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SHLUMBERGER – (CIRCA 1993)

CONSUMER-DRIVEN SMART CARD APPLICATIONS

 

The Shlumberger Group in France is the world’s largest manufacturer of smart cards.  With shrinking profit margins for the cards themselves in 1993, Shlumberger retained the Doultons to explore the feasibility of developing a real-time, interactive, consumer-driven, closed-loop, operational management system for mass attractions.

 

The concept was to provide each guest with an interactive smart card upon entry to an attraction so they may gain access to rides and attractions, as well as pay for merchandise and food.  Each transaction was recorded in real time by a mainframe computer, which in turn reported the transaction to the appropriate department heads and management so they would know at any moment in real time the live status of the park.  Software would also be programmed to track consumables automatically and place JIT orders, minimizing inventory and space requirements.

 

Stratigically located VDU's displaying axonometric "park status" reports provided overview details as to ride and attraction status, length of lines and show times, restaurant waiting times and other types of real-time information that empowered guests to make the most beneficial decisions.  By providing guests with real-time information the decisions made  would serve to automatically balance the facilities demands , and thereby optimize, the park’s operational efficiency  and overall guests’ enjoyment.

 

Over time historic data would enable management to better schedule employee hours and better anticipate demands based upon a series of integrated factors such as time of year, date of week, hour of day, the weather and level of operational preparedness (number of rides and attractions out of operations, etc.).

 

The Doultons spent four months assessing all major U.S.-based themed attractions (those attracting over one million visitors annually) and personally meeting with key operations executives to asses their level of interest and get suggestions and comments.  The report concluded that considerable interest exists, but it would require considerable financial commitment on Shlumberger’s behalf and on behalf of the operators of the attractions to execute.

 

The majority of the major operators exposed to the concept were excited about the potential of having such a tool being made available and were predisposed to working with Shlumberger in testing the program.  Universal, Disney and other attractions have since installed customer demand systems that employ smart cards, which supports the findings of our study. 

 

The concept continues to evolve and the Doultons master planned project for Las Vegas will employ this system in its most updated format.

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