SAGE technology helps put visitor numbers on the map
10 October 2019
Technology originally developed to monitor urban traffic has been adapted to count the number of visitors to the McLaren Vale wine region.
SAGE Automation partnered with McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association to deliver a technology solution that delivers real-time visitor data for the region.
Home to more than 80 wineries, visitor numbers for the McLaren Vale region south of Adelaide are included within the context of the greater Fleurieu region. This makes it difficult to accurately measure and report specific wine tourism metrics.
Utilising technology originally developed to monitor Adelaide’s traffic network for the South Australian Department of Transport, Planning and Infrastructure, SAGE Automation developed a dashboard system to report metrics collected by 15 solar-powered beacon units installed across the McLaren Vale Geographical Indication (GI).
The SAGE Bluetooth detection units work by sensing the unique MAC address of smart devices. A MAC address is assigned to every Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chip produced in the world.
The solar powered beacons can correlate detections of smart devices within a 50-70 metre radius. In doing so, the unit does not capture personally identifiable information, nor requires any input or action from the visitor or business.
Real-time data collected by the beacons is displayed in a dashboard, providing an estimate of visitors to a location at a particular time, as well as estimates of the number of visits per site over time and peak times of visitor interest.
This is the first time that SAGE Automation's technology will be used in a tourism context. Based in the Tonsley Innovation Precinct, SAGE specialises in industrial automation design, delivery and support.
SAGE Automation General Manager of Transport, Damian Hewitt, said the collaboration between the two businesses would provide many benefits to the region.
“McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association has shown real leadership in adapting the use of the technology to maximise the economic benefit to their members,” he said.
“This type of technology is the foundation for using artificial intelligence that will lead to significant community benefit.
“These benefits could include efficient staff rostering, co-ordinating transit between locations and encouraging the promotion of tourism events.”
McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association General Manager Jennifer Lynch said accurate visitation data helped wineries provide exceptional tourism experiences and inform business decisions.
“The application of this data insight will enable a greater understanding of McLaren Vale’s tourism landscape and visitor economy,” she said.
“The collected tourism data is critical in informing business decision making, grant applications, biosecurity regulations as well as infra, soft and superstructure developments and long-term planning – both at a regional and individual business level.”
The Geolocation Project will run as a pilot for 12 months.
McLaren Vale is Australia's fifth-largest wine region by value, producing grapes with an estimated value of $58 million in 2019. Best known for shiraz, the region also produces premium grenache and cabernet and is home to world-renowned wineries such as Maxwell Wines, Wirra Wirra and d’Arenberg.