Empower Your Security Team with Mobile, Visual Tech by Guide by Cell

security tech, security teams, security technology, mobile tech, SMS, text messaging,

While many public institutions such as museums use security teams, interaction between individual officers is still heavily reliant on on old-fashioned walkie-talkies and radios. Those allow only for verbal communications, of course, but we live in a highly visual world. Allowing security teams from communicating visually makes their jobs much easier. This is now a real, successful and cost-effective reality with the Guide by Cell mobile platform.

When your teams rely on radios for communication, it can frequently lead to miscommunication, which can be a problem when dealing with suspicious activity, persons of interest, lost children and seniors. All those are better conveyed with photos. That’s where the Guide by Cell SMS notification system and mobile web authoring platform steps in. Text messages can be delivered quickly and include photos, videos, text and other rich media. In other words, they can bring your security detail into the visual, three-dimensional world.

Additionally, text messages have an open-rate of nearly 99 percent. That’s much higher than the roughly 20-percent open rate for emails.

Cultural institutions like the Monterey Bay Aquarium are now using mobile technology powered by Guide by Cell to keep its security teams engaged. We make it possible to overcome the difficulty of notifying all on-duty officers immediately and efficiently when an issue or danger arises.

Using the Guide by Cell SMS and mobile platform is simple. First, build a list of security team contacts, and organize members any which way you want. Each officer will be texted with a request to opt-in for communication and alerts. This is repeated daily and the officers only opt in when they are working.

Whenever any security officer wants to notify others about any incident, she or he is quickly able to notify the others by sending a text message with smartphone-shot photos or a screenshot of a live video feed. Others respond with updates of their own. The entire team can stay current on statuses of ongoing events.

Guide by Cell mobile technology isn’t just helpful to museums. It can be used by airports, hotels, parks, historical sites, libraries, government buildings, festivals, hospitals, educational institutions, stadiums, music venues and shopping centers. It can be used by anyone.

With Guide by Cell, you won’t have any more lapses in communication, or inaccurate descriptions that delay incident resolution.

More industries are recognizing the value of SMS and the its capabilities. That’s because it is so easy to use. The technology is second-nature to most people. Messages are also instantaneous and don’t depend on wifi connectivity. Guide by Cell makes it easy to automate text message delivery, saving you time. Even better for IT departments, the technology is already built and does not require lengthy integration. You could be up and running in minutes.

Learn more how Guide by Cell mobile technology can help your institution’s security team. Register for a free 20-minute demo of Guide by Cell’s breakthrough service below.

Guide Your Visitors with Guide by Cell’s GPS Wayfinder

Perfect for walking or driving tours at parks, or walking tours, Guide by Cell’s GPS Wayfinder uses Google Maps’ API to mark your cultural institution’s exhibits or points of interest. Using GPS Wayfinder visitors can see all stops or exhibits nearby as pins on a map. They can then use Google’s navigation to easily find the point of interest.

By tapping on the Google Map pin, they are directed to a mobile page with additional content — text, images, audio, video or any kind of file. It’s that simple!

The service is available at a fraction of the cost of expensive beacon technology.

Call Guide by Cell at 415-615-0150 or email [email protected] to learn how!


So Much More Than An Audio Guide

apps, audio guide, beacon, fundraising fundraising, GPS, Mobile smartphone tours, smartphone tours, SMS

Guide by Cell’s suite of services offers so much more than simple audio guides for your cultural institution. From on-demand content creation to communication via text message with distribution lists or individual visitors, to audio, interactive and GPS-based tours, no other company provides as many different services.

  • Smartphone mobile tours
  • Location-based GPS tours
  • Dial-in cell phone audio guide
  • Text message communication platform: send and receive alerts with rich media or communicate directly with users
  • Custom-built mobile apps
  • Beacon technology
  • Augmented reality
  • Scavenger hunts and games
  • Handheld device solutions
  • On-demand content creation
  • Mobile fundraising licensed provider with Mobile Giving Foundation

See how we compare to our competitors with this comprehensive guide.

Email Guide by Cell at [email protected] or call us at 415-615-0150 to set up a free demo.

Why Most Institutions Choose Mobile Websites Over Apps for Visitor Tours

phone, mobile phone, mobile website, mobile app

If you’re looking to enhance visitors’ experience to your museum, zoo, park or other cultural institution, you will compare using a mobile website that does not require a download and a downloadable app. From a distance, the two may present a similar service: a way to engage visitors with exhibit information, floor plans, feedback requests and more.

Both apps and mobile websites are accessed on mobile phones and tablets. And both can be highly engaging. But that’s where the similarities end. From visitors’ accessibility, to your adaptability and cost to maintain, mobile websites should serve as your first priority to improve visitor engagement.

Mobile websites function like traditional websites but are more responsive; they scale down on smaller screens while still displaying the same information clearly. They can display the same information as any other site, including text, rich media like audio and video, images; virtually any digital content.

The difference between a mobile website and an app

Mobile websites remove a crucial barrier to the dissemination of information: they don’t require users to download an app’s why a mobile website is the best choice if you’re looking to share mobile-friendly content to as many visitors as possible. If your communication goals include marketing efforts, a mobile website is also the practical choice for an outreach strategy.

