Zoos have long been an important source of entertainment and information for children, educating them about various animals and birds that cannot be found in the densely populated concrete jungles we live in. But for some reason, the excitement of seeing and learning about animals and birds gradually wanes as children grow into adults.
The tech and smartdevice revolution has also made it increasingly difficult for visitors to really appreciate the zoo experience. These devices enable visitors to quickly search for any species online, to gain a better understanding of how they live through online information and videos. So how do zoo owners go about addressing this problem, to engage children and adults once more?
Here are five ways zoos can use the latest technologies to enhance their customer experience and attract more visitors:
Zoos are full of fascinating creatures, and yet visitors get access to very little information on each animal. Only tit bits of information are available, displayed on boards around the exhibit area.
iBeacons placed by enclosures would make zoos far more interactive and informative. As visitors approach an exhibit, they could access a page dedicated to the relevant animal, beamed to an app installed on their device. This page could include general information, as well as personal information on the particular animal they are observing. Imagine walking up to a pair of monkeys and being told which one of them is playful, and which is grumpy.
Zoos can work with mobile app developers to create a wearable-compatible app. This could trigger notifications to visitors when an event is happening at one of the exhibits, such as feeding time for an infant animal or a special show about to begin. The same wearables can also allow users to check in to particular locations in the zoo, to access more information on the type of animals currently available to see.
Using drones in a zoo could scare the animals. However as drones evolve, more silent models are being manufactured, which can keep noise levels low to prevent causing a disturbance. These drones could support zoo staff, by keeping an eye on the visitors and animals. In the event of an accident, they could deploy quick measures by releasing medical kits for visitors.
VR technology is still in the development phase, but providers are promising that users will be available to try them soon, either this year or next. Zoos could harness this technology to create virtual safari rides for visitors, giving them the experience of living in the jungle from the comfort of a room in the zoo. Afterwards, the visitors could be taken to see the actual animals in their exhibits.
One of the highlights of a trip to the zoo for most visitors and children is feeding the animals - even if it isn’t permitted by the administration! Giving visitors the ability to feed the animals remotely could solve this problem.
A few lucky visitors could be given access to a kiosk system, allowing them to feed their favourite animals without putting their life in danger. This would also help to prevent visitors throwing junk food for the animals, which isn’t good for their health.
These are just five ways in which technology could be used to enhance the experience of zoo visitors. If you have any other ideas on how to transform zoos, why not let us know? Tweet us at @hedgehoglab to share your thoughts.