Smartphones

VERBA uses smartphones. Or tablets.

Firstly, this is because each visitor owns a smartophone, probably equipped with a headset to improve the listening quality. By using their own smartphones, visitors avoid having to rent some new and unfamiliar system from a tourist service, which normally requires leaving ID documents or other deposits. This solution also avoids wasting time queuing to obtain audio-guide devices. Hence smartphones are more intuitive, cheaper and indeed smarter than any other device designed to do the same job.

Because the smartphone is yours, you are already perfectly familiar with its functions, as well as capable of downloading, installing and using an app. Furthermore, your smartphone can always determine your position and orientation, thanks to its antennas connected to satellite, phone and Wi-Fi networks.
That’s all that’s needed. VERBA apps run on three different operative systems, so you’ll be able to find the appropriate version of VERBA on your App Store.
The VERBA team is working with other companies in order to bring new contents to the audience. As a result, you will probably also find VERBA apps distributed by our partners, such as Mondadori Electa for VERBA’s first edition: VERBA Appia.

Android

Android

The Android version of VERBA Appia is downloadable from the app store for Android smartphones. Find the app store icon on your display, tap it and search for VERBA once you reach the store. Here you will find VERBA’s different content proposals, some free of charge, and others at a very affordable price.

Apple

Apple

The iOS version of VERBA Appia is downloadable from the Apple App Store. You can download VERBA for both iPhone and iPad, and it works on any version of these devices. We suggest using VERBA in combination with a high-quality headset due to noises present on the road, but especially because of the improved audio quality that will greatly increase your sensation of being immersed in our stories and narrations. Voices, sounds and music are combined together to give you the best possible listening experience.

winphone 800

WinPhone

The Windows Phone platform is the third version of the VERBA apps.
If you own a Windows Phone, you can easily access your store and download the appropriate VERBA app.
Once again, we strongly recommend using a good-quality headset. As mentioned for Apple devices, the feeling of diving into our stories is all the more exciting and immersive when experienced on a high-quality headset.

Localisation

localization

Your smartphone is equipped with sensors that are able to detect your position on the Earth’s surface.
First of all, the GPS unit receives signals from at least three satellites and uses their relative positions to calculate your geographical coordinates almost exactly. The well-known Google Maps application, for example, uses this system to localise you on the world map and track your movements. By using these sensors, together with a gyroscope and compass, Verba is able to determine your position and send you stories and messages that are relevant to where you are in that moment. But Verba does even more. If you belong to a Verba group, you can also see the relative positions of your fellow group members by using the app’s radar function, allowing you to easily reach them or let them reach you.

Georeferencing

geolocalization

Each Verba message is georeferenced.
This means that you can only listen to or leave messages if you are in the location where your Verba app in enabled. Each message in the Verba cloud is geolocalised, including the messages you send. As a result, every message has a range, and it can only be heard within the extent of that area.
In Verba there are no lists of contents or summaries. Message are everywhere around you. So you have to visit every location and every Point of Interest to discover all the stories that you can listen to, as well as who left you messages there.
The only alternative way to listen to your messages again is by logging into Verba’s social website.

Contents

We are all driven by stories.
Stories accompany us throughout our lives..
Stories are the tales we heard from our parents and relatives when we were kids.
Stories were reported to us during our education at school.
Stories fill our literature, our arts, our movies, and even our websites.
Stories give us the opportunity to live in a parallel world, where what we see today is enriched with accounts of the past. Just close your eyes, listen our stories, and then open your eyes again – you will magically discover that what you saw before you heard the story has now changed.
Hearing is believing!

Tiles

tiles

For Verba, the Earth’s surface is divided into tiles. And each tile contains stories and messages.
Depending on which tile you happen to be in, you will receive the audio files anchored to that tile.
Due to the fact that GPS units used by smartphones have a ground resolution of a few metres, we have defined each tile as having a diameter of 25 metres (= 80 feet). Therefore, as you move from one tile to another, the audio files associated with the previous tile are cleared from your phone, and new audio files are loaded. Nonetheless, Verba is still flexible: if you are listening to a Verba story, you will continue to hear it right to the end, even if you cross over into a different tile in the meantime. The same also applies if you are listening to a playlist.

Proximity

You can enjoy Verba’s story-telling regardless of your position. When you approach a Point of Interest (POI), Verba will notify you through your smartphone’s vibration or speaker, letting you know that there are new contents to hear.
Content tiles are rationally arranged on the terrain to avoid overlaps. Verba will inform you which POI is closest to you. But you can also see the position of other POIs by using the compass, allowing you to move freely towards the one that you prefer. Verba will then load the audio messages related to your closest POI, letting you hear your favourite stories or leave your messages.
Messages have no proximity. You are free to leave them wherever you want within the app’s area. They become the centre of the content tile, so if you are within the range of that tile, you will be able to hear those messages.

Authoring System

Verba’s editors work with a special authoring system that enables them to arrange the audio files on the map and create playlists..
Editors can easily define new points of interest on the map and assign them new audio files, or freely move them around the map. Public messages left on Verba need to be checked according to so-called “netiquette” standards, a colloquial term referring to the social conventions that apply to our interactions over the Internet. Basically, here it means that each one of us has to respect the rest of the audience.
However, we will never remove messages from Verba’s users, even in cases where netiquette conventions are violated. The accessibility of any potentially offensive messages will merely be reduced, so that their target is limited to the user’s group or, in extreme cases, to the user only.

Editor

In a Google-like interface, editors can easily select and drop audio files in the visible range of a Point of Interest. It’s as easy as clicking, dragging and dropping a file on the map. Editors can assign the file a new name, which will be the title that users will read on their smartphone displays.
Editors can also create playlists. A playlist is a group of audio files that can be heard one after the other.
Editing sections are divided by languages. But there are lots of tools that facilitate the editors’ job, such as the “copy” tool that enables them to duplicate from one language to the other POIs.

Manager

This specific app enables the editors’ supervisors and controllers to hear the public messages left by Verba’s users, and evaluate them according to netiquette conventions. No messages will be deleted. No personal expressions will be lost. If a Verba controller comes across a problematic message, she or he will merely limit the visibility of the message to the user’s group, or even just to the user.
In this way, each of Verba’s users will always be sure to find her or his messages, while also ensuring respect for the other users.

3D Headphones

neoh

We are working hard to develop a totally new way of telling stories, using 3D sounds instead of the well-known stereo or surround audio files.
3D sounds enable Verba’s editors to place each sound or voice source in a specific location. In the next versions of Verba, users will be able to move freely through a 3D soundscape, listening to dialogues and stories containing audio sources positioned in different places.
For example, the company , 3D Sounds Labshas recently released Neoh, its first natively 3D headset. Neoh is equipped with a special chipset that positions each sound source in the 3D space and maintains that position in real time, even when the user turns around or moves her or his head. This is something unprecedented and impossible to achieve with surround or stereo technology. So stay tuned! We’ll let you know as soon as the first example is ready.