A team of conservationists is launching a major upgrade to SMART – the world’s leading protected area management tool helping conservation practitioners in 70 countries to collect, interpret and use information to make decisions and inform strategies over time with reliable, quantitative data. The announcement was made at the IUCN World Conservation Congress held in Marseille this week.

The new version of SMART – SMART 7, provides a number of key innovations to users,including a new overall user experience, the introduction of SMART Collect – our community data collection tool, and the beta release of SMART Predictive Patrol Planning in collaboration with Harvard and Microsoft AI for Earth.

With SMART 7, users will be able to enjoy a new User Interface, including over 1,000 new icons illustrating a range of events and actions relevant for protected area management activities. These icons both speed data collection and make data entry more accessible for individuals with limited literacy. SMART 7 also brings a tighter integration between SMART’s desktop, cloud version and our SMART Mobile tool, helping you easily, accurately, and quickly record observations in the field.

Said Jonathan Palmer, WCS Executive Director for Conservation Technology and SMART Chief Technology Officer: “SMART 7 is our most innovative release ever. It blends cutting edge AI technology with enhancements to support rangers with limited literacy collect data using images and icons. It expands the data coming into SMART from ranger based data collection to data collection by all stakeholders and opens SMART up to integrating 100’s of different sensors. By significantly expanding on our commitment to build solutions that meet the needs of front line conservation works, SMART 7 shows why SMART remains the world’s leading and most widely scaled solution for supporting protected area management.”

This new launch coincides with SMART 10 year celebration. SMART adoption continues to expand thanks to the support and innovation of our collaborators and partners in the global SMART community. Since its public release, SMART adoption has expanded more than 15 times, increasing from 65 initial sites to over 1,000 at the close of 2020 in more than 70 different countries, with the majority overlapping Key Biodiversity Areas and with 21 countries now adopting SMART at the national level.

Said Richard Bergl, SMART Steering Committee Chair : “Ten years ago SMART was conceived as a way to empower conservationists around the world with tools that would help them in their efforts to conserve biodiversity. The SMART Partnership is gratified by the scope and scale of SMART adoption globally and we are proud to have created a platform that so many of our colleagues now use to better protect wildlife. We will continue to develop and support SMART in order to meet the needs of the global conservation community.”

The best solution for managing your conservation area now offers additional support SMART has evolved from a desktop-based database to a powerful holistic protected area solution with integrations for different sensors and machine learning capabilities and cloud capabilities. SMART assists those on the frontlines of conservation with everything from data collection and analysis, to reporting and decision making, ultimately making conservation efforts more effective and efficient.

One of the limiting factors for better storage, management and integration of conservation data for many conservation organizations is the cost of cloud hosting. As part of the SMART Partnership continuous support to our global users we are excited to announce a new service – SMART Connect as a Service (SCaaS). As part of this initiative, SMART will offer free cloud hosting to our users, allowing SMART Connect users to store data securely, access SMART reporting, real time data visualization, allow multiple users to access the databases simultaneously, centrally manage and deploy SMART, integrate SMART data with other systems, as well as manage and respond to real time alerts.

The SMART platform is free, easy to use and deploy, and has made substantial contributions to nature conservation efforts. Our new strategic plan recognizes that technology alone will not solve the conservation crisis, so in addition to improving our tools we are committed to developing the capacity and empowering our user community to manage conservation areas effectively.

For more information on SMART and download visit www.smartconservationtools.org Established in 2011, the SMART Partnership has become the global leader in protected area management solutions, offering an integrated suite of powerful tools and services to help conservation practitioners improve management effectiveness and better protect wildlife.

Current SMART Partnership members are: Frankfurt Zoological Society, North Carolina Zoo, Panthera, Peace Parks Foundation, Re:wild, Wildlife Conservation Society, Wildlife Protection Solutions, World Wildlife Fund, and Zoological Society of London.