Picture it. You’re strolling along a walking trail in one of Australia’s remote national parks, and a yellow-footed rock wallaby hops out in front of you.
Instead of looking for and consulting a tired and faded sign telling you a bit about the marsupial, you can open your phone and watch a video from a local Aboriginal ranger even if you’re not in signal.
This is how Information Zone, a proximity digital information service, works. Travellers can access 4K video, download PDFs, maps and other location-based information using a server to transmit a signal to their smart phone within a 500-metre range.
Tony Coppins, who owns tourism businesses on Kangaroo Island including the Visitor Information Centre, as well as the Port River Cruises at Port Adelaide, bought the software in 2020 to diversify his tourism ventures during COVID-19.
“If you’re on a walking trail, traditionally there’d be signs telling you about wildlife, local history or giving you directions,” Mr Coppins says.
“But now when you see the Information Zone logo, you know you have entered ‘The Zone’; open your WIFI settings and Information Zone comes up.
“Information Zone is not an App, there’s no passwords required, it’s free and does not use any data. Apps require network coverage, Information Zone does not, this is the standout difference with our technology.”
This patented Australian technology can be used to assist travellers all over the country for visitor servicing; when connected to the network, booking platforms such as REZDY can be integrated where commissionable experiences can be booked, as well as hyperlinks to business websites for information.
Mr Coppins says, “there’s nothing like this in the world”, and it has the ability to transform Australia’s tourism sector.
“I’ve travelled around the world, I’ve been out to 50 countries, but I’ve never seen anything like this technology,” he says.
“Information Zone is user friendly, simple to update and with the option to download maps and brochures makes it an environmentally friendly alternative to print media. It can also be used for e-learning, and there will be a multilingual version just to add to the already diverse range of user-friendly options.
“That’s why I liked it so much and introduced it to my Visitor Information Centre on Kangaroo Island. I can see this going global through information centres and national parks.”
Information Zone will be one of nearly 100 companies from across South Australia featured as part of the First Nations Business Showcase this month.
On October 27 at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, the showcase is hosted by The Circle, a First Nation’s entrepreneur hub based out of inner-city innovation district Lot Fourteen.
Lot Fourteen project lead Di Dixon says the showcase celebrates Australia’s first entrepreneurs.
“The level of innovation and ingenuity coming from this sector is impressive across industries like defence and legal consultancies, to marketing agencies and cosmetics companies,” Dixon says.
“Procuring services from South Australian businesses is about supporting our state and creating local jobs with social outcomes.”
Mr Coppins says he sees Information Zone “transforming” Cultural tourism and is already talking with local governments about using the technology for Cultural awareness and education.
The company recently won a scholarship from Adelaide-based startup incubator Stone & Chalk at Lot Fourteen in August after completing The Minderoo Foundation’s Dream Venture Masterclass mentoring program, and sees the platform being rolled out nationally in coming years.
“It’s exciting to think that this patented technology is a South Australian invention, currently made and manufactured right here in Adelaide. We are looking forward to support from local governments and businesses when they see the huge benefits Information Zone brings,” Mr Coppins says.
“Playgrounds, caravan parks, campsites, walking trails, and wineries are just some of the examples where Information Zone can be used. And, there are continuous employment opportunities, as local content needs to be created and Cultural IP purchased.
“This technology is going to be a game changer.”
This article was first published by The Lead South Australia.
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