Mobile homes get technology tune-up

Kea says its hi-tech camper vans are unique

In what it believes is a world first, camper van company Kea is outfitting a quarter of its fleet with technology.

Around 100 of its four and six-berth vans are each being equipped with a computer, a DVD player, USB connection for digital photos, and a wireless internet connection.

Kea is also negotiating with around 50 campsites to install high-speed internet access.

Executive director Rudi Fuhrmann says Kea sees the move as a great opportunity to differentiate itself. The privately-owned company is number two in size in New Zealand, behind Tourism Holdings. It also has 500 camper vans in Australia and 150 in South Africa.

“We began the project four months ago and will have 100-plus vans fitted out by early next year,” Fuhrmann says. “We’re spending $500,000 to kick the project off. No one else in the world is doing this.

“We will be able to communicate with the vans when they are in a hot spot, offering specials on a daily download basis.”

Unusually, Kea is manufacturing its own hardware. Its in-house IT department has also developed the software.

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