Nice and Centre Pompidou to get tailored NFC-based tour guides

Three French firms are working on the Smart Muse NFC tour guide project, designed to let visitors use NFC phones to get information that is tailored by place, time and consumer demographic.

POMPIDOU CENTRE: Teenagers will be loaned NFC phones as they tour the Paris landmark
POMPIDOU CENTRE: Teenagers will be loaned NFC phones as they tour the Paris landmark

Inside Contactless, Connecthings and Sagem Wireless have formed a consortium to develop the Smart Muse Mobile NFC Tour Guide, after being named as one of thirteen NFC and RFID projects to win funding from the French government.

The team will run two pilot demonstrations in the old town area of Nice, where a large scale NFC payments and transport ticketing pilot will begin next year, and in the teen gallery at the world famous Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Smart Muse will allow visitors to easily access location- and time-specific multimedia information on NFC phones equipped with Inside Contactless’ Wave-Me NFC Service Platform, designed to enable mobile operators and third-party service providers to offer subscribers easy access to a broad range of non-payments NFC services and applications.

“Through our Smart Muse deployments we plan to revitalise the concept of the guided tour by letting visitors receive through a mobile phone personalised multimedia content appropriate for their specific place and time,” says Laetitia Gazel Anthoine, founder and chief executive officer of Connecthings. “We believe these Wave-Me solutions will improve the quality of life through easy access to new types of services, make it easier for tourists and others to enjoy richer, more engaging visits and demonstrate the ability of NFC to go beyond just payments and transit applications.”

The multilingual content for the pilots has been developed in conjunction with the City of Nice and Centre Pompidou to be both informative and anecdotal, as well as tailored to the individual’s demographics. It has been designed to provide users with a more intimate sense of place, and will be written to encourage participation through postings of comments and stories about their visit. Smart Muse will also provide information on nearby tourist services — shops, restaurants, hotels, city services, events, and others — and content will be updated on a regular basis.

“As the first city where NFC technology will be widely deployed in France, the old city centre of Nice is the ideal location for our initial Wave-Me deployment through this Smart Muse project,” says Rémy de Tonnac, chief executive officer at Inside Contactless. “The teen gallery at Centre Pompidou is geared to younger consumers who are enthusiastic adopters of new mobile technologies, and we are sure they will provide valuable feedback and give the Smart Muse system a real test.”

For the project, Inside Contactless is providing NFC expertise as well as NFC hardware, handset software and tags. Connecthings is bringing experience it has gained through its AdTag contextualized content management system, as well as its experience with NFC tag and mobile application life cycle management and other technologies. Sagem Wireless is providing the NFC-enabled mobile phones that will be used in conjunction with the Centre Pompidou demonstration project, and which will be provided to visitors at no cost for use while inside the museum.

“We are very excited to be a part of the Smart Muse project and to help demonstrate how the Wave-Me Service Platform’s innovative use of NFC technology can simplify access to information,” said Thierry Buffenoir, chief executive officer at Sagem Wireless. “We look forward to working with our consortium partners and contributing our expertise and technology to create successful demonstrations that will ignite this emerging market.”

The total cost of the project is in excess of €1.5 million, of which 30% is being provided by the French government’s grant and the remainder by the consortium’s partners.

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