HomeBlogWhere is all the High Tech, Sesame?

Where is all the High Tech, Sesame?

Published August 24, 2009

My kids are finally old enough for some serious vacationing.  This year, my wife and I joined the thousands of Americans and brought our kids to Sesame Place.  It was a hot day and as expected, there were lots of people everywhere.  To my surprise, however, there was not much technology.

I will walk you through what I did today and how it could have been eased with some chips:

  1. Upon entering the main entrance, the road divides in two: right for good parking and left for better parking.  Of course the better parking costs more.  I assume that selecting the better parking would yield faster parking as well.  I learned this was not the case.  Anyway, back to the technology... This situation was a simple case of bandwidth.  There were two lanes and exactly two people handling parking.  I've visited so many places that have automatic ticketing that it makes more sense to grab a ticket and pay when you leave.  More people go to the park at the same time then leave it.  If not at the end, then at the very least, have more cashiers.
  2. After parking and walking to the main gate, we were searched by security.  Security was a guy asking if I had pepper spray and poking around my lunch box with a wood stick.  Why not just have metal/bomb detectors as people wait in line?  Doesn't need to be that fancy, but a wood stick? Come on.
  3. Following the security check, we waited on another line to enter the park.  This was the most technical part of the experience.  We had to scan the barcodes ourselves while someone watched.  The scanners were really slow to register and interesting enough, some people actually had to give their fingerprint.  I'll have to investigate that one.  So this process is close to what you get at an airport.  So I guess its ok.
  4. There were announcements every 3 minutes about lost children.  I don't blame the kids for wondering off or the parents for misplacing the kids.  The place is a madhouse of fun for kids and chances to lose them for the adults.  This is where the technology really needs to be.  If every person got a bracelet that had RFID, this could serve as the park reentry (I'll get to later) and also serve as an easy way to track where any kid/parent is at any time.  I do know that some parks have this, but why not sesame place?  Even better would be to offer park map app for iphone that would put all of your kids right on the map.  This would be useful if you are trying to locate your spouse of your friends.  (Sesame Place, if you read this, please call us and we can help you work this all out.  Also, you need to have a mobile site.  Everything is flash and not very mobile friendly.)
  5. Waterproofing my gadgets.  I saw a lot of people wearing necklaces that have waterproof pouches.  These pouches are meant for some cash, id, etc. Not really big enough for larger devices like a smart phone.  I am not a fan of what fanny packs portray their wearers as, but I do see their use.  They hold a lot of items and they are not clear!  I am telling you, those necklaces reveal exactly how much money you are carrying.  Fanny packs don't.  I still won't wear one :)
  6. Finally, park reentry.  My family gets these black stamps that indicate that we are allowed back into the park that day.  That's cool, but if we rub it off, its gone and Sesame needs to change their stamps every day (I would assume they do).  Having that waterproof bracelet would really shine here.

Lots of fun, lots of water, lots of people.  The bottom line is that Sesame Place probably doesn't have a lot of technology because they can get away without it.  The place is busy as anything in a tough economy and they probably won't see much of a change in business if they added more chips.  I am sure I can expect it to be the same thing next year and the next.

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Ronnie Schwartz is the CTO and founder of RustyBrick, an agile web & mobile development firm that creates effective applications and focuses on finding the right balance between time to production and software quality to get clients in front of their customers quickly and effectively. Ronnie brings over twenty years of innovative design, programming and management expertise to the table.

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