A theme park was always looking for ways to enhance the customer experience, and minimizing wait times at attractions and food service outlets was one of the key concerns. Tracking and analyzing visitor behavior could potentially let management address it. The first step would be to have the analytics software look at things like advanced ticket sales, weather forecasts and previous attendance records to help management make staffing decisions several days in advance.
Collecting and analyzing data could also improve day to day operations. If equipped with the right kinds of information, the control center could make informed decisions about where to place staffing resources. If the line at a water ride was getting too long, management could add staff and launch more boats. If the line at a station was getting too long, management could send costumed characters to hand out menus and entertain the guests, thus making the wait less painful.
To track where visitors were and what they were doing, park management would need to gather data from devices like surveillance cameras, food service cash registers, and ticketing machines. But the plan would also require placing some of these devices in locations where trenching and installing new cable connections would be both disruptive and expensive.
One of Advantech B+B's value-added resellers provided the park operators with B+B Spectre cellular routers, which can provide wireless cellular Internet connections for both local area networks and individual devices. With multiple built-in hardware interfaces, the cellular routers are able to aggregate disparate protocols and technologies that include Wi-Fi, Ethernet, RS232/422/485 and even Modbus, making it possible to give virtually any data networking device a wireless connection. The routers provide plenty of bandwidth for video applications, which was particularly valuable to the theme park. With no need for cabled data connections, a new piece of equipment could be placed virtually anywhere, and it could put to work on the same day that it was delivered.