Roundware was initially developed in 2007 (pre-smartphone apps, OMG!!) by sound artist Halsey Burgund as a technical platform for him to realize his location-sensitive, contributory audio installations. Over the years, it has evolved to incorporate more functionality as well as becoming easier to administrate and more robust.
Roundware features several core pieces of functionality:
- create a seamless location-sensitive layer of audio comprised of musical elements and participant commentary in any geographic locale
- serve individualized audio streams to users in a flexible non-linear way based on participant inputs
- collect audio from participants via iOS, Android and web-based devices
- tag collected audio with location information as well as any additional project-based metadata such as age, gender or occupation
- organize an ever-growing collection of participant contributed audio information
Roundware continues to be used for audio art installations around the world, but is also being used by cultural organizations as a new, more modern way to interact with their audiences.
This said, Roundware is not audio tour software! In some ways, Roundware is the anti-audio tour platform.
- Audio tours are traditionally about a single authoritative voice whereas Roundware is about a multitude of voices, opinions and ideas mixed together.
- Audio tours tend to be linear experiences; Roundware is based on a non-linear, flexible, participant-driven, immersive experience.
- Roundware is designed for sculpting an aesthetic experience, not for explicitly delivering educational or interpretive information.
We hope that Roundware contributes in some way to whatever it is that eventually replaces the museum audio tour. Please jump in and contribute!