Loquendo TTS Powers Museum QR Codes

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A new way of enjoying art works in Italy's museums is now available. The public museums of Bologna are introducing QR (quick response) codes, the contents of which are read out by Loquendo's Text-to-Speech.

This new service from Italy's public museums, realized in collaboration with Loquendo, transforms visitors' mobile devices into modern audio and video guides, an exciting way for people to access and enjoy their cultural heritage. The QR codes have been launched in Bologna's Museum of Archeology, Collezioni Comunali d'Arte (City Art Collections) and Museo Civico del Risorgimento (Museum of the Italian Resurgence). In the coming months the service will be extended to other public museums of Bologna, including historic buildings, churches and monuments, all tagged with QR codes that can link together to create special themed walks around the city (e.g. the City of Music, medieval Bologna, etc.).

The QR code, a kind of two-dimensional barcode, provides access to a fairly large amount of information in text form, accessed via smartphones, tablet devices, or any similar device equipped with a camera, an Internet connection, and a QR code reader. By launching the reader and photographing the QR code, the information stored within it will be read aloud by the mobile device using Loquendo TTS. That information can include additional data about the collection or exhibits, as well as images, documents, sound, and video, and is made available to the visitor, free of charge and in a flexible and user-friendly way.

"For many years, we have been experimenting with ICT in culture and the arts with considerable success," says Mauro Felicori, Bologna's director of culture and public museums. "3D reconstructions and interactive databases are already part of the information policy of our museums, with the aim of reaching the public more effectively, so enhancing the content the museum is able to offer its visitors while offering an enriched audio and visual multimodal user experience. We hope the introduction of QR codes and Loquendo speech technology will overcome one of the challenges we encounter every day in culture and the arts: to attract more young visitors."

"The project realized for the museums of Bologna is an important example of how technology makes innovation available to all of us, simplifying and enriching the visitor's experience by exploiting the most advanced technologies," says Daniela Melfa, Loquendo's sales manager for Italy. "Benefits for the visitor include being able to use one's own device instead of having to share, and being able to retain downloaded multimedia contents after the visit."

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