Advantages of a mobile website over an app:

  • A mobile site is always available without a download and set-up.Mobile websites are compatible across all devices, ensuring your visitors receive a universal experience. For example, before or after a visit the mobile site can be viewed on a computer, which is not possible with an app.
  • Statistics on every user behavior are easily obtained in a real-time dashboard.
  • Mobile sites can easily be shared with visitors and other stakeholders. A cultural institution can disseminate links by text message, email, QR codes and on social media. Your museum can share the URL by including it on printed signs that are posted inside the institution, or on your blog and main website. All visitors need to do is click a link that is sent to them, send a text message to opt in and receive the link, or enter the link in their smartphone browser.
  • If, like most cultural institutions, your exhibits change regularly, you can easily update content on a mobile website without needing the help of an IT team. Website content can be altered in minutes. Changing design is also easy and seamless. With Guide by Cell, all you need to do is drag and drop various features and types of content. No coding experience is required.
  • Because you don’t need IT personnel to edit mobile websites, they are inherently much faster and cheaper to produce and maintain. Properly updating apps includes expensive testing and dealing with compatibility problems. Mobile web sites can be launched same day.

Finally, studies show that the typical lifecycle of an app is one month. That means that your visitors will remove it from their smartphones following their visit. Your mobile website, however, will always remain, allowing you to communicate with your visitors long past their first visit.

Guide by Cell clients typically use our mobile website platform in conjunction with an SMS platform or an audio tour, giving their visitors the widest array of engagement enhancements. Visitors have the option to call a local number or use in-house equipment to access audio, text in a shortcode to be directed to a mobile site, or text to communicate with museum staff when docents are not available.

Learn more about Guide by Cell’s suite of services in a personal, free demo.

Hear from a Bruce Museum Visitor and Employee

Listen to interviews about the benefits of using Guide by Cell from a museum visitor and employee perspective. Journalist Jerry Kay talks to a local museum-goer, Bob Donnalley, and the Bruce Museum New Media Developer Mary Ann Lendenmann about the ease of using the technology and how it has enhanced the visitor experience.

Find out why museum visitors love tours using Guide by Cell, and why the Bruce Museum uses Guide by Cell services at most of its exhibitions.

Texas Museum Records Actors for Guide By Cell Audio Tour


Mayborn Museum, Waco, Baylor, audio guide, audio tour, mobile tour

The Mayborn Museum Complex at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, was already a longtime Guide by Cell client when, in 2012, the museum added a new exhibit of historic buildings. The turn-of-the-century structures were moved from a different part of the state.

Along with the exhibit, the museum added about 10 information stations, giving guests the ability to call a local number or scan a QR code and hear a recorded message (the museum hired child actors to perform on the recordings) with information about the life of the times.

“It’s a nice addition to our galleries. People really enjoy getting more information,” said Rebecca Nall, the museum’s communications lead. Besides the newer exhibit, the museum now has about 50-such information stations throughout its natural science and cultural history exhibits.

Mayborn Museum, Waco, Baylor, audio guide, audio tour, mobile tour

Filoli Estates: Enhancing Visitor Experience with Text Messaging and Mobile Website Engagement

Filoli Estates came to us earlier in 2016. The cultural institution and botanical garden wanted to increase visitor engagement, saw technology as the answer, but soon realized that it couldn’t depend on its weak internet connectivity in a rural section of the San Francisco Bay. That’s when Filoli discovered Guide by Cell and the power of text messaging-powered engagement (SMS).

The institution had an upcoming festival, its largest of the year, and wanted a solution in place to engage hundreds of visitors to participate in dozens of daily activities at the festival.

“The ability to use someone’s own phone [text messaging] was very attractive,” said Beth Lau, Filoli Estates Marketing and Communications Manager. “The simplicity of the Guide by Cell platform made it a great option for us.”

The organization also wanted to speed up its response times to visitor inquiries, even if the visitors were on-site, perusing exhibits. It wanted a tech-infused solution to show its guests how it had grown and improve visitors’ understanding of the facility’s exhibits and cultural significance during its ongoing centennial celebration.

“We do things with a focus on our visitors and don’t want to cause any frustration,” Lau said. “We want to facilitate information to guests as seamlessly as possible.”

All this had to be accomplished without alienating docent volunteers, who could have viewed technology as a threat, a replacement to their contributions.

Filoli Estates subscribed to a Guide by Cell suite of services that included Audio Guides, Text Messaging, Visitor Feedback and Mobile Fundraising. Prior to the fall festival, the organization emailed ticket-holders, informing them about the text message opt-in option. The email had a 72-percent opt-in rate, receiving over 200 SMS sign-ups prior to the event. Onsite, signs and cards handed out by docents directed attendees to text “PUMPKIN” to a number and receive updates about activities and news. Over 600 people participated in total, during the event day.

Afterward, Filoli distributed a survey by text message, increasing engagement further. The event marked Filoli Estates’ first mobile engagement activity of any kind. In coming months Filoli will evaluate other needs for Guide by Cell solutions. One identified project, targeted for spring 2017, is a fundraising campaign.

