BY MEGHAN SACKMAN
The Rockaway Business Alliance (RBA) last month launched its Rockaway ConneX, an initiative to solve connectivity issues on the peninsula using money from a Neighborhood Challenge Grant the group was awarded in June.
“We’re launching this beacon program in Rockaway, which is really exciting, but we’re bringing it here to Rockaway and then hopefully throughout the city eventually,” said Theo Boguszewski of Perch Advisors, the consulting firm that is helping manage RBA.
The first phase of the initiative was to place smart beacons that can communicate with smart phones through bluetooth and Wi-Fi at more than 100 businesses. Notifications will give information about local businesses, promotions and discounts, and transportation information through technology provided by Connecthings.
“Bridging the gap between physical infrastructure and digital services is going to bring very innovative and very creative services for people that walk into your shop,” said Connecthings project manager Lucas Brechot.
In addition to the beacons, the new Combrr app will allow summer beachgoers the ability to have food and other goods delivered to their beach blanket through the use of GPS and a selfie. The intent is to bring consumers to businesses that don’t benefit from a beachfront location.
“The goal of Rockaway ConneX is to connect the east and the west end and the businesses that exist throughout the very long peninsula,” said RBA chair Yarden Flatow at an event on January 24 celebrating the first 18 beacons. “We have to connect Rockaway, which has been historically underserved by more contemporary technology infrastructure.”
“Anything that helps all the businesses down here, because it’s so hard to run a business especially in the very seasonal areas, is beneficial,” said owner Dan Tubberty. “So of course we want to help get people out. We’re excited to be the first ones.”