Wireless Technology Comes to Theme Parks

By Joseph C. Panettieri  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Wireless technology tracks children throughout theme park; Texas rings up $1 billion in online revenue.

I've been known to investigate Disneyworld's latest technologies during my annual pilgrimage to the Mouse House. But maybe it's time to book a trip to Legoland Denmark instead, to explore a rather interesting Wi-Fi/RFID application used in the theme park.

Indeed, Bluesoft Inc., KidSpotter A/S and Legoland have deployed a combination Wi-Fi/RFID child-tracking application within Legoland Denmark. As one of Europe's largest amusement parks, Legoland welcomes more than 1.6 million visitors annually. Visitors now have the option to rent BlueSoft's AeroScout wireless tags that children wear as wristbands within the park. If they become separated, parents simply send a text message from their mobile phone, and receive an automated response telling them the accurate location of their child. According to a spokesman for Bluesoft, the solution is much less expensive—not to mention more accurate—than traditional RFID deployments because it uses an existing Wi-Fi network.

Too good to be true? Perhaps. I haven't seen the park first-hand. But it sounds like the perfect excuse for a European Vacation. Look kids: Big Ben … Parliament!

Deal 2 – Push Security Out the Door
Wondering if you or your customers should outsource their security management processes? I explored that question when I spoke with a top source within VeriSign's Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) practice on Monday. He made some grand claims about VeriSign winning several major security contracts. I was skeptical…until I did some digging.

True believers in the MSSP model include Hyatt International Corp. The hotel giant recently outsourced its network security devices to VeriSign, which monitors firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs) and other online connections for customers. Three Hyatt International sites—including the company's Chicago headquarters and hotels in South America and the Middle East—currently use VeriSign's security services. Additional Hyatt locations in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Mexico City should be online with VeriSign later this year. Financial companies are also banking on VeriSign. Indeed, 40 of the country's top 100 banks and 42 of the top 100 insurance companies (ranked by revenue) entrust their networks to VeriSign's security expertise.

Two more big deals

Deal 3 – Deep in the Heart of Texas
With an assist from BearingPoint Inc., the official Web site of Texas (www.texasonline) recently surpassed $1 billion in state revenue collection. The site, built in 2000, allows state residents to renew driver licenses and vehicle registrations, pay parking tickets or file court documents in real-time.

Technical details about the site are sketchy, but insiders say a key industry standard, known as LegalXML, paved the way for online applications that integrate with Texas' court systems. LegalXML (www.legalxml.org) produces standards for electronic court filing, court documents, legal citations, transcripts, criminal justice intelligence systems, and others.

Deal 4 – Filling a Software Vacancy
Hilton continues to roll out more point-of-sale applications from Hospitality Solutions International Inc. (www.hsi-solutions.com). A key technology source within Hilton has worked with HIS for more than eight years, and has high praise for the software running on IBM Corp.'s SurePOS hardware. The source says Hilton will soon evaluate wireless handhelds for poolside food and drink orders.

I've got lots more details about Hilton's POS strategy. Watch for the info in eWeek's May 10 edition of Channel Solutions.

About Contract Watch: Each week, this column examines customer engagements that are stirring the channel, and the solutions providers behind them. Our goal is to strip away the hype and tell you what's really selling—and what isn't—in today's IT marketplace. Send your tips to my e-mail address below.

Joseph C. Panettieri has covered Silicon Valley since 1992. He is editorial director of the New York Institute of Technology . Write to him at joe_pan5@yahoo.com.


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