The Future of Parks and Recreation: Robbie Bach, Power Session Speaker and Pioneer of the Digital Entertainment Industry Reveals How Technology Will Change the Field

Article excerpt

Robbie Bach, the president of the Entertainment and Devices Division at the Microsoft Corporation, will lend his technology knowledge to an eager park and recreation ear when he speaks at the 2006 NRPA Congress & Exposition on Oct. 13. Bach is in charge of creating a vision for the company's role in entertainment technologies, including music, television and video, as well as the Interactive Entertainment Business, which includes Xbox[R] and Games for Windows[R].

Bach has spent 16 years at Microsoft. He sits on the board of governors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and is the chairman of the Entertainment Software Association. Bach chatted with Parks & Recreation magazine about the integration of technology into the field of parks and recreation.

How has technology changed the way people use their free time?

"A great deal of Microsoft's focus has been around making people more productive with their time. When it comes to spending that free time, we have seen how the Internet, especially broadband, has transformed how people communicate and how they choose their entertainment. Families can now easily build Web sites to showcase family photos; teens around the world are blogging and instant messaging to share photos and stay in touch with friends; and many people organize and play digital music through Windows PCs and portable entertainment devices. We have also seen an explosion of mobile devices worldwide. This ability to stay connected from anywhere and nearly any place can turn a spare moment into an opportunity for fun. There's certainly the flip side in that many may want to disconnect. But, like I mentioned, technology is a tool. It's how you use it--or choose not to use it--that makes the difference."

In what ways can the field of parks and recreation better use existing technologies?

"The key is seeing technology as a tool. The opportunities are truly endless to incorporate technology into how park and recreation departments work, and also in how people can utilize them. I live in Washington state, and I already see state and local park departments using the web for information and promotion, from finding a local soccer field to finding out where and when to hike. …

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