Perhaps one of the most surprising things about recent COVID-19 “Stay at Home” and “Shelter in Place” orders has been a significant increase in park visitation.
Park and recreation professionals are seeking answers to key questions as they move into a response and prevention mode due to increasing cases of COVID-19. Real time visitation data such as what is provided by See Insights' car and pedestrian counters is crucial to making correct and timely decisions.
According to Fast Company, many states saw a decline in park activity (numbers were down 47% in New York, 27% in Texas, and 38% in Nevada), but others saw a rise in park use: North Dakota park activity was up 73%, Utah saw a rise of 26%, and park activity in South Dakota and Ohio more than doubled, increasing by 126% and 117%, respectively. See Insights monitors parks across North Carolina and in California and visitation growth of 100% or more for weekdays was quite common in the early days of the pandemic. We also saw significant increases in park staff logging into their attendance portals and requesting increased report generation frequency. Early responses to this data included increased communications about social distancing through signs, social media and official statements.
Importantly, park staff and operations have also been affected. Many Parks are short-staffed by mandatory shutdowns, transitions to teleworking schedules and child / dependent care responsibilities putting pressure on park and recreation facilities. Increased visitation compounds the important work of park staff around safety, sanitation, resource protection and law enforcement.
These factors (increased visitation / staffing challenges) have put parks in a tough spot. On the one hand, letting people explore our parks has both psychological and physical benefits during this stressful time. On the other, crowded parks, single track trails and short staff dictated something had to be done. For example, NC State Parks saw such an increase in visitation that they made the tough choice to close most parks. See Insights' visitation data now helps them measure compliance. On the other hand, Wake County Parks (one of the largest local park systems in the state) have stayed open but use the data to look for over-crowding and to adjust park hours to reduce pressure on staffing. In both cases, accurate and timely data was key.
We hope that everyone stays safe and healthy during this crisis. We are happy to play a small but important role in smart and safe park operations. This is one of the key drivers for our company - better data enables better decisions.
When I first heard about 5G, I thought, “oh cool, another G to make my cell phone experience better!” 5G is so much more than that. It’s going to transform so many industries and ways of working. Given my passion for IoT, I started to think of what can 5G bring to IoT.
5G can be the answer to so many new IoT Use Cases. It can transform cities by deploying smart lights, drones for public safety (not sure I love that), smart parking solutions to name a few. It can also change rural areas and help our farmers globally through crop yield monitoring, milk preservation, soil sensors, weather integration and much more.
Why: 5G uses spectrum within three frequency ranges -sub-1 GHz, 1-6 GHz, and above 6 GHz- to deliver high speed and widespread coverage across urban and rural areas. It offers speed and scale when it comes to IoT devices. Service Providers need to make the best use of the performance characteristics (such as peak rates, traffic capacity, and latency) of each band to enable the diverse needs of varied use cases.
Benefits: With 5G, the greatest impacts will be on
Partnering across companies who can bring good AI solutions, flexible Cloud options and Secure IoT platforms will be key for IoT providers to bring integrated value to their clients across cities, rural area and around the world.
The world is experiencing a perfect storm of Artificial Intelligence, Cloud and Analytics and IoT.
AI algorithms make sense of the data coming from large numbers of connected devices with cloud providing the compute power. You add to that AI driven automation and IoT systems start to make sense, become real.
One has to start somewhere and I recommend picking some practical use cases, with a real problem to solve and clear benefit expectations. Then do a cost-benefit analysis both short term and long term.
IoT has the potential of making a huge difference in everything we touch and in making this works better! I have seen success stories across multiple industries and use cases ranging from parks, cities, health care, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation and many more. The global use cases have also varied though applicable with a slightly different cost benefit in other countries.
IoT is helping farmers in Rwanda from over watering to working with parks in California in tracking mountain bikers and trail usage. These examples demonstrate the diversity of value IoT can deliver.
Every company need an IoT strategy. To apply it or play another role as a provider in the IoT value chain.