It may seem early to market, but Halloween Horror Nights as a regional scarefest is something fans would say Universal has cornered the market on in Orlando. The event brings droves of fans to the area during Orlando’s slower travel periods between late September and October.
Necole Pynn, managing director of Orlando’s co-working space Canvs, and her five-member team is working on an interactive experience using low-cost transmitter technology called iBeacon. The technology works by placing a transmitter — or iBeacon — in a hidden area. Once someone who is using an Apple device, such as an iPhone, comes in range of the transmitter, a message is sent to the device.
“It creates a richer tech experience and layer of storytelling based a guests’ location,” Pynn said. “It calls attention to the little details the theme park has to offer.
Pynn, who is not just a tech enthusiast but someone who loves theme parks, said Universal Orlando’s Halloween-themed attraction is one of her favorite events of the year. But she also said the park’s yearly event has a problem based on the several times she participated.
“They have a major problem with lines for the haunted houses and attractions, but if you could get guests out to explore the area rather than waste time in line, that creates a better experience,” Pynn said.
Using the iBeacon, for example, a guest may walk to a certain area and when the iPhone is triggered, that guest may get a pre-recorded phone call from a monster or a message to go to another area, creating a scavenger hunt adventure in the park.
iBeacon has been been put to use before, but mainly in stores and restaurants to give customers deals via smartphone.
“Universal is basically opening up their intellectual property to play with during that time,” Pynn said. “If Universal uses our idea, I wouldn’t think that would be stealing because they can pretty much replicate anything we create, but this gives us a great opportunity to conduct research and explore the market.”