Roger Williams University - November 8, 2017
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Walking around downtown Providence it's easy to get lost among the maze of tall buildings and intersecting streets. And even though there are opportunities surrounding you, it's easy to miss what's available behind the stone facades.
In partnership with the city and over a dozen organizations, RWU's School of Continuing Studies worked with digital communication company Loud-Hailerto help launch a mobile application that puts those opportunities right at your fingertips.
Called Providence2GO, the application directly connects users to Providence's businesses, organizations and institutions based on where they are in the city and without always relying on the user's carrier service, internet or Wi-Fi.
Starting with a ten-month pilot, Providence will be the first city in the US to launch the application and trial the new technology that powers it.
"The goal is to create a linked city," said Jamie Scurry, dean of RWU's School of Continuing Studies. "We are excited to work with Loud-Hailer and our partners on improving and connecting the community we serve and testing this impressive technology that other cities and communities can learn from."
Content delivered to users includes information on Providence and its businesses, notifications on local events and activities, behind-the-scenes views at those local events and activities and special deals from nearby restaurants, shops and businesses.
The idea is that users don't have to do constant searches of "what's near me" or "what's nearby" and hope that their search provides relevant results, said Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jack Chen.
With Providence2GO that information will be automatically received and curated based on channels users subscribe to and their location within the city.
"You literally just open the app, decide what you want to know about in the city and the information comes to you," said Cimon Chen, co-founder, president and chief creative officer.
For example, users interested in learning more about the School of Continuing Studies who are in range of the campus will receive information on courses and events happening at the school.
One of the Buki-Boxes located at RWU's School of Continuing Studies.
Providence2GO runs on new technology developed by Loud-Hailer called Buki-Boxes, which act as Bluetooth engagement points and are located throughout the city. The boxes broadcast pre-loaded and real-time content to nearby users as they come within the listening range of different engagement spots, making the information hyperlocal and relevant to what stores, events and activities surround the user.
Roger Williams students in Providence can use it to fully take advantage of studying in the heart of downtown. It can also change the way students and faculty communicate with each other on campus.
Initially, the application will only be available on iOS devices. Loud-Hailer will expand it to other platforms after the initial launch.
The School of Continuing Studies was the first to partner with Loud-Hailer and helped bring other partners on-board. Currently, local partners include, WaterFire, AS220, Rhode Tour, Providence Public Library, Marsella Properties, Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, the Rhode Island Governor’s Office of Innovation and City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism.
Loud-Hailer is working on adding more partners in Providence.
In addition to the launch of Providence2GO, Loud-Hailer announced that the company is in discussions with several cities and organizations across the country – ranging from businesses to universities – on Connected City platforms, including Columbus, Ohio and Sacramento, California.
Potential cities and organizations will be watching the pilot in Providence with great interest as they consider adopting the technology and launching similar applications for their cities.
The application is available on iTunes for download.