At Footmarks, we believe bringing digital intelligence to physical spaces will usher a golden age of retail. But we also know beacon technology — free from connectivity concerns and the battery-draining shortcomings of GPS — has wide application beyond the realm of commerce. In fact, we think some of the most exciting uses of beacons today are those that improve urban living and enable smarter cities.
Beacons, which use Bluetooth Low Energy to send and receive signals, are just as effective indoors as out, and afford connections between the physical world and the digital world with an unprecedented level of granularity.
We’re particularly eager for our new hometown of New York City to embrace beacon technology, and so the Footmarks team has been busy brainstorming ways in which beacons could provide transformative experiences for New Yorkers, as well as groundbreaking improvements in city governance.
Here are 7 verticals in which beacons could have an impact right away:
Beacon technology as City infrastructure:
At Footmarks we’ve imagined the City’s beacon infrastructure managed in three different ways, with a simple set up — a beacon on every city streetlamp* — common to all three.
Scenario 1: The City of New York owns the beacons and licenses their use to developers for a fee.
Scenario 2: The City makes the network public, and allows any developer to layer their experience on top.
Scenario 3: A hybrid of the two previous scenarios, whereby the City makes available a certain number of connections at a time, and charges larger commercial ventures a fee.
At Footmarks, we like the sound of the third scenario the best, but all approaches have pros and cons, and all approaches would greatly increase the speed and creativity of beacon innovations and city improvements.
Read on: 1. Sports
*The New York City street lighting system — at 300,000 lamps, the largest municipal system in the country — is currently undergoing an LED lighting overhaul as part of the energy efficiency goals formalized by the Bloomberg administration. These system retrofits provide a rare opportunity for municipal deployment of low cost beacon infrastructure at scale.
(Did you know you can already apply to NYC’s Department of Transportation for a permit to modify street lighting and traffic signals for temporary events and installations?)