Technology Incorporated into Audio Guide Service Utilizing Location Information

In recent years, services that use location information have developed significantly. These days, many new services are being created for use in a variety of scenarios, and such services utilize location information determined not only by GPS, but also by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ultrasonic waves. For example, when the user of a service passes a store, discount coupons for the store and information on any previous visits by the user are automatically sent to the user's smartphone. Such a service uses both location information and personal profiles.

At Fuji Xerox, we are conducting research on technology for an audio guide service utilizing location information for the purpose of contributing to better communication services. This technology can provide users with audio content at an optimal location and timing by retrieving location information using GPS, etc. We have been testing this technology by using it in an audio tour guide system for a variety of tourist destinations. The figure below shows an overview of the system used for test purposes. The audio content creator for the tourist destination first accesses the editing tool on a cloud server via a web browser, and then registers the locations within the tourist destination on a map and uploads the audio guide script in text format to the cloud server. The registered data is then automatically converted into audio content, and the audio content is registered on the server. These are the only necessary steps for creating audio content. To use this system, a tourist carries a GPS-enabled device with an audio guide app installed. The tourist can then walk freely around the destination, and, upon approaching a specified location, can hear audio content played on the device in order to enhance his or her experience of the tourist destination. The locations within the tourist destination are identified using the device's GPS information. The length of audio content and the timing at which it is played are carefully determined, assuming that the tourist continues walking while listening to the audio content. In order to provide audio content at an optimal timing, the play timing of audio content is adjusted according to the person's walking speed. With this technology, the audio content provided varies according to the direction in which the tourist is walking. These features can be edited easily using our proprietary editing tool.

Fig. 1: Overview of Audio Tour Guide System

In this way, an audio tour guide service that can provide useful information at the optimal location is made possible. This service allows a tourist to freely explore an area and have a personal tour guide at the same time. The service has been designed with consideration given to universal design, and the provision of a simple UI ensures that the elderly can use it with ease. It is also provided in multiple languages including Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean, so that tourists of diverse backgrounds can use this service.
We aim to expand the use of this technology to more areas such as nursing services, disaster prevention, children's education, and elderly care. By doing so, we hope to develop this technology into a versatile communication service.