Friday 6 December 2019

Geolocation project puts visitors on McLaren Vale map in real time

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McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association (MVGWTA) has partnered with South Australian industrial automation design, delivery and support business, SAGE Automation, to deliver a technology solution that captures tourism visitation numbers to McLaren Vale in real time.

McLaren Vale is recognised within the greater Fleurieu region in the context of visitation data. As a result, accurately measuring and reporting tourism metrics has previously not been possible.

In an effort to better understand tourism visitation to the region and to provide services and experiences that appropriately cater to visitors year round, MVGWTA engaged SAGE Automation to identify a safe, secure and effective technology solution to collect insights via Bluetooth and WiFi detection.

Utilising technology originally developed to monitor Adelaide’s traffic network for the Department of Transport, Planning and Infrastructure, SAGE Automation developed a dashboard system to report metrics collected by fifteen solar-powered beacon units installed across the McLaren Vale Geographical Indication (GI).

The SAGE Bluetooth detection units work by sensing the unique MAC address of smart devices. A MAC address is assigned to every Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chip produced in the world.

The solar-powered beacons can correlate detections of uniquely identified visitors carrying a smart device within a 50-70m radius. The unit does not capture personably identifiable information, nor requires any input or action from the visitor or business.

Data collected by the beacons is reported in real-time to a dashboard displaying an estimate of visitors to a location at a particular time, as well as an estimate of the number of visits per site over time and peak times.

MVGWTA general manager Jennifer Lynch recognises the importance of understanding visitation data to provide exceptional tourism experiences and inform business decision-making.

“This is the first time that SAGE’s technology will be used in a tourism context; the application of this data insight will enable a greater understanding of McLaren Vale’s tourism landscape and visitor economy,” said Ms Lynch.

“The collected tourism data is critical in informing business decision-making, grant applications, biosecurity regulations as well as infra, soft and superstructure developments and long-term planning – both at a regional and individual business level.”

General manager of transport at SAGE Automation, Damian Hewitt believes the collaboration between the two businesses will provide many benefits to the region.

“McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association has shown real leadership in adapting the use of the technology to maximise the economic benefit to their members. This type of technology is the foundation for using artificial intelligence that will lead to significant community benefit,” said Mr Hewitt.

“These benefits could include efficient rostering of staffing, coordinating transit between locations and encouraging the promotion of tourism events.”

The Geolocation Project will run as a pilot for 12 months.

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