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Christian Morales

Lead Internet Marketer at IoE Corp
Published - 04/20/2023   |   Reading time - 10 min 15 sec

The industrial revolution beginnings initiated the burst of city life, welcoming rural natives to become vibrant, energetic, and fast-paced citizens. The more cities grew, the more it was clear there was a need for open rural spaces for city dwellers to access for recreational purposes. Urban, metropolitan, or municipal parks develop continuously, integrating relevant uses as societies become more democratic and demand different recreational activities.

Initial parks were replicas of rural landscapes where citizens could go and indulge in country life without the need to leave the city. From paths for walking to picnic areas, parks developed into exercise hubs introducing sports fields, gymnasia, and later swimming pools. Parks evolved from places for workers to relax in nature to fitness areas, zoos, and museums. Today, next-generation citizens are digital natives, in other words, residents who utilize smartphones, apps, and social media as intrinsic to their lives. Smart park tech offers digital natives the recreational services and products they demand to continue using technology optimality while spending time in city parks.

Urban park administrators, managers, and the workforce must adapt to this new reality if they want frequent and repeated visits by digital natives. In addition, technological implementation is an asset to parks' sustainability, maintenance, and cost-effectivity. Let's walk through the benefits intelligent parks bring to the coming digital native wave and the managing parties of these essential green spaces in ever-growing city life. To accomplish this, we'll present different technologies helping to create more interest and optimize urban park management. Additionally, we'll explain the challenges behind parks' digital transformation and how partnering with a tech company overcomes critical issues.

What is a smart park?

A smart park's primary concern towards management is to use technology to achieve equitable access, enhanced health, safety, resilience, water and energy efficiency, and effective operations and maintenance. In addition, it utilizes technology to encourage more citizen participation and provide valuable information about the park and events and feedback from visitors to create an environment fit for its community.

In this sense, technology assists in understanding various concerns that make, e.g., the park underutilized and budget-breaking. Smart parks can use a wide range of technologies to enhance and optimize:

As you can see, there are many tech options to choose from, presenting to decision-makers the first problem they must confront. Where to start? It is a complex situation, parks are not seen as fundamental, and as such, they are non-statuary; therefore, local and national administrative budgets for parks are low.

How to introduce smart into your city park

Park managers must first search for a tech partner to implement the right digital tools to set a clear path to introduce technologies. The search must be based on various questions that the tech company has to answer:

The first two questions are subjective and must be approached as such, but a professional tech partner should provide flexible and tailored solutions. The other two questions can be answered objectively, as the benefits and challenges for all urban parks are the same.

The benefits of smart in city parks

To learn about the benefits technology can provide to urban parks, you first must set a clear understanding of what are the problems. Major issues park managers face where technology can be an asset are:

  • Resources for capital improvements and maintenance
  • Unfit services for user needs
  • Inequitable access
  • Obsolescence

Let's look at these problems in detail and technological solutions directly addressing them.

Resources for capital improvements and maintenance

Budgets are constantly under pressure, and park managers are always juggling to keep inside the set budgets. In most cases, to stay within the budget, the overall services' and products' quality is reduced, and park staff is overworked and poorly paid. Maintenance is also a crucial part of the day-to-day chores; it is time-consuming and requires many staff members. In addition, breakdowns due to wear and tear and vandalism create more strains, and budgets can't cope.

Technology is a direct asset to overcome budget and maintenance pressures through automation and predictive maintenance. We are all aware of automatic water controllers, but tech advancements upgrade these watering systems by adding devices and sensors with embedded artificial intelligence (AI). The data gathered is analyzed and presents insights indicating, for example, autonomously, park locations where more or less watering is required, automatically optimizing the watering systems.

Autonomous lawnmowers are also a great asset as they reduce lawn maintenance costs because the task done by two or three staff members is done with one machine. When it comes to overall maintenance, predictive maintenance is an immense asset. AI aid embedded in sensors and devices predicts pipeline leakage and equipment and machinery failure, a solution producing increased savings and prolonging equipment and machinery life.

Unfit services for user needs

As we introduced in the title smart park tech welcomes digital natives, introducing services like Wi-Fi, apps, and websites, adapting to the way of life of digital natives. Other interesting incorporations to tailor design parks for users' needs begin using sensors, devices, cameras, and GIS. Adding IoT and embedded AI to the equation starts a data collection process helping park managers understand who are the park visitors and what and where they spend time during their stay.

Acquiring specific information indicating visitor location and park use helps park managers to optimize events and activities and foster communication with visitors. A perfect solution to gradually and continuously adapt urban and community parks to fit the current user needs. Examples come in many forms. Sports activities might have more repercussions at an urban park than at a community park, or music events bring bigger crowds to parks close to a university. Other examples using GIS can provide insightful information showing that certain parts of a city have more parks.

