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The Football Association, Wembley Stadium and EE approached Nock in 2015 through Havas SE Cake, looking for an innovative and interactive Wembley Tour experience; turning something that largely appealed to football aficionados into a must-see London attraction. Nock committed to creating a tour centred as much around showcasing Wembley’s charismatic tour guides as the Stadium itself, proposing a deeply immersive experience underpinned by cutting edge technologies being used in new and novel ways. 18 months later, Wembley has just debuted the world’s most technologically advanced stadium tour.
Launching on 18th July 2016, the jewel in the crown of the new Wembley Tour is the EE SmartGuide. Eschewing the traditional tour pass, the SmartGuide is an EE Harrier smartphone worn around the neck on a lanyard, hardcoded with a bespoke Android app. The multilingual SmartGuide delivers exclusive multimedia content to tour visitors at 8 distinct points along the Tour route in 10 languages; making use of myriad technologies, including 360° video, augmented reality, BLE and NFC.
To retain the individuality of each guide’s delivery of the tour, they have their own master app running on Samsung Galaxy handsets, which are activated by various beacons placed along the tour route. In a world’s first, the Samsung Galaxy handsets then trigger contextually relevant content on the EE Harriers via Bluetooth Low Energy, enabling the SmartGuide content to be delivered at times of the guides’ choosing. In a few locations, the master app also triggers the playback of additional multimedia via strategically placed speakers and screens. This solution ensures that guides can easily change tour routes to accommodate areas of the Stadium being off limits due to various events and functions throughout the year.
The 20 Samsung Galaxies and 600 EE Harriers in use are all stored and kept tour-ready using 3 bespoke charging carts, allowing each handset to be effortlessly and securely docked and charged when not in use. Given the high value of each SmartGuide, an innovative anti-theft device has also been built into each one, triggered by strategically located beacons, situated at exit points.
Behind the scenes, the SmartGuide app facilitates a host of opt-in data submission from tour visitors, for which a full backend system was designed and built by Nock in order to securely process, store, report and maintain the resulting database on behalf of The Football Association and in accordance with its strict data protection policies.
Jon Clarke, Special Projects Director at Nock said: “We’re extremely proud to have conceptualised and delivered the world’s most technologically advanced stadium tour at Wembley. We set ourselves a huge challenge when we came up with the idea of the EE SmartGuide. Using mobile engagement technologies in new and unique ways as they’ve never been used before created its fair share of obstacles, but we managed to overcome each and every one of these to deliver a project that’s world class and one of our most ambitious yet. We wholeheartedly believe Wembley Stadium’s first-of-its-kind tour will revolutionise the way mobile engagement technologies are used to enhance both guided and unguided experiences at stadiums, museums and visitor attractions around the world.”
Mat Sears, Director of Communications at EE said: “The partnership between EE and Wembley Stadium has been focused on bringing the best connectivity to the best stadium and our investment in the Wembley tour marks another major step in enhancing live stadium events with the power of technology. From launch, the revamped tech-enhanced tour will further cement the stadium’s position as one of the most connected in the world.”