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Apple chooses de Young Museum app to premiere on Apple Watch
Visitors effortlessly receive notifications on the Apple Watch as they approach selected artworks.


SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- The de Young Museum app is now available for Apple Watch. The app, created in partnership between the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and local start-up Guidekick, initially launched in October 2015. It was the first museum app to take advantage of Apple’s indoor positioning technology, which allows visitors to pinpoint their position in the museum within three meters.

Visitors effortlessly receive notifications on the Apple Watch as they approach selected artworks. The de Young Apple Watch app will track visitor’s progress through tours and allow them to control audio playback from their wrist. The Apple Watch automatically syncs with the iPhone app. The iPhone app features a 3D map of the building to ease navigation and way finding, and allows users to select thematic tours or to navigate the galleries more freely. Content is automatically triggered without requiring the visitor to take an additional action, such as typing a number or scanning a code. By offering insights into the visitor journey, the app also helps the Fine Arts Museums to build richer, more tailored experiences for future visitors. The de Young’s sister institution, The Legion of Honor, launched a similar mobile application in January 2016.

The de Young is the first museum to explore the possibilities of exhibition tours on wearable tech.

Technology at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have long been committed to exploring new and exciting ways to engage audiences and expand access to their collections. Taking advantage of the Museums’ proximity to Silicon Valley, the institution has used strategic partnerships, continuous testing and a spirit of innovation to create a laboratory environment where experimentation is not only encouraged, but required.

Highlights include:

Mobile App Development
Partnering with local start-up Guidekick, the Fine Arts Museums launched two mobile applications that take advantage of Apple’s latest advancements in indoor positioning software to pinpoint exact user location, highlight selected artworks and museum amenities and collect previously unavailable data on visitor motivation and visit paths within the museum. Both were featured on iTunes’ homepage as “Best New Apps.”

BEAM Tour
The Beam Tour is the first of its kind, allowing visitors with disabilities to visit the de Young remotely via the Beam robot. Using a computer with a camera and a Wi-Fi connection, patrons can use the ambulatory device to proceed through galleries in a self-determined path, see the art in high resolution, and interact in real time with guides or friends in the museum using a built-in microphone, screen, and speakers.

Google Glass Tour
Partnering with Google, the Fine Arts Museums created the first-ever complete exhibition tour for the Glass device. The augmented-reality tour allowed visitors to call up related text, images and audio, while keeping an eye on the actual artwork. This was the museum’s first foray into wearable technology.






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