An app to find your favorite animal at Berlin Zoo | DW Travel | DW | 29.07.2016
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An app to find your favorite animal at Berlin Zoo

Help is at hand for visitors from abroad, who want to make the most of their trip to the Berlin Zoo. A new multilingual app harnesses innovative beacon technology to provide information faster and more efficiently.

A new app provides information about animals and guided tours at Berlin's zoo, explaining displays and feeding times, along with an interactive map featuring a search function for animals and important places to visit.

Many visitors find it easy to lose track of things when they are dealing with some 19,000 animals dotted across a site that measures 33 hectares in total. The app offers a 45-minute tour for those who are in a hurry. If you have two hours or more to spare, you can see further highlights using the app and its guided walks. The app also offers tours that are specially tailored to the needs of specific target groups and festive occasions. And thanks to a special alarm function, you won't miss the feeding times of your favorite animals.

Cutting-edge technology

The new app is particularly helpful to international visitors: Approximately 25 percent of all visitors to the Berlin Zoo do not come from Germany. That's why information on the app is available in English, Russian, French and Italian, as well as German.

To ensure that users get the right facts and know to get to the right place at the right time, the zoo app employs beacon technology. Beacons are tiny transmitters that emit radio signals at fixed intervals. Apple was the first company to introduce what it called "iBeacon" technology.

Entrance to Berlin Zoo

Entrance at the fame "Elefantentor" - Elephant gate

"The beacons pinpoint the location of nearby mobile devices and deliver messages informing visitors of the most interesting information in their vicinity," according to Daniel Werner, the managing director of keylight GmbH, which developed the new app together with Berlin Zoo.

Berlin Zoo App

The Berlin Zoo App

"We are the first recreational facility in Germany to use this modern beacon technology", said the director of Berlin Zoo, Andreas Knieriem. There are also plans to introduce this new technology in Berlin's second zoo, the animal park in eastern Berlin.

More beacons will be gradually installed as the information labels on the animal enclosures are gradually being replaced. This means that visitors will no longer need to scan QR codes.