How about a walk through the park?
I think one of the best ways to demonstrate the concept of a proximity based economy and lifestyle is to give an example of someone in the park. Imagine you are in central park for the first time, what do you do with so many people walking, biking, running and moving around us. Well, given that it’s such a huge park, there are far too many things to get to it all, but how do we know what to do. This is the question that the proximity based economy tries to answer. So, standing in central park, we take out our smartphone and with the tap of a button we see everything happening around us. Oh cool, a nearby park visitor posts a picture of a sand sculpture at the south end of the park, click and navigate towards it. Wow, that sculpture is huge! With another tap into our smartphone we see an event posted by Dan who is going to be walking across coals juggling 5 balls at the same time, awesome. With some real live entertainment in our lives, time to figure out an activity. Again, we open the app, and we see there is a bike rental place offering 10% off for the next hour on all rentals, perfect! Navigate over to the bike rental spot and ride around the park with ease to see more. Whoa, now that that’s done time for a bite to eat. You discover there is an authentic deep dish pizza stand in central park west with world famous pizza, and the photos to prove it. Mmmm, that pizza was good! And with that, I think we can wrap up our day in the park as a success, and it was all powered by a proximity based economy.
I give that example because that’s the type of situation that this style of tech can be utilized in every day life around the globe, and it’s happening faster than we think.
How about the professional applications
In our constant pursuit of all things that may help us develop in our professional career, the proximity based reality of networking as we are within the local area of someone is an incredible way to leverage and make the best possible use of your surroundings. For instance, many people in their regular lives find it too difficult to set up and establish meetings with people through email, phone or other. However, if you were to come across this person as they were grabbing a coffee, or waiting for the train, in an airport or somewhere else, it may present a solid opportunity to meet this person having a very humanlike interaction. It is of course up to you to make the interaction go smooth, and potentially win some business out of it, but the very idea that interactions like this can take place through a universal application all based around proximity is something I very much look forward to.
Using proximity for events
In this proximity based lifestyle, everywhere is more interesting. Why? Because it’ll be easy to find interesting and entertaining thing to do right around you. How often do we know about the band playing in the park near our house, or the hot dog eating contest going on downtown, or even the opportunity to go rock climbing with a group in whatever town you happen to be in. This is what doesn’t happen now, but would be awesome if it did. Events happen around us all the time, but we rarely know what sort of events are going on. This is a great time to introduce and intelligent way of spreading the message of proximity based events around us, because people are consuming more and more content, with an increasing proportion of that being towards live events. This way it makes it so anyone can set up an event in real time, and immediately broadcast that event out to everyone in the local area, driving a real time activity of people coming together for entertainment. One of my favorite examples of proximity based events is the snowball fight. I’m on the east coast and last year in Boston, we got slammed with over 110 inches of snow. On these snow days, many just don’t know what to do. But, all of the sudden on your phone you see a new broadcast of a snowball event going down, already with 20 people attending. By the time you arrive the whole park is one massive snowball fight. Drawing event’s together like this is something which happens naturally to people, but is made drastically easier with the use of modern technology. Even the solo performer in the park can broadcast out his guitar session using proximity based events within this app. Right at our fingertips.
Businesses will love the proximity based economy
In this new world of hyper over communication it get’s tough to cut through the clutter as a brand looking to make an impact and sell some products. One of the benefits of the proximity based network is that it presents the cleanest example of communication, with direct access to phones, limited to the people who are in the area, so you aren’t competing with the noise of the entire web. On a different note, imagine the impact of being able to target select people as they came within a few miles of your stores, presenting a coupon for 10% off the scarf they were looking at online the other day. Or, while someone takes the bus by your location you present the inventory available for sale, which he selects several items for his cart, orders, and shows up a short time later to grab his goods! As you can see, the attractiveness of the proximity based economy is something to be on the lookout for. Everything is within our range, it’s simply a matter of knowing it’s around us, which is why when you are able to give someone exactly what they need, where they need it, we are making the relationship between people and the merchants who supply the people easier and clearer.
So is there a downside?
Let’s take a moment to address some of the concerns regarding a proximity based lifestyle and economy. First, as I’m sure many people are aware, the privacy issue regarding all web and mobile platforms is something that needs to be addressed. In this case, the data associated with a person will be regulated, and secured, but more importantly people will have the control to limit who is receiving their information. One feature is controlling how many times you must cross paths with someone in the same area before they can see who you are. This is accompanied by the ability to subscribe and unsubscribe people who can view your profile, so no unethical characters out there will be able to see your content. As you can see there are many ways to deal with this issue of privacy and integrity of the information being contained within the local network.
On another note, the biggest caveat to growing a local network like this is to have a lot of people using the app itself. With this considered the biggest challenge, luckily there are a number of ways to make this process easier. There are already many local databases of event’s and things out there, but they do not alert you as you are within the area, so implementing these existing events, into the real time local network would already provide a utility. Additionally, as the idea of a proximity based economy spreads the usefulness of this becomes aparent through the diverse uses it provides, the transition will converge from all existing systems in place to one unified network providing it all.
As the world unfold’s before us, why not make use of the things we have created, to form easier, and more complete experiences living life. This is the entire intention behind the proximity based economy. One of my biggest goals in introducing the whole concept of the proximity based network is to bring the online world and merge it with the offline world for a more complete loop. By reading this, you are probably waiting for some sort of action or step to take forward. The next step forward will be to introduce Proximo to many retailers across the country, and expand an ever connected world.