Although the organization contracted with Guide by Cell for a specific visitor-centric set of services, it found flexibility and ease of use in the platform, and decided to test it for internal volunteer and docent training purposes, such as an audio and mobile tour targetted at first-time visitors to the facility. Lau created a dial-in message, explaining how best to begin an experience. That transitioned to a text-to-learn-more tour of exhibits. The tour led to a mobile website with multifunctionality. “The mobile platform is great for photos and additional info,” Lau said. ”You can adjust it to be new every week. The platform is easy to learn and adjust to your needs.”

Volunteers and docents enjoyed the experience, and understood that Guide by Cell will increase the opportunities for visitors to learn without replacing their valuable contributions. “This enhances the visitor experience,” Lau said. “Our docents know the history of the place. Guide by Cell allows visitors to go deeper into a subject. We think this will be seamless for our visitors, because they use this technology elsewhere.”

Traditionally, Filoli Estates prefers to partner with local companies. But if Guide by Cell was located across the country, the service would have been just as easy to onboard and get started, Lau said.

Filoli Estates is quickly realizing that several of its departments can benefit from Guide by Cell solutions, including development, interpretation, membership, guest services, finance and fundraising, garden and horticulture, curation, and marketing. When used together, the services can tell a complete narrative about the history and future of the institution.

Mobile Solution to Museums’ Millennial Dilemma

museum, art, cultural institution

If your cultural institution has been debating how best to reverse a trend in declining attendance, the conversation has undoubtedly focused on attracting millennials. You may have read in a recent National Attitudes, Awareness, and Usage Study (NAAU) report that Millennials are more likely than any other demographic to return for multiple visits, and to talk about those visits with others. In other words, attracting Millennials can turn your attendance around.

But attracting Millennials is also a quandary for many cultural institutions.

The NAAU surveys museums, zoos, aquariums, botanic gardens and performing arts groups to understand their audiences and make informed business decisions. According to its study, Millennials should be museum’s and other cultural institutions’ most sought-after audience.

More so than Baby Boomers or Generation Xers, Millennials are willing to return for a second visit within a year, share the experience on social media and with their friends and families, and are also more connected to the Internet. Because they return multiple times, they’re typically the most represented group at successful institutions.

To attract millennials, you have to find them where they are: typically online and swimming in technology. Cultural institutions should incorporate mobile learning and two-way communication with millennial visitors to get them to return. If you impress them by introducing technology they prefer, you’ll get them to return and share their positive experiences via social media. According to The New York Times, a Henri Mattise exhibit at the New York Museum of Modern Art was so packed that the institution had to open its doors around the clock during the exhibit’s closing weekend. The museum is one of the country’s most technologically advanced.

The same article began by declaring that “museums face an uncertain future.” Overall, art museum attendance declined by 5 percent between 2002 and 2012, according to the National Endowment for the Arts. The only demographic that increased during that time was 75-and-older.

“Curators worry most about millennials,” the NYT reported. “How do static galleries of canvas and artifact engage a generation raised on the reactive pleasures of right swipes and hyperlinks?”

Hyperlinks is exactly where you need to follow them. That’s also where Guide by Cell thrives. Our mobile, text-based platform allows you to provide your visitors information, narrative and color where they already expect it: at their fingertips. Guests are able to text in a unique code and access more up-to-date insights, history and meaning than could ever be conveyed on printed placards that, once printed, remain stagnant for months or even years.

With Guide by Cell, you’re able to convey rich media like videos, images and a mobile website with any information you want; be it a tour, specific exhibit information or updates. You can engage visitors to participate in group communication such as polls and quizzes, take them on fun learning activities like treasure hunts, or communicate directly by text or mobile website. And the system is highly flexible. Our platform is drag-and-drop. You can publish content on the fly and revise content within seconds.

Returning to the NAAU study, one key finding directly connected all visitors who returned to cultural institutions as being “super-connected” to the web. And Millennials are far more super-connected to the web than any key demographic. To attract more millennials, your institution need to better incorporate mobile technology to engage with the demographic.

Visit GuidebyCell.com to learn more about how you can increase engagement, repeat visits and lifetime value with a web-based mobile platform.

Young Storytellers in Los Angeles Use Mobile Giving to Create Buzz

Young storytellers in Los Angeles engages creativity through the art of storytelling. Their mission is to inspire young people to discover the power of their own voice in Los Angeles and New York.

Isn’t that really the goal that most of us in the museum and cultural space share?

Every non-profit holds fundraising events, and a growing trend is to insert some very engaging mobile exercises into these events to significantly increase donations and create greater audience participation and awareness.

Young Storytellers approached Guide by Cell’s sister company Give by Cell with such a request. Their event last week was a success. They asked attendees to text in their donation and it instantly appeared on a giant screen with a thermometer racing to the top as pledges poured in.

To learn more about how to use mobile to supercharge your next fundraising event, complete the form below to sign up for a quick demo and one of our reps will reach out to you to schedule a time.


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