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The Smart Groupguide System from NOUS

Many museum visitors appreciate the way the exhibited objects are explained interactively during guided tours: they offer an individual, often playful or creative approach to viewing the pictures and objects. But that presents art educators and institutions with several challenges: on the one hand, the volume and intonation of the guided tour needs to be adapted to a group that is moving freely in the space, while on the other hand it is important not to disturb other visitors to the museum.

To rise to this challenge, many museums are offering analog visitor guidance systems, which enable art educators to communicate with their listeners more quietly—and hence less disruptively. These systems are usually based on proprietary hardware and work in a similar way to walkie-talkies.

However, introducing an additional proprietary system is expensive and time-consuming. The museum is confronted with high acquisition costs for the hardware, which then has to be serviced, repaired, and stored on site. Unfortunately, this kind of proprietary guidance system does not offer any extra features such as displaying additional multimedia content.

Most institutions are currently involved in a change process: an increasing number of museums now provide their visitors with WLAN throughout their buildings. Furthermore, they often have multimedia guides that visitors can borrow, despite many visitors of all ages already having their own smartphones that they bring with them to the museum.

The NOUSGroupGuide takes a completely different approach to other systems: it uses the museum’s existing infrastructure and the visitors’ own smartphones as a group guidance system. Which means there is no need for additional hardware. The visitors simply download the NOUSGroupGuide onto their devices from the app store at the beginning of their guided tour and then connect with the tour guide’s device. All they have to do is scan a QR code: no further interaction is necessary. During the guided tour, the high-quality audio signal is then streamed live to their devices. Further information like pictures or videos can easily be streamed to the visitors’ devices.

The NOUSGroupGuide supports iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Android smartphones and tablets. The GroupGuide function can also be added to the museum’s existing multimedia guides. The only technical requirement for the NOUSGroupGuide is existing WLAN infrastructure in the museum.

We are looking for institutions who want to test the GroupGuide with us. If you are interested, please send an email to or call us at +43 (0) 1 2365 8910.