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Five neighbourly business ideas

Telecoms & Tech

Localisation is a key buzzword for businesses promoting products and services, but advertisers aren’t the only ones innovating at the local level. There’s an exciting range of new enterprises targeting communities and helping neighbours connect. Here are five recent spottings with a neighbourhood focus: 1. STREETBANK — Streetbank in the UK aims to help neighbours get to know each other, simply by being nice. Users indicate something they’d be willing to lend, help with or give away. Having done that, they can see what others are offering in their area, or they can make a request for something specific. The result: people get to meet, share something, and hopefully become friends. 2. WIJ BOUWEN EEN WIJK — Wij Bouwen Een Wijk (“We’re building a neighbourhood”) isn’t a company: it’s a community effort to design and oversee the construction of every aspect of the neighbourhood in which project members will eventually live. Participants with the most innovative ideas can even get a street named after them! 3. DEHOOD — DeHood is a social network application that focuses entirely on location: everything and everyone that users see is in their immediate surroundings. To encourage a sense of community, users are encouraged to report what’s going on nearby, from traffic accidents to get-togethers. Shoppers can share deals that they find in local stores, and promotions featured at chainstores are aggregated and passed on to users. 4. GASTOWN BLOG — The Gastown district in Vancouver has a lively website listing local events and promotions. It was formed in partnership between local government and businesses, but now features active participation from the wider community. Earlier this year The Gastown Blog attached QR codes to various historic buildings in Gastown, enabling passersby to instantly call up detailed information about the buildings. 5. CABSENSE — Featuring a smart use of the publicly available data gathered from New York City taxis’ GPS devices, CabSense is an iPhone app showing locations where users are most likely to find a cab in their area. CabSense’s algorithm uses the GPS statistics to calculate a probability score for successfully hailing a cab at any given street corner, at the current time (or at a time specified by the user). Spotters: Jane Durney, Kevin de Caluwé, Cecilia Biemann, Kevin W.


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