Just got our new website draft live. That was one hell of a hack session :) Playframework is a lot of fun when done properly :) Check out guidedarea.com, you now can Download and try our alpha version app under "Download" tab!
Travel Survey. Quickly asked my facebook friends about what type of guide they would prefer on travel, got 20 people participating and half of them said they would prefer mobile internet or mobile app, another half would use personal guide services: https://www.facebook.com/guidedarea?sk=wall
Total market. This means (of course, the number of people asked doesn't let us to talk about any statistics really, but still) that if there would be a good guiding app, about a half of young individual travelers would at least intend to use it. So according to this research on United frequent travelers, for example, we would aim at about half on (20% to 40 %) of all travelers. Which is 10-20%. If we take this percentage out of total number of person-travels given by US government travel portal here, we'll get a number that is about 40-80 mln person-travels for US residents. Which is quite a lot. Even if we can serve 10% of that number, it's still - 4 million people-travels. Now we did not include at all at the beginning people older then 44 years old who travel the most.
VC-related remarks. Foursquare now has 15 M users and had already more then $60 M invested in it. The quick brainstorm above about Total Market shows that at least in theory this numbers can be reached for any travel-related app.
Now remembering that Travel industry as a whole has about $160 B spent on Retail and sightseeing (from the same report by US government), and rural sightseeing, for example is #4 most popular reason for travel, the total available market looks reasonable even for the large VC's to invest in.
The main concern I've heard from them (large VC's) so far was the fact, that many people tried to make tourist guides, but no-one succeed in making money: latest example being Gowalla, that got acquired "for $0" by Facebook, and Foursquare doesn't make money yet, though it is has a lot of users and businesses registered. But really no one of those who tried actually made an interactive solution that people can "play" with and that makes a good replacement for an actual human guide.
Finally, just make a mental experiment: think of where google maps (and other location services) are now and where they were a couple of years ago, now think where they will be in the future - an interactive gps based location-aware augmented reality will definitely be there, just imagine how it can possibly escape???!!! :) Visual augmented reality is rather hard to implement, but audio augmented reality that we have in mind for "guided area" seems much easier.
is a location-based service providing users with relevant information
about surroundings in a fast and convenient way. Key features include
ability to provide interactive
audio walking tours and connect
users willing to find local travel guides with those willing to serve
Every traveler needs guidance. No interactive, specific to traveler’s
needs readily available service exists now. Emergence of mobile
smartphone devices opens an opportunity to create such service.
provide anyone who has a GPS-enabled smartphone with two options: to
either use GA as an interactive guide or as a marketplace for
personal guide services. We take information about sightseeing
locations and free content from the Web, process it and deliver to
user in a form of text, audio and photo, creating audio-interfaced