09/14/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/14/2020 07:09
Interview with Elena Balamovska, creator of the application, for the portal 'Inovativnost'.
The visitors at the Skopje ZOO have been provided with an application which for the first time ever enables them to buy tickets online, to get digitally oriented and for the youngest ones to get educated about the versatile animal world. The Skopje ZOO application has been created by Makedonski Telekom within the partnership with the Skopje ZOO. We talked to Elena Balamovska, employed at Makedonski Telekom, who came up with the idea for such an application that will provide the visitors with a digital experience at the Skopje ZOO for the first time ever. Elena says that digital responsibility is in the DNA of the company.
Inovativnost: Please tell us a bit more about the Skopje ZOO application, how long has it been functional, who it is intended for, how will it operate?
Elena Balamovska: The Skopje ZOO application is intended for all the visitors at the Skopje ZOO. It is user-friendly, developed in three language versions and it does not require the creation of a user profile. The visitors can download the application from Play Store or App Store and all they need to have is an active internet connection in order to go through a new digital experience with the versatile animal world of the ZOO, which has never happened before.
Inovativnost: In addition to being able to buy tickets online for the first time ever, which during a pandemic is an option that is more than welcome, Skopje ZOO also comprises a digital navigation map and educational data on the habitats. Please tell us something more about these features...
Elena Balamovska: Yes, for the first time ever tickets will be purchased online which is of exceptional importance at a time when social distancing is an imperative. It is possible to buy single or group tickets while safely staying at home through the mobile application or through the web application intended for this feature only.
The visitors will be able to easily get to know the animals living in the Skopje ZOO better. By scanning the QR code, placed on the info-boards in front of every habitat, each visitor will be able to browse text and audio contents and get educated about the animals. In addition to the educational contents that will be most interesting for the children, the application also features a digital map for an easier orientation and movement through the ZOO.
Inovativnost: What is the benefit arising from this application both for the visitors and for the ZOO itself?
Elena Balamovska: By using this application the long waiting lines for buying tickets will be avoided, whereby it will be easier to observe social distancing, as well as save time which, instead of waiting in lines, the visitors could spend at the ZOO with their dearest ones. The youngest ones will be able to get educated and find out more about their favourite animals not only at the ZOO, but also wherever they are. The audio contents that are the most suitable for pre-school children who are still unable to read are really interesting.
Furthermore, with the digital map the entire family will be able to get oriented more easily and find the optimal route for visiting their favourite animal.
Inovativnost: What was the motivation for Makedonski Telekom to develop such an application, where did the idea come from and how was it implemented? How much time and energy did the creation of such a solution require?
Elena Balamovska: Makedonski Telekom is guided by the idea of making sure that technology is used for the benefit of society and it encourages its employees to think and act dynamically with a view to delivering projects that would contribute for a simpler and smarter digital way of living. This is in our DNA and this is what drives us, the employees. Regardless of the projects that we are working on, digital responsibility is an integral part of our everyday work.
The idea to propose this solution came to me during my visit at the ZOO.
After a longer period of time, I was able to walk around the ZOO and I was amazed by the increase in the number of animals, the improvement of the living conditions for the animals, the rest and relaxation platforms, the organization of events... However, at the same time, I was really surprised by how little it was invested in the digitization of the ZOO.
During my visit I wanted to find the reptiles habitat, but despite having walked around in circles it still seemed that I was somehow always walking past them. At that moment, I realized the need for a digital map so that the visitors could get oriented more easily and find the animals they are interested in.
Also, I was astonished by the fact that the only available option for buying tickets was still the traditional one, which creates huge lines in front of the ticket office, especially on days when most visitors what to enjoy the nice weather by spending time with animals and when, quite often, in addition to the visitors from Skopje and the county, there are also visitors from abroad.
I would prefer to measure the creation of such a solution with a unit measure of pleasure as opposed to consumed time and energy.
There is an immense satisfaction in the fact that after several months of hard work on the application, together with the colleagues and the management from Makedonski Telekom, as well as external software development companies, we managed to launch an application which I hope will be massively used.
Inovativnost: The ZOO is one of the favourite spots of the youngest generation, who are also some of the most frequent users of various technologies. How will this type of solutions steer them to use technology for education, information and upgrade and to experience its positive sides?
Elena Balamovska: Over the past years, the younger population has been increasingly using smart phones, tablets and computers in their everyday lives, both for entertainment and for studying. This type of solution offers a fun way of learning, i.e., consuming contents and information, and I hope that it will all lead to a positive way of using technology for good.
Inovativnost: Can we expect new features and upgrades of the Skopje ZOO application in the future?
Elena Balamovska: We are certainly not stopping here. In the future, we are planning the development of new features for the app that would ensure even more fun, education and information for the visitors at the Skopje ZOO.
But, let's leave that for some other occasion...