Technology in parks and recreation facilities – it might initially sound like the two concepts don’t mix! Parks are a crucial part of any community, and these days they offer a variety of services. Of course, they also take a lot of work to maintain. When keeping a space safe, secure and pleasant for local communities to use, park managers and rangers need access to tools that support their day-to-day work.
Parks and tech can integrate in several other ways as well – from AR tools that teach kids about wildlife to interactive maps for visitors. We’ve taken a look at some of the new ideas and technology solutions that you might see in a park near you.
Can parks and technology ever be unified?
Some people believe that technology has no place in a park. However, a study by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) showed that 77% of parents believe that adopting tech opportunities in nature will motivate their children to go outside. It’s not a matter of discussion whether to integrate technology in parks and recreational spots or not anymore. Instead, it’s time to creatively explore those technologies and make the best use of them.
Recreation is about how individuals choose to spend their leisure time. There are a lot of benefits from visiting world outside your home, but with more options than ever for indoor entertainment, it’s time to get creative when bringing people outdoors.
For example, you might be surprised to know that the Pokémon Go game encouraged people to walk more and visit new places while hunting Pokémon. The app recorded an average of 1,473 steps per person. That was an eye-opener for many urban architects who had it in the background for when its time to design a park that matches today’s needs.
Top tech trends in parks
So, what do digital parks look like? Here are five concepts that you might see in the real world soon:
Recreational drones are being widely accepted in parks, known as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). Some park managers have raised their concerns about how this technology would be invasive of privacy, but opposing opinions believe that having drones in outdoor spaces will only assist in public safety and improve raise security measures.
Simply, beacon counters are Bluetooth enabled devices that can be planted in a variety of locations. One can easily use a smartphone to detect another person’s location. This specific feature was widely welcomed by parents, as all they would need to do is make their children wear a wristband, set a maximum distance for their child, and when that distance is exceeded an alarm would go off on their mobile device. Another benefit that is worth highlighting, beacons collect massive amounts of data and indicate the busiest hours through the day and detect the busiest days of the week.
This is another form of a monitoring system that is installed in parks. Using RFID (Radio-frequency identification) or GPS, the system creates a virtual boundary around the real location with a limit of 200 meters. Geo-fencing is considered an added layer of protection that makes parents let go of worries and widens the parameters of their children’s safety.
Not only normal park benches, but one of the most well-accepted innovations for outdoor spaces, a solar-powered bench that is equipped with a charging wireless pads and provides WIFI that allows you to recharge your gear while you take a breather.
Augmented Reality on the playground
A new AR company, Biba, has introduced a playground-based game for children that allow their parents or accompanying adult to control and monitor the game. As a safety measure, the adult activates the game and scans augmented reality markers on the ground to direct their child’s activity, giving the child a room to roam around freely on the playground while they lay back.
As we witness the rapid penetration of technology in our lives, we can’t outlook the great impact on the social fabrics of our societies. Nowadays, the role of technological advancements had influenced the outdoor experience and significantly portrayed in daily access for errands, transportation, communication and safety.
Software for parks & recreation teams
In light of the above, parks and recreation agencies are eagerly embracing the use of technology and taking advantage of its benefits. Let’s take a look at the best parks and recreation software:
Founded back in 2001 in the U.S with the dream of offering a fully-featured, web-based, recreation management software that is very easy to get around and use. The platform offers simple online registration, supports communication with registrants, customizable announcements, and free demo site access.
From Canada to the world in 2006, the company offers facilitations for operators and front-line staff to have the chance to manage their recreational facilities online. By integrating the latest technologies, they offer an all-in-one solution that starts from facility management and membership management to event/registration/ league and contract management.
Tyler Parks and Rec
Based in the U.S., their vision is to create communities that are fully connected with a healthy digital infrastructure. Their features include booking and scheduling, mapping for recreational activities, financial management, software support solutions and civic services, all while being fully committed to the public sector.
Since 2002, this cloud-based recreational management software solution service is designed to seamlessly integrate cutting-edge modules. The presented features incorporate child care, check-in/out, contract/event/league/ registration/membership and facility management.
For years, technology use has expanded in our lives, so why not embrace its existence in our parks? Parks are a necessity for every community and the healthy development of its growth so if tech-enabled ideas are pushing towards going out and remembering what was it like before the age of internet, so be it.
PlanRadar supports property managers
Although PlanRadar was designed to support the construction and real estate industries, our flexible platform can help all kinds of facility managers. If you manage recreational places, you might be interested to learn more about our flexible task management software. We also support maintenance and repair projects, no matter what kind of facility you run.
To learn more about PlanRadar, contact us for a custom consultation. You can also try our platform free for 30 days.