Beacons are coming!

In June of 2016, the Rockaway Business Alliance was awarded the Neighborhood Challenge Grant, a grant put out by SBS and EDC challenging community organizations to propose a technology solution to a commercial corridor challenge.The Rockaway Business Alliance was awarded $100,000 to institute Rockaway ConneX, a dual-faceted solution to Rockaways issues with connectivity.

As part of Rockaway ConneX, the RBA will deploy 100 smart beacons throughout the peninsula, which will passively communicate information to smartphone users about transportation, local events, business promotions, and public artwork. The only information that the beacons gather are user counts, so all users privacy is maintained.

Passersby with Android phones will receive notifications from the beacons; these notifications are passive (NOT push notifications), and can be viewed when passersby open up their notifications. The beacons will be accompanied with QR Codes, for iPhone users to engage. The new iOS update has a QR code reader built directly into the camera which, coupled with the fact that each hotspot will be accompanied by beautiful and engaging signage, will maximize the user potential and experience.

As of October, our contract is finally registered with the city, and we are excited to announce that we will be deploying the first round of beacons at the end of this month! We are offering this technology as a resource to our Rockaway Business Alliance member businesses to connect with their customers about happy hour specials, upcoming events, sales, and more.

Each beacon is capable of sending out a different message, and we believe that these beacons, combined with QR codes, can be a great resource to our member businesses and to other organizations representing public interest. About a third of our total budget for Rockaway ConneX is allocated to marketing, in the hopes that we can encourage people to engage with this technology.

This first round deployment will provide us with great information about how beacon technology can best serve our member businesses. As we begin to receive feedback from businesses and users, we will make necessary tweaks and improvements to communicate more effectively.

We will be hosting a workshop on Wednesday, January 24th to introduce this technology to our newest beacon-owners, and to any of our other members interested in hosting. Details TBD.

We are very excited to be piloting this technology in Rockaway, and encourage your feedback! Have questions about beacons, or interested in taking part in this exciting project? Please contact us at info@rockawaybusinessalliance.org

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