High-tech twist on an old-fashioned walking tour in Florida

An historic city in Florida is hoping to attract visitors with a high-tech twist on an old-fashioned walking tour, pinging detailed sight information to their mobile phones as they stroll around.

Mount Dora walking tour.

Mount Dora walking tour. Image by Orlando Sentinel

The 25-stop tour is in Mount Dora, an historic lakeside village that is a popular base and day trip location for visitors to nearby Orlando and its theme parks.

The iBeacon technology has been installed at famous houses and buildings in the city’s downtown core, offering detailed histories on each of the sights.

Visitors can either scroll through all of the information at once, or have it automatically update as they arrive at each of the city attractions.

Ron Cook of Telemetree, the company behind the plan, told Lonely Planet: ‘We configured and placed 25 beacons, installing them near the entrance to each historic building. As a visitor with the app approaches, their phone provides information regarding each building.’

The company is also teaming up with 19 local businesses, who can use the technology to send personalised greetings to potential customers.

They can also send promotional offers and let customers decide which offers they like, letting restaurants, hotels and other shops know which deals are worth repeating.

Mr Cook said: ‘[The businesses] can create and change their greetings as often as they like and even create recurring day-of-week and time-of-day offers than then trigger automatically at the appropriate date and time.’

The local tourism office is hoping the new technology will help encourage a younger generation to come to the city where visitors have generally been from an older demographic.

The iBeacon technology being used in Mount Dora is already being used by mainstream retailers in the United States to promote deals via mobile.

Local basketball team the Orlando Magic have also been experimenting and they will be allowing fans order food and have it delivered to their seats using beacons at their Amway Center arena.

Efforts are also being made to encourage iBeacon technology in the UK where London mayoral hopeful Tony Arbour believes it could be used to bring visitors to lesser-known attractions in the city.

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