The Old Acre Development Company, Ltd. (OADC) has completed extensive renovations to enhance the visitor experience at the historic Hospitaller Fortress in Acre, Israel. Winning the official tender, Acoustiguide deployed its Opus system as a key element, delivering audio throughout the exhibit. The Hospitaller Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it an important destination for both foreign and domestic tourists. It was built by the Crusaders in the 15th century and encompasses aspects of Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Baha’i history, including the Templars’ tunnels, a traditional Turkish bath and the Okashi Art Museum. More than 300,000 people visit each year, with projections of 500,000, thanks to the changes.
“Acoustiguide shares our philosophy of creating completely unique, engaging experiences,” said David Harry, Managing Director of the OADC. “Thanks to its technology, Acoustiguide helped breathe life into 5000 years of Acre’s history in the Fortress.”
Acoustiguide creates site-specific audio and multimedia content, software and custom apps delivered via white label or Acoustiguide-branded proprietary technology or commercially available mobile devices for hundreds of installations worldwide, including museums, historic homes, cultural centers, corporations and more.
The team at Acoustiguide worked with the OADC team from the initial concepts to the final implementation. Video presentations are shown on walls and floors throughout the fortress, without sound. Every visitor receives the Acoustiguide Opus technology in order to fully “participate” in the Fortress experience. Acoustiguide’s apps sync precisely with the presentation in 10 languages. Its RF sensors are installed unobtrusively throughout the site, blending in without damaging or detracting from the architecture. They automatically trigger the audio on the portable guiding devices when a visitor enters a particular area, providing a visitor-centric experience. Live actors also interact with the visitors, so the headphones are designed to fit over the ears without covering them, enhancing both the real-time and recorded experience. The system also synchronizes with group tours, accommodating up to 16 groups at a time, allowing every visitor to fully enjoy the experience.
Ori Abramson, architect, designer and founder of Exhivision in Israel, headed the design team, overseeing the program development, concept and design for the renovation, a project that has taken almost 20 years. “We created and built systems to deliver content that would enrich the visitor experience while maintaining the integrity of the site itself,” said Abramson.
Abramson and his team planned and designed a system that integrated innovative display components without touching the structure itself. They built a complex, below-floor-level infrastructure for electricity and lighting to support video screens, loudspeakers, amplifiers and sensors. They created a completely automated display, integrating video, audio and Acoustiguide guiding systems, that works with location-based technology, without visitors having to initiate any multimedia interactions.
“We take a comprehensive approach to creating a fun, simple, but meaningful and even educational experience that reflects each site’s unique vision,” said Israel Gal, CEO of Acoustiguide. “We coordinated everything with the OADC to develop the multilingual content and the delivery so nothing would detract from the site itself. Visitors seamlessly experience the audio and video without having to do a thing. All they have to do is enjoy and learn.”