A Dunedin company has developed technology to turn smartphones into mobile tourist information guides.
Smartphone applications represented the most exciting possibilities for the fast moving tourism industry since the introduction of maps and guidebooks, AA Tourism online general manager Roger Slater said.
At the forefront of this technology was Dunedin company iVisit, which has spent nearly a year creating the smartphone application XplrNZ.
The iPhone application, which will be available on Android smartphones early next year, features interactive maps of New Zealand and an accommodation search and booking system.
Social media also offered the chance for travellers to offer their own tips and reviews of places they had visited, iVisit chief executive Pierre-Emmanuel Perruchot de La Bussiere (25) said.
“While not everyone has smartphones, this is certainly changing,” he said.
The free application used GPS and cellphone positioning to ascertain area-specific information and the ability to offer special deals for that locality.
More than 5000 AA Tourism clients were listed on the application, which cost in the “tens of thousands” to set up, but would be recouped in the first few years with more businesses paying to list their details, he said.
Guide books are good but not user-friendly. They are almost always weighty, deteriorate with use and can’t keep up to date with changes.
A smart phone application weighs nothing, won’t deteriorate and will be easily updated.
This time last year I had no idea what a smart phone application was – I wonder what we’ll be doing with our phones a year from now?