How IoT Will Redefine the Theme Park Experience


The digital economy is disrupting business and information technology unlike anytime in modern history. This is enabled by the consumerization of technology, global/social connectedness, empowered consumers and digital businesses with low barriers to entry. This has put IT in a balancing act, having to support the old and improve operational stability and rapidly exploit newer technologies and operating models including highly disruptive approaches.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an intriguing idea. As more and more people use mobile devices and wearable technology, each person will walk around with a variety of sensors and beacons that throw off signals. This creates the opportunity to invent an environment that reacts to those signals in a highly personalized way. Mobile devices have emerged as a key channel for customers who want a seamless, superior user experience through all available channels including mobile, to deliver innovative omni-channel experiences and create growth by converting customer interactions into revenue opportunities.

Theme parks are also maneuvering towards usage of actionable data—including social media, big data, sentiment analysis, business intelligence, and other capabilities—to foster more personalized and satisfying engagements for digital context solutions. Creating superior, seamless, context-aware mobile user experiences is leading to a shift towards a new engagement model called ‘User modeling and personalization at the theme parks’ where the interaction with end users will involve use of sensors that detect motion and biometric data as part of a new class of mobile applications.

Key Business Needs

Content Delivery: The main attraction for the visitors to explore theme parks/amusement centers always remains to capture joyful experiences/memories through things they have never seen. And they always vie to go with those memories recorded. So, improved quality of services, reduced networking costs and video optimization remain top business need to respond to the demand for online and mobile video.

Content Management: As visitors go multi-channel, with the need to share experiences and memories on a real-time basis, they tend to leverage multiple platforms for content (photos, videos, chats, etc.) distribution. Therefore, offering a set of solutions to increase availability of multi-model channels for content management remains a top pie to serve.

Audience Engagement: With growing footfalls to cater to, it becomes not only imperative but mandatory to grow audience interests and thus monetize users. This makes it interesting to develop such prototypes and solution models that personalize their experiences via smart profiles to monitor audience interests.

Therefore successful development of a themed attraction is a combination of storytelling, creative designs, audience analysis and planning in the arena of connected landscape. Wearable computing has the potential to deliver a rich variety of engaging user experiences that enhance everyday activities and situations through context-sensitive media and interaction.

A possibility where user modeling and personalization finds a need is through a series of applications which theme parks/amusement centers can deploy to focus on having a modular solution that delivers service packages to an ecosystem of devices (IoT devices). Service packages such as checklists, video streaming, outdoor navigation, indoor navigation, geographic boundaries, recognition, scheduling, and location reporting provide functions related to sensors and devices, and interconnect with other services and systems.

In Situated Digital Experiences, IoT phenomenon intends to identify below cohesiveness for a connected and fulfilled experience:

Interoperability: Data transmission and unified communication of wearable computing devices with theme park visitors’ applications may inevitably experience the ecosystem model while the visitor is already engaged in some ongoing experience or activity, for example while talking to friends in a restaurant or choosing new clothes in the theme park mall or taking a ride.

Right Attribute Modeling: The emergence of Experience Design which draws on traditional disciplines such as architecture and graphics design, but which is increasingly engaging with digital technologies. This study leads to a provisional model called “right attribute modeling” that predicts which compelling experiences will tend to involve stimulation of the senses and imagination, challenge and self-expression, and/or social interaction.

Experiential patterns through gamification: Enablement of constructing proof-of-concept wearables through various user heuristic evaluations. Visitors’ applications amplified with a gamification element encourages them to collect “stickers” by visiting locations within the theme park/amusement center. Visitors then receive badges that they could share on their social media accounts. This helps the theme park/amusement center benefit from each new post.

During the evaluation of the consulting model for wearables and mobile computing implementation, I envisage following use case scenario:

• A majority of visitors have a device on hand while in a park. Half of those visitors will take and share pictures on social media. How do theme parks benefit? One of the most obvious ways is exposure. When a visitor posts a photo of themselves enjoying a particular ride or posing with a favorite character, that’s some of the best word of mouth marketing that theme parks/amusement centers can generate.

• Availability of location-based tagging in theme parks/amusement centers on the major social networks/ augmented reality photo stations, which allows visitors to check-in or note their location when they post.

• Provision of wearables/wrist-bands creating ultra-personalization experiences through RFID bands linked with online profiles for each visitor. These bands can be scanned at theme parks/amusement centers kiosks to access advance ride bookings, receive customer service, and make purchases.

• Access to resort hotels, gift stores to buy souvenirs or buy food at restaurants through wearables/wrist-bands and automation of the customer journey mapping analysis based on wearables/wrist-bands data. This might include the steps the visitors go through in engaging with products, rides, characters, retail experience, advertising, or a service, or any combination. The more touchpoints theme parks/amusement centers are able to instrument, the more complicated—but insightful—customer behavior analytics can be drawn and more engaging customer experiences/personalization can be developed.

On one hand, theme park/amusement center management recognizes that a permanent process of developing and implementing innovations (hardware) is a highly important factor for attracting new customers and keeping them returning at a steady flow. On the other hand, they also begin to understand that discovery of various customer experiences and emotions leads the way to the development of new markets as well as linking the available customers to the specific theme parks.

With a vast array of data available from wide sources such as data from aerial surveys, camera traps and radio collar, wearable devices, smart phones, loyalty card vouchers, business cards, payment cards, visit maps, restaurant/zoo reservation tokens, web based kiosks, Web 2.0 and social media, multimedia files etc., IoT aura theme parks/amusement centers are helping generate and analyze real time data for monitoring long-term trends in tropical biodiversity, guide conservation actions and enabling superior customer experiences. The objective is to turn these signals into personalized recommendations served via customer marketing systems. As theme parks/amusement centers generate and capture more data, they will be able to do more predictive analytics.


Rahul Goswami is a Certified Consultant in Sales & Marketing Advisory services and works in the areas of Global Sales and Solution Support, Bangalore (India). 


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