reality, as we can experience multiple realities simultaneously and use concepts like these in the real world to solve real problems. We also developed a Unity plugin and tested out the overlay on a Meta One headset while we attended their workshop in Beacon Hill, Boston, home of the famous Cheers bar.   imgres   The headset had no digital compass (although we had been told it had! Digital magnetometers are fundamental to augmented reality maps) but we were able to use the gyroscope to prototype the concept. The Field if View (FOV) was quite disappointing (about 45%) and the headset was tethered to a PC, but it did give us a glimpse into what was possible in the future if we hooked into a holographic projection system.    
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Tourism and Gamification

OK, you want to create a digital experience for you’re event, and lets say it’s a heritage based trail spread over the town and you want to get folk to download your app and take the tour… easier said than done.. and what is the context? Is it a history lesson? Or is it a self guided walk? Do you want to get more people to go out and explore and spend cash on local businesses?

Context is something we tend to overlook when we are trying to tell a story and engage an audience. So how do we create a context that is both narrative driven and engaging? Well we gamify it.

Gamification is a word that is thrown about as much as ‘cloud computing’ and can be misleading. I would describe gamification

“as a way engage and motivate people in ‘real world’ activities, problem-solving, decision-making and let them explore, collaborate and experience through a mixed reality context” (more…)

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  .. which means we are bringing gaming out from the console/app and into the real world. Serious gaming is the term given to games that have a real world goal… and not someone who play’s a lot of Call of Duty on their Xbox! Lets look at some hard gaming hard facts.    
  • 78% of millennials would rather spend money on a desirable experience or event than buying something desirable (Harris/Eventbrite)
  So why not tap into this and add gaming elements to real world scenarios and create an immersive experience to enhance the visitor’s experience ? Maybe add visualization and modelling to aid with reconstruction of old ruins ? Connect up education and culture through missions and quests, or even a treasure hunt? pokemon-go-1-900x450

Location-based Augmented Realty Games (such as Pokemon Go) offer a way to bridge the gap between the real world and a virtual one. Location-based games can take visitors on individual and interactive walks through the place being visited and offer a way to really connect and leverage gaming elements in a real world context and can bring history alive and create playful interactions between the visitor and the tourist destination. Ordinary mobile tour guides can become more gameful with the integration of game elements (Jessika Weber ). So how do we hook people into a gaming experience app / digital experience? Some examples…


  • Scoring - Walk and gain points
  • Knowledge - Learning is a reward believe it or not.. it’s how we think and explore
  • Mixed Reality - Overlay digital content on real world tangible objects, e,g, historic ruins, old walls, statues
  • Location aware - Trigger MP3/MP4 audio and video files and create listening and viewing experiences that have location aware context
  • Fitness - Count steps
  • Discover - Find hidden trophies, get badges, bonus
  • Collaborate - Have a leader bread and see who’s fastest  to solve a puzzle, work as a team
  • Quiz - Who’s paying attention?
  • Treasure Hunt - Discover history and also enjoy the experience and get a reward at the end!
  • Share - You can share you experience with others.. and even brag!

So next time you are designing an experience, think gaming! We are gaming more than we ever did and thats going to continue so tap in and hook your audience!
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Colin Glen Forest

Eventro are creating a digital quiz event in partnership with Brilliant Trails for the Colin Glen Gruffalo Trail!
The app will feature an Augmented Reality quiz which guides players around a forest park. We are excited that we have been chosen to tell the Gruffalo story digitally and in Augmented Reality, bringing stories to life.

Forest trails are a great opportunity for us as content can be updated easily and we also have the bonus of allowing GPX trails to be added to our Content Management System (CMS) so previously unmarked trails and paths can be added to our maps. We can also allow map overlays to be stitched to our maps for custom creative mapping!
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End points – There is no point

Ok.. a lot of developers will go against me here, but I’ll just say it.. “You do not need web service end points” . So I said it. We set up our push notification system so that we could send pushes form our CMS using Parse-Server, and this did work well for a while, until our Russian friends found a week-ness, a kink in our armour.

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After skimming the URLS they got our NODE service endpoint and got a key to send a notification, the person was an ex-contractor, well he left his name in the hack.. thank you Anatoly.. So I got 100 ish notifications sent to my phone.   push_notification_hacking   So, you got hacked, what do you do? A hack is an opportunity for you as a developer or security expert to learn. We had several end points on Amazon Web Services, and some were uses to register our mobile devices, other's to send broadcast or channel based notifications. Developer's love end points, it mean freedom to connect anything... but it also means that you are creating a weak point in your security chain.  

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So the solution ? Well we already got hacked in firebase previously, so installed heavy rule based authentication which was very solid, so we though why not leverage this? Firebase has 3 way data binding, so we though why not route the messages through existing authentication and add a listener in our NODE service, as this would add a server-to-server security chain that was not public. This then brought us to Google Service Accounts. So how could we use them ? Thankfully in Google Cloud Console we can add a