With its wide beaches and picturesque coastal towns, the south coast of England has always been a popular destination for summer getaways. But with Covid-19 threatening a second wave, local authorities face the challenge of maintaining social distancing on the beach.
Thankfully, a new app has been unveiled by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Tourism in the United Kingdom, enabling visitors to keep safe by checking which of its beaches are the least congested. This App has been developed by a Digital Innovation firm, Xpertnest, founded by Indian origin Entrepreneurs, Arun Kar, Chintan Panara and Pradip Butani. Xpertnest is Headquartered in London & also located in Bournemouth. Xpertnest is an official member of Forbes Business Council and Finalists of SME National Business Awards – 2020 in Business Innovation Category, in the United Kingdom.
A national-level major incident was declared in Bournemouth after thousands of people descended on the area’s beaches as temperatures soared in June of this year. Xpertnest’s social distancing app, BCP Beach Check, was borne out of this, in an attempt to make such chaotic scenes avoidable in the future.
The app has a live traffic-light system that uses the latest technology to help visitors and residents alike avoid busy hotspots. The simple-to-use app is free to download and available now from Google Play and the Apple App Store, and allows users to check a particular beach or see a map indicating busier areas (red), less busy areas (amber) and those with plenty of available space (green). Crucially, the app allows visitors to make informed choices as to which parts of the beach to visit, and which to avoid in order to maintain social distance during the coronavirus epidemic.
A feedback function lets visitors provide additional input. In addition to showing how busy each beach area is, the app provides handy information on the beach’s lifeguard status, whether toilets are open, and information on bylaws for cycling along the promenade and exercising your dog. Long-term, the app is more than just a solution to help with social distancing.
Data for the app is provided via a number of sources, including seafront rangers, CCTV and some footfall counters. At the start of the day, a prediction is set for each zone, based on previous data, factoring in the date and weather to forecast how busy each zone is likely to be. From mid-morning, BCP Council’s Seafront Ranger team updates each section on a regular basis to reflect any changes in congestion observed.
“With 15 miles of coastline, there is more than enough space for people to be able to spread themselves around and maintain social distancing which is pivotal to ensuring the minimal spread of this pandemic,” said council leader Vikki Slade.
“More than the technology, it’s the impact that we make on lives across the globe is what matters to us most,” said Chintan Panara. “Innovation is not technology, innovation is utility,” added Arun Kar.
BCP began working with Xpertnest on the Beach Check app project in late April, and found the team to be responsive and easy to work with. Xpertnest is pleased to have worked in close partnership with Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council on the creation of this new Beach Check app, which has been developed in a bid to promote safety as the country continues to juggle with regional Covid-19 lockdowns.
Future possibilities for investment in the app’s development are also being looked at as Xpertnest aims to share the benefits by working with other coastal local authorities.