Around the world in a day: Meeting animals found only in Africa, Asia, and Alaska
The ZOOM Erlebniswelt has brought the entire world to Gelsenkirchen, transforming the polar bear, lion, orangutan, and other species, into a realistic, digital experience. With the help of local telecommunications provider GELSEN-NET, Huawei has developed and implemented a visionary, comprehensive Wi-Fi network.
ZOOM Erlebniswelt is the most-visited zoo in North Rhine-Westphalia. About a million visitors each year visit the heart of the Ruhr area for the “around the world in a day” experience. More than 30 hectares have been set aside for the unique wildlife of Alaska, Africa, and Asia. Ravines, rivers, jungles, wetlands, and savannah landscapes with massive rocks have been created to provide an authentic-looking environment for approximately 900 animal “residents”.
Natural areas provide homes for more than 100 species — from the magnificent moose to the cute meerkat. The almost invisible boundaries and elaborate landscape structures enable humans and animals to experience exciting encounters with one another, so that adults and children can see the animals up close in their own environment. Visitors not only enjoy a realistic experience but also have a chance, with the new media, to engage with the wildlife and learn interesting and exciting facets of Erlebniswelt in greater detail.
This is the first zoo in Germany to develop an App that includes an interactive expedition plan with positioning capability, along with information, pictures, and videos about the animals at each point in the zoo. Further information, such as opening times, directions, prices, and even games, can also be downloaded.
The App is now being further enhanced and optimized in its second phase of development.
“Our pioneering concept is supported by a comprehensive Wi-Fi network, not only in ZOOM Erlebniswelt but also throughout the city of Gelsenkirchen”, says Thomas Dettenberg, Managing Director of GELSEN-NET Kommunikationsgesellschaft mbH.
ZOOM Erlebniswelt is pressing ahead further into the digital world and aims to offer visitors greater value. The purpose is to create a virtual world of adventure in addition to the real one — with more to enjoy and much more information.
Huawei has agreed to help in implementing greater digital focusing in the future.
“We were impressed by the experience and expertise of this Chinese technology group. Erlebniswelt also moved us to choose a business partner from Asia that is at home on this continent”, maintains Dr. Hendrik Berendson, Sales and Marketing Director, ZOOM Erlebniswelt.
Working with GELSEN-NET, Huawei intends to provide visitors with a free, comprehensive Wi-Fi network in order to realize the vision of a “digital journey around the world” within a scientific environment.
“In the future, we specifically want to use the new media to create closer integration between knowledge and adventure and to take advantage of the increased use of smartphones and current trends in technology”, claims Ulrich Köllmann, Managing Director of Stadtwerke Gelsenkirchen GmbH.
Huawei was faced with the particular challenge of implementing a Wi-Fi network that is adapted to the topography of ZOOM Erlebniswelt and unobtrusively integrated into the original landscape. The work was to be mainly performed outdoors, and the time available was just six months. The elaborate construction work was not to interfere with the animals or the visitors, and the zoo had to remain open during construction and equipment installation.
The wireless access point locations were chosen to provide ZOOM Erlebniswelt with a comprehensive Wi-Fi network, taking into consideration the natural conditions and numerous site visits that took place ahead of the installation work. All work was planned down to the finest detail. Material was procured and provided at short notice. Altogether, 112 antennae were installed. Fifty-nine of these are indoors and 53 outdoors. Forty-eight outdoor cabinets were also mounted on poles. The antennae are distributed over the three Worlds of Adventure. Asia has seven, of which three are invisible. Africa has 19 antennas, of which four are invisible. Alaska has 22 antenna sites, of which eight are invisible.
Eighteen switches are installed, along with 112 access points, and 105 of these are suspended outside. Fifty-three access points are connected using optical fiber and 59 using copper. Setting up the Wi-Fi network involved some elaborate construction work.
“The project required approximately 3,500m of underground work and about 9,400m of fiber optic cable”, said Hans Hallitzky, Deputy Sales Director, EBG Germany.
The first phase towards realizing the vision of a digital science world has now been completed. The comprehensive Wi-Fi network is the basis of the system and is available for anyone to use free of charge. Registration is easy and convenient: visitors send a free SMS and receive a reply with a password to log in.
“The ZOOM Wi-Fi network will form the basis for numerous innovations. We aim to create a space in Erlebniswelt that combines edutainment with knowledge transfer. This experience will also be enhanced with attractive content for smartphones and tablets”, says Sabine Haas, Team leader, Marketing and Communication, ZOOM Erlebniswelt.
Partnered with Huawei, ZOOM Erlebniswelt has onboard the world’s leading provider of information technology and telecommunications solutions with which to extend the network of its subsidiary, Gelsen-Net. All the work was completed within the stipulated timeframe of six months, and normal zoo activities carried on without disturbance. Animals and visitors were unaffected.
The access points have been integrated unobtrusively into the existing topography and cannot be recognized as such by visitors. ZOOM Erlebniswelt has embarked on a plan to intensify and expand its collaboration with Huawei in the coming years.