Google Glass guides from South African company

Mark Allewell/TechCentral.Co.Za

Mark Allewell/TechCentral.Co.Za

Cape Town’s Tourism Radio has turned to crowdfunding platform Kickstarter in the hopes of launching interactive audio travel guides for Google Glass.

Tourism Radio has turned to US crowd-funding website Kickstarter in an effort to raise £35 000 (R530 000) to fund the development of travel guides for Google Glass.

Based in Cape Town, Tourism Radio was founded in 2005 by entrepreneur Mark Allewell. The company produces location-aware audio travel guides for 20 of the world’s most-visited cities and has offices in South Africa, New Zealand and Spain.

Those who back the Kickstarter project, which went live on Tuesday, will receive differing numbers of the eventual city guides, depending on how much they contribute. Higher contributions also allow people to add their own points of interest to the guides. It expects to deliver the guides in April 2014.

Tourism Radio plans to produce Glass guides for New York, London, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, San Francisco, Washington and Cape Town in English, German, Spanish and French.

Allewell says the reason the project is raising funds in pounds rather than dollars is that project manager Chris Goldswain is British and divides his time between the UK and Cape Town. “To use Kickstarter you need to be from the UK, US or Canada,” Allewell explains.

Tourism Radio is doing more than just repurposing its existing guides, he says. Although the existing guides work well on Android and Apple devices, the company wants its guides for Glass to offer more personal information.

“We are looking at adding more and more content from other sources, rather than just repackaging information that’s already available online,” Allewell says. “We’re also looking to crowdsource content. We want it all to be quality content and we want the guides to include local accents and insights.”

Aside from a handful of developers, very few people have got their hands on Google Glass, including Tourism Radio. Allewell says the company doesn’t have a pair of the glasses yet, but that this hasn’t stopped development. “It’s easy to become a developer and work with it,” he says.

Allewell believes that products like Glass are going to be the future of travel guides, which is why Tourism Radio wanted to get in on the ground floor, even if the technology has some way to go. “We have to get in the door somewhere.”

It’s hoped the Kickstarter project will not only serve as good marketing for Tourism Radio, but will show that’s it’s possible to raise money for this sort of project, Allewell says. The project isn’t just about creating travel guides but about demonstrating what the technology is capable of, he adds.  — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

[Source: Craig Wilson @ TechCentral]

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