A new tour package for Wembley Stadium in London is, its developers believe, the world’s most high-tech stadium visit. In 2015, the English Football Association (FA), Wembley Stadium and telecoms giant EE approached interaction design agency Nock through Havas SE Cake, and set out a brief for an innovative and interactive Wembley tour experience. The aim for the new tour would be to turn something that largely appealed to soccer aficionados into a must-see attraction for visitors to London.
After accepting the project, Nock committed to creating a tour centered as much around showcasing Wembley’s charismatic tour guides as the stadium itself, proposing a deeply immersive experience underpinned by cutting-edge technologies used in new and novel ways. The new tour launches on July 18, 2016.
The centerpiece of the new Wembley Tour is the EE SmartGuide. Eschewing the traditional tour pass, the SmartGuide is an EE Harrier smartphone worn around the neck on a lanyard, hardcoded with a bespoke Android app. The SmartGuide delivers exclusive multimedia content to tour visitors at eight distinct points along the tour route in 10 languages – making use of myriad technologies, including 360° video, augmented reality, BLE (Bluetooth low energy) and NFC (near field communications).
To retain the individuality of each guide’s delivery of the tour, they have their own master app running on Samsung Galaxy handsets, which is activated by various beacons placed along the tour route. In a world’s first, the Samsung Galaxy handsets then trigger contextually relevant content on the EE Harriers via BLE, enabling the SmartGuide content to be delivered at times of the guide’s choosing.
In a few locations, the master app also triggers the playback of additional multimedia via strategically placed speakers and screens. This solution ensures that guides can easily change tour routes to accommodate areas of the stadium being off limits, such as due to various events and functions throughout the year.
The 20 Samsung Galaxies and 600 EE Harriers in use are all stored and kept tour-ready using three bespoke charging carts, allowing each handset to be effortlessly and securely docked and charged when not in use. Given the high value of each SmartGuide, an innovative anti-theft device has also been built into each one, triggered by strategically located beacons, situated at exit points.
Behind the scenes, the SmartGuide app facilitates a host of opt-in data submission from tour visitors, for which Nock designed and built a full backend system in order to securely process, store, report and maintain the resulting database on behalf of the Football Association and in accordance with its strict data protection policies.
Jon Clarke, special projects director at Nock, said, “We’re extremely proud to have conceptualized and delivered at Wembley the world’s most technologically advanced stadium tour. We set ourselves a huge challenge when we came up with the idea of the EE SmartGuide. Using mobile engagement technologies in new and unique ways as they’ve never been used before created its fair share of obstacles, but we managed to overcome each and every one of these to deliver a project that’s world class and one of our most ambitious yet.
“We wholeheartedly believe Wembley Stadium’s first-of-its-kind tour will revolutionize the way mobile engagement technologies are used to enhance both guided and unguided experiences at stadiums, museums and visitor attractions around the world.”
Mat Sears, director of communications at EE, added “The partnership between EE and Wembley Stadium has been focused on bringing the best connectivity to the best stadium and our investment in the Wembley tour marks another major step in enhancing live stadium events with the power of technology. From launch, the revamped tech-enhanced tour will further cement the stadium’s position as one of the most connected in the world.”
July 14, 2016