Technology 2.0: Elevating Water Feature Experiences

Posted in Insights -

Technology is driving growth in a myriad of future-facing industries, and commercial real estate is no exception.

As property owners and managers continue to adopt new PropTech solutions to increase efficiency, many are also seeking the latest in tech solutions for the water features that amaze, entertain, and/or relax their tenants and guests.

Today’s water features are increasingly utilizing new technology that creates dazzling effects while simultaneously making fountain operation more convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.

The OTL team is leading the charge in this endeavor, integrating the latest advances into the fountains we design and build. Below are some of the most prominent trends we are seeing in the evolution of water feature technology:

Increased Automation

While automation technology has been integrated into fountain control for nearly as long as electricity has been running pumps and lights, today’s water features have embraced a new wave of automation – offering solutions that can substantially enhance the consumer experience while also allowing building owners and operators to run water features with less effort and less manual intervention.

From an entertainment and experience perspective, automation allows for a breadth of creativity, including robotic jets and lights that deliver water shows which vary by season or event, as well as sensors that can activate or change effects when people approach a fountain.

On the maintenance side, automated technologies such as chemical sensors can detect when a fountain needs filtering, enable the cleaning process, and emit the right dosage of chemicals.  These sensors provide automatic feedback to property operators even before a problem occurs, enabling managers to proactively address and circumvent any issues, without the need for hands-on fountain repairs.

Easier Remote Control and Monitoring

Effective fountain operation requires ongoing monitoring to ensure that equipment continues to work correctly over time.

With today’s technology advances, fountain systems can increasingly be monitored and managed from a distance – often directly from an iPad or iPhone – offering building managers and operators as well as OTL’s maintenance technicians tremendous flexibility and convenience.

Remote-controlled DMX/RDM systems, which allow show fountains to be controlled and monitored from afar, are already standard in all of OTL’s show fountain builds. Moving forward, we are increasingly integrating RDM two-way communication systems, which allow us to monitor the status of all fountain equipment remotely, as well as ethernet cameras, giving property owners and operators 24/7 access to a visual of their fountain.

OTL employs these technologies in many of our large show fountains with excellent results.

Up Next: More Immersive Special Effects

Special effects in water features can immerse viewers in enchanting worlds and present them with breathtaking new experiences.

With today’s advancing technologies, these effects are becoming more phenomenal – enabling next-level interaction and engagement for today’s experience-craving consumer base.

For example, in the future, hands-free control of choreographic show fountains will read visitors’ movements, giving them the power to virtually conduct fountain effects – the pinnacle of interaction.

Other emerging technologies include 3-D projection mapping, which can produce animated lighting effects on buildings and landscapes behind fountains to create seamless interactive environments; as well as machine vision, which will allow water features to recreate visitors’ movements.

As technology for the built environment continues to evolve, the water features OTL designs and constructs will become exponentially more fascinating for consumers, and even more convenient and cost-effective for property owners and operators to manage.

With increased automation, easier remote-control and monitoring systems, and more immersive special effects, the sky is truly the limit when it comes to the impact technology can and will have on the appeal and functionality of water features in commercial properties—and on each property owner’s bottom line.