Lego Billund Introduces WiFi Child Tracking

Legoland Billund have just successfully deployed a “Kidspotter” WiFi tracking system for children at the park in Denmark. The service is provided by Opus IT, specialists in “themepark intelligence”.

Parents rent a kit from the information desk that contains a WiFi transceiver for their child to wear and a special map for the parents. If they somehow manage to lose sight of their offspring they send a SMS message to the Kidspotter number – the service then automatically sends back the name of the park area and map coordinate that their child is located in. Relieved parents can immediately whiz round to the location and remonstrate with wayward offspring until they cry.

This is a splendid idea for parents who are careless enough not to keep an eye on their children, but Opus’s technology is not just for tracking kids – they are promoting it for use with all visitors:

“IMAGINE Knowing exactly where all your visitors and assets are at any given point in time: Right now – or in the past! KidSpotter® will enable you to increase earning per visitor through comprehensive park traffic analysis and real-time optimization of traffic.”

We can’t imagine living in a world where visitors may routinely and voluntarily electronically tag themselves so that theme parks can sell them more things, but then people will do strange things for discounts. For use with all attendees voluntarily, the service may fail – fingerprint ID systems for banking have traditionally met resistance because of associations with criminal activity, and Kidspotter is clearly similar to convict tagging.

However, theme parks could make the service compulsory – after all, if you’re a good citizen, why would you object? Especially if you get a discount on rides for providing all that movement information.

WiFi transceivers in ID cards, anyone?

Legoland’s WiFi tracking service


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?