As a world-class theme park, Ocean Park strives to stay on the leading edge in offering the best guest experience through continuous innovation, and today, the Park announced a partnership with Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited (“HKBN”) on the “Ocean Park Wi-Fi Network and Mobile Application Development Plan”, which involves the creation of the first park-wide, unlimited, free high-speed Wi-Fi service in a local theme park and the introduction of innovative mobile app functions to further enhance guest experiences. The partnership targets to install over 470 Wi-Fi hotspots around the park supporting more than 40,000 mobile devices with a transmission speed of up to one gigabyte per second. To give the network added flexibility, optical fibres will be installed, making it possible to extend network bandwidth requirements to meet future demand and undergo system upgrades as technology advances. With the support of this high-speed Wi-Fi network, Ocean Park plans to introduce a mobile app, which comprises six advanced functions to take theme park enjoyment to a new level, including using a Virtual Guided Tour to deliver a holistic park experience enhanced by location-specific conservation and educational data and information. In addition, through using the Park Navigation Service and geo-analytic tools, guests can discover all the latest information on different attractions and make advance bookings for a more leisurely and enjoyable theme park experience. Ocean Park is also joining the common Wi-Fi brand, Wi-Fi.HK.
The Wi-Fi development project will proceed in two phases and will complete in about one year. The first phase is scheduled to be completed by Q3 of 2015, with free Wi-Fi access spanning the main entrance, Grand Aquarium, Ocean Express – Waterfront Station and Summit Station, the Tuxedo Restaurant as well as a number of attractions in the Park. When the second phase is completed in Q1 of 2016, free Wi-Fi service will be extended to all guest areas, including all attractions, restaurants, retail stores, theatres, queuing areas, classrooms and more. The total area covered by the service will be over 915,000 square metres, including both in-park transportation facilities such as the Ocean Express and the 1.5-kilometre long Cable Car route atop Brick Hill, as well as the brand-new waterpark set to open in 2017. To ensure guests can enjoy reliable, high-speed Wi-Fi service, a 24-hour Network Operation Centre will monitor network stability and provide real-time technical support.
Mr. Tom Mehrmann, Chief Executive of Ocean Park, noted that free Wi-Fi service is being introduced in light of the prevalence of smart mobile devices and online services. “Our guests, especially tourists from outside Hong Kong, typically spend an extended period of time to enjoy the over 80 attractions and performances we offer. Survey results show that over half of the frequent independent travellers spend four to six hours on each park visit. Our plan will not only provide guests with unlimited, free Wi-Fi service and enable them to stay better connected, it will also save them expensive international data roaming charges. Moreover, new mobile app functions will take everyone’s theme park experience to a higher level,” said Mr. Mehrmann.
Mr. William Yeung, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Owner of Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited, said, “HKBN is happy to have won this tender. As a prominent and innovative hi-speed broadband and Wi-Fi service provider, we are proud to bring top-notch Wi-Fi technology and applications to Ocean Park, a place much loved by Hong Kong people and tourists alike. Drawing on our rich experience in Wi-Fi network building for various leading enterprises across different industries, and benchmarking Wi-Fi applications from a number of world-famous theme parks, we look forward to working closely with Ocean Park to offer a leading-edge theme park experience to guests from Hong Kong and abroad.
“Ocean Park’s Wi-Fi network is designed for high speed, high density and high reliability. Over 160 kilometres of optical fibres will be laid throughout the Park, including a two-kilometre stretch across Brick Hill connecting the two data centres located in the Waterfront and the Summit respectively. The use of two data centres offers comprehensive system protection and data back-up for all servers, ensuring service stability and reliability. The network will feature the latest industry standard, IEEE 802.11ac, which supports high transmission speed up to 1 gigabit per second, as well as signal stability to meet the data demand generated by large numbers of guests simultaneously using the Wi-Fi network and the app,” Mr. Yeung added.
To further enhance guest experiences, Ocean Park and Hong Kong Broadband Network jointly developed a feature-rich and user-friendly mobile application, which will be launched by Q1 next year. Mr. Matthias Li, Deputy Chief Executive of Ocean Park, said, “Our first mobile app was launched in 2012 and has proved extremely popular with our guests. The app enables guests to receive the latest updates on our attractions and look up information on our animal ambassadors through QR codes. When the new app functions are launched, guests simply have to enable geo-location on their smart mobile devices to enjoy a virtual guided tour, which offers multi-lingual docent service as well as information on nearby animal ambassadors in the form of texts, still images and videos for a more impactful conservation education experience. The deployment of park navigation service and crowd analytics allows us to offer attraction scheduling. It also enhances crowd and human resource management, making it possible for us to satisfy guest needs and create a more convenient, richer and interactive theme park experience. Our hope is that once the free Wi-Fi network launches, more guests can take full advantage of different app functions to enjoy all our value-added services, resulting in a higher level of interaction and exchange between the Park and our guests.”
Supporting different mobile devices and platforms, the new application features the following six all-new functions:
Virtual Guided Tour: This tool offers guests a multi-lingual self-guided docent service in the vicinity of animal exhibits, providing audio, text, image and video content about animal ambassadors, their habitats and the threats they face to enrich knowledge about animal conservation
Park Navigation Service: Guests can look up estimated waiting times, as well as find the most convenient route from their current location to various attractions, thereby enabling them to make the most of their time during each visit. The app also provides the Park’s staff with real-time geographical crowd data for timely crowd management measures, such as distributing coupons to direct guests to other attractions.
Premium Pass: Guests can purchase a Premium Pass along with their admission so as to enjoy priority access to specific attractions by showing a QR Code with their mobile device. The Premium Pass also comes with in-park discount coupons and exclusive souvenirs.
E-Scheduler: Guests simply enter basic information on the day of their visit and the system will automatically schedule their itinerary for specific attractions. Once at the park, guests can simply follow the pre-defined itinerary and save waiting time for a more enjoyable park experience. As capacity is limited, this scheduling service is offered on a first-come-first-served basis.
Smart Tips: Integrating push notifications and geo-location, this function enables guests to stay informed about nearby attractions and performance schedules so they never miss all the exciting activities at the park. Guests will also be notified of promotional offers and messages from nearby retail shops and restaurants.
Buddy Finder: Guests can easily find out the exact location of family and friends by creating their own Buddy Circle.