Empowering citizens with #ProximityServices – SXSW 2015

New York City in the Age of Proximity

New York City in the Age of Proximity

Imagine New York City as a supremely intelligent device that constantly communicates, understands, broadcasts and shares relevant information with its citizens. Imagine the MTA, for instance, communicating in real time with its passengers, suggesting which bus or train to take while considering weather reports, accidents, or fastest routes. The power and reach of proximity services in cities is now possible through new device-to-device communication technologies and apps such as LTE Direct and Compass.to, that allow our cities to become smart and let inhabitants take true advantage of the data that surrounds them while helping them make the right choices.

During the past few days, innovators in the mobile industry have been discussing at SXSW 2015 the idea of empowering citizens through the efficient use of their mobile devices. Steve, our co-founder and CXO, and myself talked about another important and pressing issue in the mobile industry, which is privacy and data transparency at SXSW. The intersection between these topics are just a few among the next generation of mobile creations that will truly enrich our experience as mobile consumers.
LinkNYC by CityBridge

LinkNYC by CityBridge

The topic about intelligent cities is taking shape thanks to the ambitious LinkNYC project, created by the CityBridge team which includes team members from Titan, Control Group, and Qualcomm, among others. They, too, were present at SXSW Interactive and highlighted the importance and relevance of proximity services in our cities that empower citizens and change the way we can access information in the Transmedia Storytelling in the Age of Proximity panel.
SXSW Panel with Jeff Henkel (Qualcomm, Director Business Development), Dave Etherington (Titan, New York), Collin O'Donnell (Control Group)

SXSW Panel with Jeff Henkel (Qualcomm, Director Business Development), Dave Etherington (Titan, New York), Collin O’Donnell (Control Group)

Colin O’Donnell, from Control Group, explained that LinkNYC is a “first-of-its-kind communications network that will bring the fastest available municipal Wi-Fi to millions of New Yorkers, small businesses, and visitors.” The system aims to replace obsolete street pay-phones with Links that include wireless technologies, interactive systems and digital ad displays. Jeff Henckels, Director Business Development at Qualcomm, who spoke about this open API with accessible information to its users in NYC, also touched upon the importance of privacy and data transparency in relation to LTE Direct and proximity services. Along with Dave Etherington, Chief Strategy Officer at Titan, the panelists concurred about the fact that mobile apps are not being privacy transparent especially when it comes to proximity. So, the question is: How to use proximity while users trust the system with their private information?
Compass.to is committed to this challenge and is definitely trying to bring to market a fully reliable app that not only lets users keep, discover and join relevant people around them, but maintaining safe and transparent privacy policies by using powerful technologies like LTE Direct.

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