Software company Dimedis has implemented a new digital admission control system for Cologne Zoo in order to help it adapt to new coronavirus-related regulations.

The new system, ViCo – Visitor Control, controls access to the zoo and counts the number of visitors to the Hippodom, the Rainforest House and the Jungle House as well as at the exit.

Thanks to the partnership with Cologne-headquartered Dimedis, the zoo can now control admission fully automatically and intelligently as ViCo sensors count the number of visitors at the entrances and exits of the animal houses.

The new system works via a traffic light system, which informs the visitors whether they can enter or whether they have to wait depending on how many people are already in the building. When the maximum number of visitors has been reached, the traffic light changes from green to red.

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The zoo’s staff can set the maximum permissible number of visitors via the ViCo service app and are able to manually intervene in the access control system at any time. In addition, the zoo has access at all times to the current counter reading, the traffic light status, the configured measuring zones as well as to the parameters for the maximum number of visitors.

The zoo also has a further expansion planned with the installation of ViCo in the Aquarium and all traffic lights will be equipped with loudspeakers in order to warn the visitors acoustically.

Michael Wiese, head of IT and ticketing at Cologne Zoo, said: “After the lockdown we had to fulfil the regulatory requirements regarding the maximum number of visitors allowed in at any point of time in order to protect the health of our customers and staff. ViCo solves precisely this problem and enables us to exactly count the number of visitors thanks to the sensors and to smartly control the flow of visitors.

“We are able to access the system at any time via the ViCo service app. ViCo is very flexible and absolutely weatherproof. A particular advantage is the statistics that we receive by counting the number of visitors: By evaluating the measured values, we can easily deduce when and how many customers are present at which location. This enables us to take targeted measures to control the visitor flows. We also learn which attractions are particularly popular and when the visitors go to them. All these factors convinced us of the advantages of ViCo!”

Wilhelm Halling, founder and managing director of Dimedis GmbH, added: “Thanks to our expertise in visitor management at trade fairs and events, we were able to react very quickly to the requirements resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, and with ViCo, developed a flexible and smart admission control system.

“Cologne Zoo was convinced above all else by our ability to very flexibly integrate any type of hardware for the visualisation and by the system’s suitability for outdoor use. In addition, ViCo delivers valuable information about the visitors, an aspect that will remain relevant in future over and above the coronavirus-related regulations: our ViCo customers are able to access data in a targeted manner, analyse visitor flows and in future also recognise whether visitors are wearing masks or not. In the coronavirus era, for example, batches of tickets can be activated when one always knows how many people are presently in the zoo.”

Images: Dimedis