Innovations Debut at IAAPA Expo Europe
Several manufacturers have presented their latest and most exciting projects on the show floor of IAAPA Expo Europe 2023. From surfing to augmented reality (AR), IAAPA News shares highlights of the press conferences.
Attraktion! (Booth B-918) kicked off the first announcement on the show floor Tuesday morning, sharing the name of their new media-based game. Together with Povo, Attraktion! developed the first free-roaming game with the Angry Birds intellectual property (IP). Two characters from the Angry Birds IP were present to welcome attendees and pose for pictures. During the group gaming experience, users are challenged to rescue birds stolen by green pigs. After a countdown, the name of the game was revealed: Pigvasion.
The Angry Birds IP is mostly known for its mobile gameplay, and later, producing movies featuring the familiar characters. Martin Kienmeyer, game director and unity game developer at Attraktion! told attendees that the goal was to blend the films with the game.
“We wanted to bring both the worlds from the mobile games and the aesthetics from the movie together. In the first levels of the game, you see a lot of elements from the mobile game and at the later levels, there are a lot of cinematic elements from the movies,” Kienmeyer says. After the name reveal, attendees were invited to try the game for themselves.
Environmental Street Furniture
Sustainability is a crucial focus during IAAPA Expo Europe 2023. Environmental Street Furniture (Booth B-1233), also known as ESF, focuses on sustainable outdoor furniture for parks and urban areas. During their presentation, ESF showcased details about their new partnership with the Wombles & Friends IP. Together with The Wombles, ESF began developing sustainable and smart furniture, capable of recharging digital devices. ESF and The Wombles will use smart blockchain technology to gather data from users who use their smart furniture.
Alan Lowry, CEO of Environmental Street Furniture, provided insights into how data tracking works using their benches or trash cans. Users can connect to the Connected Womble app to locate smart benches in their area. Once seated, users can connect to Wi-Fi or charge their phones. This data is gathered and organized by using Internet of Things (IoT).
With the Wombles, ESF is prepared to address greater sustainability and data-driven needs. As Alan Lowry summarized, “This is the future.”
Emerald Park, Vekoma & Jora Vision
Attendees gathered at Jora Vision (Booth A1323) for a joint press conference from Emerald Park, Vekoma, and Jora Vision. Here, the three parties illustrated the theme and overall atmosphere of new themed area Tír na nÓg (Land of Eternal Youth), which will open in 2024 at Emerald Park in Ireland.
Within this area, guests will be able to enjoy a Vekoma family boomerang and a Vekoma suspended coaster. General manager of Emerald Park Charles Coyle explains that the park wants to grow to be a year-round property that attracts 1 million guests and generates return visits. This goal has led to the decision to invest in two new roller coasters from Vekoma.
Stefan Holtman, Sales Manager at Vekoma Rides, provided attendees with a peek into what makes the new rides so unique. “It is not a standard family coaster. Because of the design, you’re creating much more airtime in the family coaster which is normally not achievable. So, this is also a completely different ride experience,” Holtman says. He adds that because of the intertwining design, there are more than a dozen points where the coaster trains can meet, which differs per ride. Moreover, the suspended family coaster also differs from a standard one with the addition of air time. “It is not a normal suspended coaster,” Holtman says.
Attendees watched a teaser to illustrate the overall theme of Tír na nÓg. Robin van der Want, project development director and creative producer at Jora Vision explained that guests will be immersed in local Irish myths focusing on eternal youth. At the end of the press conference, attendees were given light-blue potion-like drinks to provide attendees with eternal youth, at least until the opening of the new themed area in 2024.
WhiteWater welcomed attendees at their booth (A-1313) to present their new projects for the near future. Onno Meeter, COO at WhiteWater says the company is in expansion mode, and just opened a new office in Munich. He touts the advantage of the location for its time zone in Central Europe and its ability to service more clients. From water parks additions at luxury hotels, to projects in the Middle East, WhiteWater presented a list of current projects.
One of the biggest projects during 2023 was the construction of Oceana, an indoor water park coming to Liseberg in Sweden. The park is slated to open in the first quarter of 2024. Thomas Sjöstrand, CPO of Liseberg's expansion promised the crowd, “This will be one of the best waterparks ever built.”
As the water park sector continues to grow, WhiteWater shared two major trends: Water parks are increasingly focusing on kids’ areas and water playgrounds, along with the trend of building surf parks. “If you make the smallest people happy, the whole family stays longer,” says Una de Boer, chief marketing officer at WhiteWater.
In addition, flow rider products already exist, but now, running waves can be created as well. Rainer Maelzer, president of the ERA region at WhiteWater adds that surfers can enjoy their passion close to home, with perfect waves guaranteed. He told attendees: “This is going to be a big game-changer.”
Media-based attractions using AR have continue to innovate. Valo Motion (booth B-2301) shared how the company is combining AR with the love of sports during their press conference. Raine Kajastila, CEO and founder of Valo Motion sees the passion both children and adults have for sports. Therefore, the company is blending technology and physical play.
Attendees were given a tour around the Valo Motion booth including its products, with one of them winning the IAAPA Brass Ring Award 2019 for best new product. Additionally, the company presented its newly set milestone, which is reaching 1 million plays per day in 2030. Raine says Valo Motion’s product line is all about “How to motivate people to move with technology.”
Valo Motion also presented their newest product: the Valo Arena. For this product, Valo Motion created a 3D full-body motion tracking system without any wires attached. After the presentation, attendees were invited to get active and step into the arena to try the product themselves.