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Bristol Zoo
Wild:i App


Each year, over 24 million people visit UK zoos. The UK is also home to some of the best nature programming in the world, with world-class nature photographers and film-makers all based and working here. With the rise of mobile technology, there was an opportunity to create a new way to enhance the visitor journey by using mobile technology and rich media content.

Wild:i started out as a collaborative, two year, strategic research and development project, supported by the Technology Strategy Board, and delivered by a consortium of BBC R&D, 3C Research, Bristol University, Toshiba Research Labs, ProVision, ARKive, VID Communications and Mubaloo.

Bristol Zoo Wildi App in-app screenshot


The Bristol Zoo Wild:i app aims to provide visitors to wildlife establishments with an enhanced experience. It combines the physical encounter with wild and exhibited animals and a virtual experience that provides background, detail and engagement to deepen the experience.

Wild:i creates an enhanced, immersive audiovisual experience for visitors to wildlife locations and events. It is a world first, that enables the complete end-to-end live and interactive low-cost IP based image and video infrastructure.

The app, which has been designed and developed by Mubaloo, brings together content and technology from some of the world’s leading companies and research units. Working closely with Paul Appleby, director of VID Communications, Mubaloo bought the partners’ ideas together into an app. Mubaloo facilitated what was and what wasn’t feasible, created all the designs and undertook the development work.

This involved creating static maps for both trial venues – Slimbridge Wetlands Centre and Bristol Zoo Gardens – all the gallery content functionality within the app, the quizzes and challenges. Technology expertise came from the University of Bristol, Mubaloo, Toshiba Research Labs and ProVision – testing multicast delivery that enables different users to pull different content as they move around.

Bristol Zoo Wildi App in-app screenshot


In order to test the viability of the Bristol Zoo Wild:i app, two trials have taken place at Slimbridge Wetlands Centre in January and February 2014, with the second taking place at Bristol Zoo Gardens in August 2014. The results, evaluated by BBC R&D, from these zoos, have helped to refine the user experience.

In total, 146 members of the Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust took part in the user experience trials to test the Wild:i application. On average, 12 pieces of user generated content were created. Users felt that creating their own content helped to ‘bring things to life’ and that it was the most enjoyable aspect of the app.

The average time spent using the app was 2 hours, 38 minutes. We’ve seen it increase the time spent with each animal – there’s more to look at, comparing the exhibit and the wild, looking for the quiz answers and understanding their behaviour and conservation issues . The feedback from the trial showed that it helped to enhance the experience of visiting the centre, especially for children, by giving them additional and engaging information.

Bristol Zoo Wildi App in-app screenshot

Wild:i is about the user experience and helping people to get more out of their visits to zoos and wildlife centres. Whilst technology is helping to enable this, it isn’t trying to distract from the experience. The Mubaloo team has created an app that shows what is possible and how we can help promote the understanding of conservation in a fun and engaging way.

Paul Appleby, VID Communications

Technical Specification

  • Custom design with custom maps for different wildlife centres and zoos
  • Native Android development with beacons library to interact on a proximity based user experience
  • Multi-cast video integration to support live streaming of video content
  • Augmented reality with pattern recognition for identifying animals
  • Deloitte Tech Fast 50 winner 2014
  • Appsters winner for best use of API 2014
  • Ranked as the top app developer outside of the US by research firm Clutch
  • UXUK Winner 2014
  • Mubaloo innovation lab

Company registration number: 0‌6770774.

Registered address: Mubaloo, 3 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1W 0BD