What makes an urban environment a smart city is its ability to enhance the quality and performance of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens. In other words, it is about using technology to understand the massive amounts of data that is around us.
We at Unacast asked Trevor Longino, Head of PR and Marketing at Kontakt.io why beacons are the go-to technology when it comes to building smart cities.
Why choose beacons when planning on becoming a smart city?
There are several reasons for using beacons in smart cities. One of the most valid arguments is the flexibility of the technology. Beacons can range up to 100 meters in ideal conditions and much less when you don’t need them to reach users that far. Moreover, beacons are energy efficient and have the necessary level of ubiquity -- almost every smartphone bought in the last 5 years supports Bluetooth Low Energy (which is what powers beacons). As a result, beacons are a flexible, inexpensive and almost unbeatable pieces of technology that can make your city smarter.
Despite the youngness of the proximity industry, what have been the best examples how proximity beacons have contributed to the smart city concept?
Beaconized apps such as BlindSquare and Wayfindr have already proved that with beacons and proximity you can improve your citizens’ lives substantially. Both of these apps make it easier for the visually impaired to navigate through indoor and outdoor environments using their smartphones, to make them aware of their surroundings and grant them more independence. But there are thousands of good use cases out there. We are now piloting several projects around the globe with public transit where beacons are used to help connect transport infrastructure and better inform the users of system updates in a manner that is much more user friendly than the usual jabber from the speakers.
What is Kontakt.io’s vision for future smart cities and how big of a role are beacons going to play in it?
The goal for proximity technologies from the smart cities perspective, is to provide seamless information when and where it is needed. I believe we will soon reach the point where as we go to a place and start looking for a piece of data a smart city will give it to us hassle-free. We will find that the world around us reacts to us, frictionlessly giving us the information about where we are just as we need it--or maybe even a second or two before. And that will make living in the city a lot more pleasant.
Introducing BeaconValley global hackathon
We at Unacast, share the vision of proximity technologies becoming an important part of future smart cities. Therefore, we are glad to introduce the BeaconValley global hackathon by Kontakt.io. The theme, as you might have guessed, is Smart City.
BeaconValley started out in June as a project to turn Krakow, Poland into a smart city by using beacons. After a successful event with 100 attendees from 21 companies, Kontakt.io is taking the concept to the next level by hosting a new event, but this time in 4 major cities at the same time. The event will take place on November 21-22 in New York, London, Guadalajara and Krakow.
Who can join the BeaconValley event?
Participation in the BeaconValley is free. It is possible to register as an individual or as an entire team. Everybody is welcome, whether you’re an Android and iOS developer, a project manager, a graphic designer, or a beacon fan. Attendees will be supported by mentors, tips from Marty McHack, and food and drinks. Teams will be able to work on projects related to 4 categories: culture, health, commerce and transportation. If you don’t have an idea, don’t worry, Kontakt.io will propose some local challenges in each city and Proxama, who is the global partner of the event, will suggest a global challenge.
Why should people participate?
If you believe that life around us can be improved tremendously by capturing the context of our everyday activities.
If you are a beacon enthusiast and agree with global brands that beacons are the ultimate tools for improving computer comprehension of the real world.
If you would like to spend a weekend among talented and open minded people. If you already have a unique idea, but don’t know how to execute it. Kontakt.io will provide all the tools necessary to get your project from paper to reality. Also, there will be a lot of prizes and did I mention it is free?
Before attending the event, it is strongly recommended to check out Proxbook, the guide for proximity marketing and an official media partner of BeaconValley. Get inspiration from 30 different proximity use cases on how proximity is leveraged around the globe. Also, be sure to get your hands on Marty McHacks Ultimate Guide to Beacon hacking on VHS. So what the hack are you waiting for? Sign up for the Global Hackathon here.
Visit and sign up to Proxbook here: www.proxbook.com