MS -DIM CAPSTONE PROJECT PROPOSAL FALL 2019
Team Members: Gretchen Hauselt, Justin W. Jones, Akasha Goins, Jane A Grimley, Christine Mendoza, Yue Sheng
1. Problem definition. What is the problem that you aim to solve? Why is it a problem? Who experiences this problem?
Longwood Gardens, one of the premier horticultural display gardens in the United States is located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. With over 1,077 acres containing 11,000 different types of plants and trees, Longwood Gardens is open to visitors year-round to enjoy exotic plants and horticulture (both indoor and outdoor), events and performances, seasonal and themed attractions, as well as educational lectures, courses, and workshops. It is the most visited public garden in America with record attendance of 1,530,237 visitors for fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016-September 20, 2017).
There is a growing expectation of consumers to have a digital experience integrated in everything. If they want to learn something, they use digital channels to find the answer. Currently when visitors come to Longwood Gardens they can get information from paper maps and event schedules, talking to one of the staff members, or going to longwoodgardens.org. In order to retain current customers and reach a new younger audience demographic, Longwood Gardens needs to “elevate the extraordinary guest experience” and make it easy to do business with through new digital platforms. We also observed that this is a gap in other leading botanical gardens in the United States.
2. Proposed solution. What is your proposed solution to the problem? How will this address the problem for the target market?
Native mobile app with e-commerce, check-in, interactive maps and route planner, events calendar & scheduler with real time updates, plant scanner, gamification/AR experience, and locate a plant expert. Mobile apps offer increased value with better personalization, notifications, easy use of mobile device features (GPS, camera), work offline, work faster than website, and easy portability.
The target market is new and existing customers, including families, horticulturists, students, and nature lovers. The improved digital experience will attract, educate, and enhance customers’ experience through a simplified check-in, ticket and parking pass purchase process. The app and/or website will be personalized according to membership level (Gardens1, Gardens2, Gardens5, Gardens Preferred, Gardens Premium). The mobile app will immerse children in an experiential learning environment guiding them through a tour of the gardens. The tour includes information about plants, their origin, required care, etc. Digital transformation will “create a world apart” from other gardens.
3. How will technology integrate into the solution to this problem?
GPS technology or Google Map API will be embedded into the app platform to provide up-to-date interactive map for LG. With iOS 11 and ARKit framework, augmented reality gaming apps such as Pokemon Go, Amikasa, Vivino, and Zombies GO! can be incorporated into the LG mobile app so visitors can play the games in horticultural background and environment. E-commerce stores will be developed in the app so visitors can purchase tickets/membership, go shopping at online gift shop, make reservation of restaurants, arrange events (birthday parties, weddings, etc). AI technology and Deep Learning Integration will be adopted to develop a Plant Snap API to scan and learn flowers, trees, and other plants.
4. Who is the market for this solution? How large is this market?
There are 1,800 botanical gardens and arboreta globally that draw roughly 3 million visitors per year. The United States Standard Industrial Classification Code (SIC) 8422 for Arboreta and Botanical Gardens or Zoological Gardens, a final level code of the “Services” divisions, identifies 694 companies classified in this industry with an estimated employment of 21,328 people.
Visitors to botanical gardens tend to be people who love being close to nature, who wish to gain knowledge about plants, students studying plants, and families with young children.
More and more people are visiting public gardens and attendance averages more than 75 million visitors per year.