The Zoo at Night

The Zoo at Night

Giving customers a unique experience thanks to security features

The fierce competition in the hospitality market has created a need to think creatively in order to increase the number of visitors. Therefore, Copenhagen Zoo constantly looks for new ways to give their customers an interesting and out-of-the-box experience.

Copenhagen Zoo has previously been successful with occasionally opening up the zoo at night to give the customers access to enjoying the animals that are not possible during the normal opening hours. The management wants to expand on this initiative. Copenhagen Zoo was founded in 1859. Today they have 180 fulltime employees and around 1.2 million visitors every year.

Meeting the Challenge

To meet the challenge of differentiating in a competitive market, Copenhagen Zoo partnered with Milestone Systems, which is a developer of globally leading open platform IP video management software (VMS).

Today, Milestone XProtect Corporate VMS manages cameras situated all over the zoo. Copenhagen Zoo has installed six AXIS PTZ cameras, 22 bullet cameras and eight dome cameras from Axis and Mobotix, among other camera vendors. The network cameras are installed inside animal cages, at treatment plants, at gates, in the stores and in the tool yard. The zoo is looking to expand their solution to include even more cameras in the future. That can easily be done with Milestone’s platform that makes it possible to easily scale the solution up or down according to needs and budget.

Live Video

The use of streaming live video has created massive online interest for events like animals being born. Together with Milestone, Copenhagen Zoo has extended the ways to experience the zoo with huge response from customers: zoo patrons were able to watch the rare birth of a rhino calf in 2015, resulting in more than 40,000 displays of the recorded video. It is very important that the animals can be left alone during and after a birth so therefore, it is normally only the zookeepers that have physical access to the animals during this time.

Now, however, the zookeepers are not the only ones who can experience the exciting event of an animal birth. The patrons can take part virtually, as well, thanks to the Milestone video setup. During the rhino birth, two AXIS P5534-E cameras were used and Copenhagen Zoo also shared the recordings on national TV.

”Milestone Systems has opened our eyes to a market we wouldn’t have found ourselves,” said Steffen Stræde, CEO of Copenhagen Zoo. “The video software helps us keep an eye on the animals and secure their safety, but it can do so much more than that. We found it to be an excellent tool for creating experiences, which is a whole new way of using video software in our business. The software makes our zoo available to the customer whenever the customer wants it. It is very valuable for us.”

A Cooperative Plan

Copenhagen Zoo has made several cooperative plans with Milestone for the creating new kinds of engagement with customers. The latest idea is to install a camera that live-streams from a waterhole in Pilanesberg in South Africa where the zoo has a research facility.

“Our visitors are looking for new things to happen at our zoo,” Stræde said. “If we just continue as we have always done, the number of visitors will gradually decrease. We also see great opportunities in providing something extra for our customers by using video and digital platforms such as Pinterest and Twitter, which is widely used among the younger segment. None of this would have been possible without Milestone’s software.”

In the future, Copenhagen Zoo would like to integrate even more functions in XProtect and is planning to expand the solution with at least 30 to 50 more cameras. Among other things, they would like to enable their employees to open and close the main gates to the zoo using XProtect on their smartphones instead of having to use separate radio devices as they do now. Copenhagen Zoo is also considering the option to add voice calls, enabling the security officer to communicate via smartphone with people in their cars looking to enter the zoo.

Stræde said this is only the beginning of the zoo’s innovative use of video to improve not only safety but also operations and customer experiences:

“In the future we might even be able to use GoPro-technology so you can follow the animals around when they are moving. We might also install more stationary cameras. There are almost an indefinite range of possibilities for Copenhagen Zoo to pursue that can benefit our customers. We can thank Milestone for all of this.”

This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Security Today.

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