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O-DGuide works offline

O-DGuide works offline

Wednesday 10 January 2024

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After an initial connection to the Internet network, continuing to operate O-DGuide offline is completely transparent to the user, without requiring any special action such as connecting to a WiFi relay or installing an application.

There are many situations in which the Internet connection cannot be established by the visitor’s smartphone, either intermittently because the signal is of poor quality, or because the point of interest is out of range. In certain sensitive environments, you may also want the audio guide to operate in "airplane mode".

Different techniques allow an application to function offline. Most require specific actions from the user, most often complex: downloading and installing an application, connecting to a WiFi terminal, etc.

With O-DGuide, if the organizer takes care to start the tour route at a point where the Internet signal is good, everything is transparent for the user!

Everything is intuitive and fast with O-DGuide:

  • In a place where there is a signal, the user launches the audio guide in the normal way (most often by scanning a QR-Code). O-DGuide loads the audio guide data, which takes a few seconds under normal conditions. The “Loading completed” icon then appears:

  • Arrived at the visit location, the audio guide works whether there is signal or not.

Note: some of our previously developed audio guides are not yet capable of working offline.

The O-DGuide technique

O-DGuide is a PWA (Progressive Web Application) type application. This allows a "service worker" to be seamlessly installed and maintained in the user’s browser when connected to the audio guide website. The role of the particular O-DGuide service worker is to ensure that all web content necessary for the audio guide to function has been downloaded and cached locally and that this data is up to date. This way the audio guide continues to function normally in the event of signal loss.

Note that this is completely transparent to the user.

Of course, there must have been a connection at some point, even if only for a few seconds. In practice, this will be done by inviting the user to scan a QR-Code at reception, or, even more simply, on the entity’s website.

Let’s compare the techniques

PWA, WiFi or app?

  • Most PWAs do not load the entire data at once, in advance, but limit themselves to locally caching the data as it is accessed. In other words, these applications do not anticipate signal loss. To obtain the same effect as our audio guide, the user would have to have gone through all the audio guide sequences before losing the signal. This is of no interest for an application that will probably only be used for a single visit. It’s a marketing argument with no real value.
  • A WiFi network is definitely an acceptable solution indoors, but it remains expensive. This is obviously impractical on a large site. This is also not a solution for a bus, train or boat unless you have a satellite link. For the user, he must configure the connection on his smartphone, which is far from transparent.
  • An application is tedious to download and install. For the organizer, it is very expensive to develop, updating is complex and becomes impractical if the data changes often.

Our solution is economical, transparent in implementation and use and provides always up-to-date data.