The final piece of the McKinney Convention & Visitors Bureau’s “Visit McKinney Texas” Smartphone app is now functional, allowing users to view information on the app in a new way via a feature called “Augmented Reality.”
This “Augmented Reality” app tool, accessible from the “Near Me” button on the app’s home screen, allows users to hold their phones in front of them as if they were taking a photo with it. Small windows containing restaurants and other points of interest that are near the user will pop-up on the screen. As the app user turns in place or walks, the windows will change instantly to represent businesses in the direction they are pointing the phone, according to Remco de Rooij, president and CEO of app developer Triangle Studios.
“Let’s say you were looking for a restaurant, but there are about 15 different ones around you, and you can’t decide which one you’d like to try or which ones you’d even like,” said de Rooij, said. “Simply point your phone in the direction of a restaurant you would like to know more about, and the information is presented to you automatically.”
The Smartphone app, which launched for the iPhone and iPad in late May and for Droid in early July, is currently averaging about 160 downloads per week. The new Visit McKinney Texas app is downloadable, free of charge, from the Apple App Store and Android Market, and allows users to access information about and links to McKinney restaurants, overnight accommodations, attractions, events and more.
“We have about 1400 app users so far and we’re getting great feedback from those who have downloaded it. We are so pleased that people are finding it to be so useful and they’re telling their friends,” Bayes said. “And this growth has mainly been via word of mouth. We chose not to actively advertise the app much outside our community until the Augmented Reality piece was in place. Now that it is, we’re confident downloads will increase as we start spreading the word on a wider basis.”
Bayes is excited about this new Augmented Reality feature.
“The user simply touches one of the small icons displayed on the phone screen to access a description of the business, link to its website or even place a phone call to the business,” Bayes said. “We know users will really enjoy this feature and find it helpful in getting around McKinney and in locating what they are looking for.”
Some businesses in town are creating coupons just for app users, a feature Bayes hopes app users will find helpful and appealing.
“It’s always nice when you can save some money, especially in this economy,” Bayes said. “More of our local businesses are deciding to include coupons, so we hope new app users will be patient as we get them uploaded.”
Because the app is new and due to the nature of it including events and restaurants, both of which are subject to change any time, the MCVB asks that users remember to close the app after each use, then re-launch the app when ready to use it again.
“Existing app users will need to download the upgrade from the Apple App Store or Android Market for the Augmented Reality feature to function on their phones. Other updates, such as new businesses, coupons, and event listings are available each time a user closes the app, then reopens it,” Bayes said.
For questions about using the Visit McKinney Texas app, please contact the MCVB at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-649-8499.