Thursday, 26 September 2019 01:18

Aruba partners with NSW zoos to deliver on-site wireless connectivity

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Visitors face to face with residents of Taronga Zoo, Sydney Visitors face to face with residents of Taronga Zoo, Sydney

Network solutions provider Aruba is partnering with Sydney’s Taronga Zoo and Dubbo’s Western Plains Zoo deliver networking solutions to both sites, enabling a range of onsite features including wireless connectivity and location-based services to transform visitor experiences.

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, says analytics and wayfinding via its technology will provide Taronga’s customers with real-time, geo-fenced notifications about nearby attractions and services, creating a more tailored and educational experience for guests as they traverse the many exhibits at each site.

“While, close to 2,000 staff and volunteers of Taronga will utilise the Aruba network in their daily workflows, providing the team with real-time information about guest traffic around the grounds, in turn helping to improve operational and marketing strategies from now into the future,” Aruba says.

The investment forms part of Taronga’s significant transformation program underway, and follows a commitment by Taronga and the NSW Government to co-fund a multi-million dollar visitor experience program for both Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo, which is seeking to transform visitors' experiences, boosting wildlife tourism offerings for NSW and fostering what Aruba describes as “unparalleled conservation education outcomes”.

Additionally, the development of a range of other educational and conservation-based facilities are underway, delivering important new wildlife exhibits at both zoos. In total, US$200 million has been committed over a 10-year program to revitalise Taronga’s Zoos, producing what has “compelling animal exhibits” that inspire visitors to commit to a shared future for wildlife and people.

One of the key projects within the overall transformation program is the network, and Aruba’s roll-out within Taronga and its new recently completed Wildlife Retreat.

Aruba says Taronga Zoo will use the power of its access points, switches and the software stack to implement, monitor and manage the network, which will also deliver location-based services with Aruba beacons and Meridian app to visitors.

The analytics and wayfinding will support Taronga’s customer application, providing real-time, geo-fenced notifications about nearby attractions and services, creating what has been classed as a more tailored and educational experience for guests as they traverse through the many exhibits within the zoo.

Internally, close to two thousand staff and volunteers of Taronga will utilise the Aruba network in their daily workflows, providing them with real-time information about guest traffic around the grounds, in turn helping to improve operational and marketing strategies from now into the future.

“We are incredibly proud to be partnering with an organisation as important to animal conservation as Taronga Zoo and its sister site Western Plains Zoo. This is an exciting milestone for Aruba,” says Pat Devlin, Director of Aruba for South Pacific.

“Taronga are recognised as a global leader in its field and we’re thrilled to be working with Taronga to improve the experience for visitors and staff, assisting in the incredibly valuable conservation education they provide to local and global guests.

“Not only have we delivered a robust network for an Australian cultural icon, we’re now part of the Zoos’ vision for protection of wildlife and a sustainable future for our planet.”

The roll-out within Western Plains Zoo is set to begin soon and has the potential to impact how the zoo tracks endangered animals leveraging Aruba’s network to support augmented and virtual reality technologies.

Paul White, Head of Information and Digital Technology for the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, says: “For a zoo to remain relevant, it must grow and evolve. Here at Taronga, we aim to continually improve our animal habitats while striving to enhance our visitors’ experiences.

“The support provided by Aruba’s local team has been exceptional, and we’re already seeing the benefits of their networks to areas such as marketing, community conservation and our guest experience teams, all using the analytics and data provided as well as new ways to deliver our message to our guests.

“As leaders in conservation, we protect wildlife and empower people to secure a sustainable future for our planet. We are cloud focused and have plans for AI and Machine Learning to assist our researchers and conservation work, supporting our vision to secure a shared future for wildlife and people. Aruba has proved to already be an important partner to help us see this vision start to come to life.”

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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