Video Surveillance & Physical Security Industry Viewpoints
January 14th, 2020
Author: Anshul Mathur

How Theme Parks Can Maximize Investments in Video Surveillance for Business Intelligence

Reaping Rewards of Theme Park Surveillance Investments

Amusement parks serve thousands upon thousands of visitors every day and are consistently growing with more elaborate and exciting rides – costing several millions of dollars. The next level of success is undeniably tapping into existing resources that are already capturing huge amounts of actionable, quantifiable data and leveraging it to deliver enjoyable visitor experiences within the park estate. Theme parks can thus, attract return visits and drive word of mouth recommendations for generating new visitations and higher revenue streams.

For any theme park, the ultimate goal is to provide a memorable, exciting and engaging experience for guests: While in the park, visitors should be feel fully immersed in the park experience.

I argue that video surveillance technology is a key enabler of this experience: Theme parks commonly deploy networks of video surveillance cameras to monitor facilities, parking areas, exhibits, park rides, etc. The cameras augment the security staff’s ability to remotely monitor extensive park areas from within a security control center, enabling personnel to watch video feeds in real-time, to observe developing situations, and review recorded video for post-event investigation, when a threat or incident occurs.

As theme parks strive to become safer and smarter,  they can maximize their investment in video surveillance by enhancing their existing systems with AI-driven video content analytics software as a complementary technology. Video intelligence software identifies, classifies and indexes objects in surveillance video footage to make it searchable, actionable and quantifiable. Leading video intelligence software solutions can filter objects in video footage with speed and precision based on object classifications, such as cars, delivery trucks, buses and coaches, motorcycles, bicycles, women, men, children, and animals. The speed, paths, direction, and dwell durations of objects can also be detected.

Operators can use video analysis software to search through video footage and filter objects based on their classes and attributes, including face recognition, appearance similarity, vehicle or person clothing color, and size. Obviously, these functions are useful for security purposes such as locating missing visitors or reviewing footage to extract investigative evidence – but video footage contains valuable information for other business units, such as marketing, retail, events, and operations.

Collecting Trend Data

Video intelligence software combines and analyzes the content of video surveillance footage; over time it aggregates video metadata and delivers visualizations,  such as heatmaps, dashboards, and business intelligence reports that provide all the business groups within the organization insights into everyday activity, trends and patterns. By leveraging previously untouched metadata, managers can powerfully increase efficiencies and ensure seamless visitor experiences.

Responding in the Present

Once indexed, video metadata can be used for configuring intelligent alerts, triggering real-time calls to action when certain objects or behaviors are detected, or when anomalous activity occurs. Count-based alerts, for example, send notifications when the number of objects in a certain area or building exceeds a pre-defined limit. A human operator configures the rules that reflect what’s “normal” and rule-based alerts are triggered by the video analysis software whenever something anomalous occurs. Count-based alerts can be used to proactively deploy staff when crowds start to form in specific locations to redirect traffic or respond to emergency situations, or alert maintenance staff when a threshold of visitors entering a restroom has been crossed, so that facilities can be cleaned efficiently on an “as-required” basis.

Planning for the Future

Operations managers may want to evaluate visitor traffic at specific entrances and exits over the course of a day, week, month or any span of time. Gaining valuable insight as to when visitors enter or exit the park facilities, and from where. They may also want to understand which pathways are most common for pedestrians; the durations of dwell times around concession stands, advertisements and retail displays; the exhibits or theme park rides where people tended to congregate and dwell and the times of day they attracted the largest crowds.

Marketing, concessions and operations teams use this business intelligence to make informed decisions that increase efficiency when it comes to staffing entrances, ordering and distributing supplies for eateries, scheduling maintenance, directing traffic or opening overflow parking lots.

Optimizing Retail, Restaurant, café and kiosk Operations

Retail gift stores, restaurants, cafés and kiosk areas provide important revenue streams for theme parks. Video content analysis assists retailers in improving many aspects of those businesses, such as marketing, operations, and merchandising. For example, video analysis heatmaps help retailers understand where customers are spending time in their store (or on the theme park estate) and, based on product interaction data, which products are most popular.

Managers can analyze patterns of how many, how frequently and for how long customers stop at a sign, kiosk, or merchandise counter, or the store aisles where customers tend to visit and/or linger.

Operators can not only review trend reports, they can also get real-time count-based alerts if higher than expected numbers of people are detected near a checkout line – and thus deploy additional counter clerks to keep lines moving and customers happy.

Similarly, management can identify staff if they are wearing a color-coded uniform, for example, to evaluate whether staff are adequately dispersed throughout the store for optimal customer engagement.

Personalized Customer Attention

Today’s theme parks are increasingly personalizing their visitors’ experience to improve brand loyalty and drive revenues. Where facial recognition is allowed and with consumers’ consent, theme parks can offer loyalty programs and perks, tracking VIP customers to offer individualized engagement. Using the same facial recognition technology that can alert security staff when a face match for a suspect on a watchlist enters the park or a retail store within the park, staff can be alerted when a VIP visitor arrives and proactively engage that visitor.

Ensuring Customer Satisfaction

Delivering a positive customer experience is inherently connected to traffic and occupancy statistics. That is, knowing how many people are in a park or entering a park at any given time enables the venue operators to maintain adequate staffing (at ticketing windows, security checkpoints, rides, etc.), security and inventory to satisfy visitors. There are a variety of business requirements under the umbrella of a theme park – both customer-facing and behind the scenes – that drive a positive customer experience, including:

  • Retail and gift shops
  • Restaurants, cafes and stalls
  • Theater and live events
  • Animal exhibits and care facilities
  • Parking lots and ticketing counters
  • Ride control rooms
  • Security and safety facilities

The more business intelligence that the venue operator has at their disposal, the better equipped they are to make intelligent and impactful decisions that drive customer satisfaction and a seamless visitor experience.

Gathering Business Intelligence for All Departments

As explained in a previous blog post on physical security for entertainment venues, video footage contains a treasure trove of valuable data that can help theme parks increase public safety and drive operational efficiency. In this blog post we’ve discussed how video content analysis can also optimize operations, visitor satisfaction and, ultimately, revenues by investing in video content analysis.

Want to learn more about how security, operations, and business intelligence can be optimized for extensive campuses, from theme parks to universities or even Olympic villages? Discover how this leading U.S. university campus transformed based on video intelligence, in this complimentary case study.

More on video analytics for hospitality and entertainment here.