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Czech monks embrace NFC-based visitor information system

Visitors to the 13th century Vyšší Brod Monastery can now use an innovative NFC and GPS enabled device to receive an automated guided tour of all the walled religious community’s important sights.

TOUR GUIDE: The handheld Cruso device features NFC and GPS functionality

TOUR GUIDE: The handheld Cruso device features NFC and GPS functionality

The Vyšší Brod Monastery in the Czech Republic has introduced an NFC-enabled visitor service, developed by Austrian NFC specialists Nexperts and German visitor information specialists Cruso Systems.

Visitors to the monastery, founded in 1259, rent an NFC-enabled guide that gives them textual, graphical and audio information on all the important places of interest in the monastery. The multilingual system is triggered by touching an information point located next to each of the sights.

The Cruso device used at Vyšší Brod also includes a GPS receiver so that visitors can be provided with a walking route as well as information on particular points of interest. The GPS functionality also means that, in contrast to normal museum guidance systems, the Cruso solution can be used both indoors and outdoors. Tickets can also be loaded onto and redeemed via the device, using near field communication.

MONASTERY: Vyssi Brod, founded in 1259, is home to Cistercian monks

MONASTERY: Vyssi Brod, founded in 1259, is home to Cistercian monks

“This project is a perfect example of a successful go-to-market approach for what NFC can do already today”, says Kurt Schmid, CEO of Nexperts. “The Cruso device is robust and intended to rent. It has all content preloaded and is optimised for presenting the information in text, picture and audio. The user interface is much simpler than any phone because it is optimised to the one use case. Also the battery lasts for 12 to 14 hours with constant play.”

“Every year between 25,000 and 30,000 visitors from many countries in the world come to the monastery,” explains Dr Klaus Zerbs, chairman of Vyšší Brod Monastery’s supporting association. “The NFC-enabled visitor guide makes explaining the treasures of Vyšší Brod Monastery in different languages much easier and guarantees standardised high-quality information”.

“We are delighted by the advantages the system provides to our visitors,” added the monastery’s prior, Father Justin Berka.

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