Inequitable access

Societies evolve, and one of the great movements modeling it today is the integration of all, from kids to elders going through disabled and digital natives. In the same way, IoT and embedded AI help tailor design parks, it can also gather data to accommodate green space to fit, e.g., digital natives and disabled. Investing in free Wi-Fi might be a great way to attract digital natives to parks, and lighting improvements enhance a sense of safety.

There are countless ways of improving inequitable access via well-educated decision-making actioned by intelligent technology implementation. Social media is also an easy and cheap solution to involve younger generations in park participation and use it as a marketing tool to attract future visitors and tourists. Although more complex, creating an app for the park can provide benefits by adding park information, activities, and events and offering the possibility to reserve soccer grounds or picnic areas.


Following the same lines of manager and visitor communication via technologies, i.e., apps and social media, helps managers get citizens engaged. In turn, this direct engagement can move into community members getting involved in the planning, design, and new tech adoption, enabling the community to feel ownership of the park and reducing the chance of its obsolescence.

Smart park implementation challenges

New implementations always come with challenges at various levels, from reluctance to change due to fear of the unknown to investing costs of adjusting infrastructure. Smart parks are no different. A part of society understands green spaces should be tech-free, and they believe tech implementation will remove the pleasures of enjoying nature. This a debate we are not going to enter, as our primary concern is helping to deploy smart park tech efficiently, cost-effectively, sustainably, and safely.

Focusing on Internet of Everything Corporation (IoE Corp) expertise, the technological challenges hindering smart park implementation are based on how to manage data collection. The coming fourth industrial revolution introduces society to interconnectivity between the digital and physical world. This situation brings issues because digital data management; currently, is provided by centralized solutions, i.e., the Cloud.

Centralized data collection works through data storage, processing, analysis, and delivery from server centers; these can be thousands of kilometers from where the data is generated. As such, real-time data assurance is impossible due to latency and bandwidth bottlenecks; in practical terms, this is when you try to open a website, and it takes an unusual amount of time to load. When it's a website, it isn't a big issue; the consequences of waiting are practically none apart from frustration, which in most cases can be remedied by searching for another website or doing something else while you wait for the site to load.

The problem comes when the solution is used for critical services that do require real-time data assurance. In these cases, latency and bandwidth are unacceptable; smart parks are one of these services requiring real-time data. A simple example to understand the need for real-time data is predictive maintenance. If data doesn't come when required an irrigation pipe leak might be learned about when it is too late. In addition, there might be data center outages leaving smart park technology unfunctional, with no Wi-Fi, autonomous irrigation systems, smart lighting, etc.

More challenges related to centralized data management services are cybersecurity and data privacy. Cyberattacks and data breaches are common issues, and setting these risks in society isn't the best way to onboard citizens into accepting intelligent tech solutions to community and city parks. The problem resides in one point of attack; centralized data management solutions are vulnerable because once cybercriminals access the network, they can take control of the whole system.

Decentralized tech mitigates smart parks' challenges

Partnering with a tech company that can serve decentralized data management solutions is essential to overcome the tech issues. This is possible through a system that functions on-premises and uses the existing hardware computing power to store, process, analyze, and deliver data. This approach reduces the need to use the Cloud, mitigating latency, bandwidth bottlenecks, and server outages.

In addition, decentralization removes the one point of attack risk because service information is available system-wide. All devices have access to the service information. Data security and privacy are secured by blockchain technology. The blockchain keeps track of all data movements and verifies that data received comes from another trusted node on the blockchain. Data movement checksums saved in the blockchain also create the possibility of calculating if a device node deviates from its assigned task. This is important as any node deviating should be isolated and examined as it could be infected by malware, or the hardware can be erroneous.

IoE Corp's Eden system

At Internet of Everything Corporation (IoE Corp), we developed the Eden system, a decentralized software infrastructure blockchain-secured. Partnering with us provides the tools required to implement cost-effectively, sustainably, securely, and seamlessly smart to your city and community parks. Open the doors to smart park tech to welcome digital natives!

Start your journey into smart by applying to the Planet Partner Program. We'll be delighted to begin to help you pave the way for your parks' digital transformation. Empower your embedded technology with AI and stay ahead of the curve at the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution. Learn more about Eden here and apply to IoE Corp's Planet Partner Program here.


UCLA Luskin Centre for Innovation, SMART Parks: A Toolkit, https://innovation.luskin.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Smart_Parks-A_Toolkit.pdf

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