Theme Parks Of The Future

Rajiv Chilaka, Founder & CEO, Green Gold AnimationGreen Gold is one of the leading content providers to all the major kids TV channels across the globe. With 10000+ minutes of produced content (350+ TV episodes & 50+ TV movies), Green Gold is creating wholesome entertainment for kids of all ages.

Digital and technological progress has shaped the world today, into a divided one. We are either a Digital Native or a Digital Immigrant. Irrespective of who we identify ourselves as, we have all embraced our digital selves. Our digital selves require constant communication and updation. The ease and exposure that this has ushered in is commendable but on the flip side, our real world selves often bear the brunt of it.

During the most recent wave of technology, entertainment has been extended or rather confined to content consumption on our screens. We are constantly connected to the digital selves of thousands but the medium has shrunk to a screen. The quintessential wholesome family time, has moved to being weekend getaways. Malls are the hangout places; Watch and Chill, the new weekend plans. With `Retail therapy' and `Binging' becoming the norm, I cannot but fondly think of a form of entertainment that has stood and thrived through the changes over the years- Amusement Parks.

Amusement parks have come a long way since Coney Island's Switchback Railway roller coaster ushered in the `pleasure ride' industry in 1884. India itself got its first amusement park `AppuGhar' only in 1984. So we are still in what can be safely said to be the nascent stage of growth. India has over 155 mid-sized amusement parks but the industry is still grappling to be at par with our global counterparts in terms of attractions and offerings. Amusement Parks in India do indeed attract a good number of people but the seasonality of business and the constriction of the outdoor rides hamper the overall potential.

Introduction, Interaction and Reminiscence define and complete any personal Experience. As much as we may introspect the pervasiveness of technology into our personal lives,
I truly believe that technology, especially digital, has the answer to reinventing all the three aspects of experience at the amusement parks.

Theme parks provide a dynamic social environment. Right now, majority of the theme parks in India depend on physical and emotional experiences to create the guest environment. I believe adding a digital element to the overall experience will be able to enhance the visceral experience much further. Augmented as well as Virtual Reality experiences are already taking their slice of the pie albeit in a much smaller scale in India. The potential to replicate the experience on a larger scale in theme parks is immense. The future of experience is truly the seamless blending of digital, physical and emotional.

Introduction, Interaction and Reminiscence define and complete any personal Experience

Entertainment has always revolved around Experience. During the last decade, it has evolved to Personalized Experience. A slew of devices has made micro targeting possible and even an expectation. Every interaction is aimed at making the consumer feel special and addressed to directly. Every form of entertainment has evolved along with it. Theme parks although majorly relies on the Physical, the overall consumer journey has to feel tailor made for every individual. A simple example would be the introduction of RFID tech in bands. This simple integration has the capability to recognize and interact with each person uniquely. Reduced queues, ease of payments, tracked vitals etc. are a few of the avenues to improve the overall entertainment experience.

AR and VR integration are recreating Immersive Experiences that would otherwise be implausible owing to access or resources. It is a storyteller's playground. Today nothing is beyond us; we aren't hindered by time, location or skill- every era, every story, every fantasy, every location can be replicated. As a creator, it is a gift to be able to live in a time where creativity is unencumbered. We can play Quidditch with Harry Potter, visit Diagon alley, and ride to Mordor and destroy the Death Star. If we can imagine it, we can Experience it. Our experience can be personalized to an extent that we have our own journeys in the rides, one completely different from the others in the same ride. Every sensation can be recreated and stimuli activated. The horizons have broadened; the possibilities, as they say, are endless.

Safety being paramount, incorporating Immersive Technology also reduces the safety concerns as it can recreate the thrill associated with large scale constructs sans the risk associated with them.

It is my belief that technology should never be intended to isolate but to assimilate. Amusement parks are more often than not an experience of pure unadulterated joy and fun. It is a gathering point of memories, of good times unhindered by the trials of life surrounded by the people we wish to be with. The thrill of an amusement park lies not just in our unabashed feeling; of joy, of fear, of shock but also in connecting with and sharing precious moments of an undeterred life with others. Hence of utmost importance and need is the fact that the integration of technology should be to enhance every single emotion and interaction, not to reduce it. After all, we are but only human.