Pure AV acted as the AV supplier for this £2 million project. For the first time in the history of the zoo, visitors are now able to access parts of the zoo for free including the elephant house, coffee shop and a retail area.
Chester Zoo approached three companies to pitch for the project, deciding to work with us based on our product demonstration, track record of delivering projects and cost effective suggestions for implementation. We started with a clear set of requirements – enabling straightforward project management from day one.
The main reason for the investment was to manage the flow of visitors at the entrance to the zoo, particularly at busy times. A key part of our role was to install an integrated bank of screens (16 in total) that would guide customers and members to different areas of ticketing and respond to any increase in footfall during busy times. These screens would also act as a first chance to introduce visitors to themes and areas within the park and run promotions.
An important part of the brief was that staff would have a system where they could re-designate gates at a moment’s notice. We created a solution, run from either the central office or by a member of staff working at the entrance, that could change the designation of gates instantly (for example if several school parties arrived at once).
We designed a system based on Crestron Control with a built in web server, integrated with Chester Zoo’s existing IT infrastructure. This allows the zoo to update the screens via any computer web browser on their network. Our technical team also developed an app so that all screens could be changed using an iPod touch.
Selecting the right screens to use proved to be a challenge. Because of the low height of the entrance canopy we needed to install relatively small (32”) screens that were high definition, weatherproof and in certain areas readable in bright sunlight. We decided on Aqualite screens, which fitted the brief precisely along with 16 Brightsign media players sending the high definition images to each screen.
This final fit was done just before Easter weekend, a date which sets the tone for the success of the zoo during that year. Chester Zoo now has a fully integrated system with a clear flow through the entrance at all times.