Quest for storytelling and smart cities: innovative mobile audio guide solution

Museum-panorama “The battle of Borodino” is one of the most popular and well-visited museums in Moscow. The highlight is the impressive 360-degree panorama that was created in 1912 by the Russian artist Franz Roubaud. The museum dates from 1887.  It is the largest Russian museum dedicated to the Napoleon war in Russia in 1812.

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The museum-panorama “The battle of Borodino” aimed since a long time to interlink different museums and cultural sites in and outside Moscow by the theme of the Napoleon war, WWII and the resistance of the Russians. To make this happen, the museum evolved in different choices of technology in the course of three years to reach its goal.

When mobile technologies emerged, the museum put a lot of efforts in “going beyond the walls”. At first, they used expensive and static hardware audio guide devices. This was a step forward, but these could only be used indoors and there was no option for connecting other sites related to the theme.

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The next step was more experimental. The museum created its own content and published it on the Moscow government website “Discover Moscow”, with open and free access to the public. The museum-panorama was the first museum that used this open platform.
Then, the museum discovered the new concept of more flexible and dynamic open mobile audio guide platforms, which made it suddenly possible to connect indoor and outdoor tours. The visitors’ experience was extended to the bigger context of the history of Moscow, Russia and Europe, and put in the context of other wars and dramatic events. With the application of these new technological opportunities Borodino’s vision to go “beyond the wall” became reality.

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Borodino museum is a small museum with limited budgets, but a great vision. By interconnecting the city and other ‘war memorial’ sites, it attracted a lot more visitors and truly enhanced the visitors’ experience. With the use of free open platforms, the museum could just focus their resources on storytelling and content development, a totally new concept, as the former focus was on investment in technology. The museum could now make mobile audio guides with a small budget.

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On top, to make the content open, it offered the opportunity to have the audio guides available on two apps to reach more people: on OPAS from IZI.travel and on Maugry. With IZI.CMS, Borodino created the mobile audio guides themselves and enhanced it with languages, multi media and quizzes in a continuous process to invest in the content and improve the visitor experience.