IoT – the Internet of Tourism

Oct 27, 2021

Recently it seems we can’t really do anything or go anywhere without encountering IoT solutions, technologies and devices throughout any given day – even if we never leave the house. IoT used to be explained across dinner tables and water coolers by suggesting “your fridge could let you know when you need to buy more milk”. Today – it’s actively transforming our doorbells into anti-theft cameras and providing us and our doctors with essential data on our health. IoT nowadays is literally changing and even saving lives – all via our phones and smart devices.

Of course, not all IoT tech is so dramatic or even useful, but its solutions and potential benefits are so broad, agnostic and versatile that they are enabling literally every single sector and industry to simply know and understand more – leading to boosted efficiencies and optimised operations.

There’s nothing like a good walk in nature to blow off the cobwebs and escape the digital world for a few hours. Yet ironically, it’s often the smart use of IoT technology that is making our weekend rambles safer, more enjoyable and more environmentally friendly. Footfall counting in heritage areas, beauty spots, outdoor trails and tourist attractions is giving tourism organisations and multiple other stakeholders the ability to see not only how many people are visiting their attraction or regions at any given time, but empowering them with data based on bottlenecks, peak traffic times, impact of people on wildlife, general safety of the area and region-specific weather conditions.

IoT footfall counting is allowing councils and tourist boards to visualise how many people are on a certain route, or even on a specific part of a pathway, ensuring they can more effectively and efficiently manage traffic flow in those areas and regions. The abundance of data produced in turn empowers them to make hugely important decisions, often based around public safety or the specific services required in various areas. It’s of course essential to point out that these IoT solutions, whilst providing huge amounts of data via, are fully GDPR compliant, since no person is uniquely identified.

Councils and tourist boards are already using footfall counting technology to identify areas which need to be maintained, especially in more remote areas such nature trails, mountains and countryside areas. It is of course expensive and time consuming to maintain and build paths in the mountains and other remote areas, as workers must be transported to work in difficult conditions. In one of Kinsetsu’s most recent deployments for Tourism NI, helicopters had to be used to carry materials up the globally renowned Mourne Mountains. Once such organisations are unequivocally aware of areas of most need, they can take decisions without the economic, environmental or financial risks traditionally associated with tourism development.

Footfall counters and trackers are also hugely important to local economies. They play a significant role in identifying (again – with zero doubt) the most common pathways, routes and traffic flows taken by tourists and walkers. As such, they are making decisions around where to filter people and locate services, shops and businesses so much easier, maximising revenues for all involved. Business need, public safety and return on investment is visualised and demonstrated so much more clearly than before, and that quite simply is what Kinsetsu, using our unique IoT and combined software solutions, is delivering for tourism across the UK and Ireland.

“This technology will be invaluable in helping us and our partners target efforts both to minimise any adverse impacts of growing numbers of visitors and to ensure people have an enjoyable experience. The data will also inform habitat management as we seek to make the landscape more resilient to climate change and plan recovery from events like the recent landscape fire on Slieve Donard. The new approach comes with the added bonus of removing the need to devote limited staff resource to the time-consuming task of visiting sites to manually download visitor counts.”
Martin Carey
CEO, Mourne Heritage Trust