CG Coffee Bot

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coffee mugNobody likes walking to the other side of the office to find that the coffee is old, or worse, there is no coffee left. This is especially true right before a meeting when there is no time to make more. Empty coffee pot alarms are a simple fix, but rehashing a project doesn’t let us experiment and learn. Internal projects should aim to do a few things:

  • Fix an issue
  • Provide an opportunity for experimentation
  • Encourage contribution
  • Be interesting enough to talk about to people outside of the office
  • (Optional) Become a community project/open source

Let’s see how this project met each of those goals:

coffee scaleFrom start to finish, the timeline of this project was quite long. However, 85% of that time was the lull between our initial discussion and when someone stumbled upon a suitable scale. Once we had the scale we went from a snippet of example code to v1 in under two days. This version had a single user interface that showed if a coffee pot was present, how full it was, and when it was brewed. Under the hood, it uses a Raspberry Pi, a USB scale, a Java application for data processing, and Google App Engine to provide the UI.

At this point we had fixed an issue. From the convenience of a URL that can be bookmarked or turned into a widget, our colleagues could know the status of our office coffee pot at all times – whether it’s empty, full, old, new, and how much coffee is left – from anywhere in the world.

IMG_2553IMG_2556With this in place, we provided an opportunity for experimentation. Encouraging contribution took a few different forms. We needed to make it easy for people with different skill sets to get involved. We wrote and shared some interesting Java code, played around with Google App Engine, and built a fun UI. We also provided a way that people could contribute new user interfaces and features through Github.

The initial implementation provides a template that allows a designer or web developer to add a design without worrying about how the server works (because we did all the “boring” work upfront). For people who don’t want to write code, they can post feature requests internally and when someone likes an idea, they can go off and implement it. No one is left out of the Coffee Bot project!

Making Coffee Bot interesting enough to talk about to people outside of the office came naturally. When people heard about it they were excited by the novelty of it and also curious about how it worked. It didn’t take much explanation before they started asking insightful questions, the most common of which was, “doesn’t it get confused when someone is pumping coffee?” (Short answer: nope.)  We always get a smile when we show them our two very different and cool UIs and explain that in just two weeks in our spare time, we added e-mail notifications, Twitter support, and historical consumption tracking.

What’s next? We’re taking the project open source! We think that other people should see what we’ve done, experiment with it, and hopefully contribute improvements, features, and new UIs.  What would you add to it?

Control Group Adds Two New Partners to Executive Team

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We are excited to announce that Amanda O’Donnell and Max Oglesbee have been promoted to Partners at Control Group.

Amanda O’Donnell has been with Control Group since it was founded in 2001 and has played a key role in helping us grow from a 3-person startup to the 120+ person company we are today. As Chief Financial Officer, Amanda is responsible for financial planning and oversight and continues to be instrumental in the growth and success of the firm. She is a passionate advocate who has helped expand our thinking around talent- leading Control Group’s internal Women in Tech group and establishing our Women in Tech NYC partnership with NY Tech Meetup. As Control Group takes larger strides in enhancing the physical and digital world around us, such as LinkNYC, Amanda’s financial sophistication, creativity and leadership will fuel our ambitions.

Max Oglesbee joined Control Group in 2007 to establish our Account Management group. Since that time he has nurtured and shaped our Client Strategy practice, enabling the extraordinary work that we do. As the head of our Client Strategy team, Max has the unique ability to translate client needs into the best strategy and teams to achieve transformative results. Establishing and leading relationships with clients such as Verizon, Walmart and Gagosian Gallery, Max has helped these brands push the boundaries of what’s possible. As a Partner, Max will build on this success and continue to grow our strength in domains such as retail and real estate, while expanding the reach and expertise of our Client Strategy team.

What’s exciting about this news is that it celebrates what truly makes Control Group great– our amazing colleagues. I am continuously in awe of the passion and dedication that people here bring to the shared accomplishment of helping our clients create things that change the world around us. Today we’re recognizing two leaders who have made, and will make, Control Group a more incredible place to make great work. We wish both Amanda and Max all the best in their new roles!

RFID: From Stockroom to Showroom

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At last week’s NRF Big Show 2015 there was a great deal of excitement around in-store customer interactions. Leading that charge was RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), which is enjoying a resurgence as the technology of note for enabling physical in-store interactions. After the past year’s wave of interest surrounding Bluetooth, Wi-Fi geo-fencing, Kinect-based tracking, video tracking and others, the spotlight is now returning to RFID as a reliable and low-cost trigger for customer experiences.

RFID is one of the most mature technologies of those mentioned above and has enjoyed early adoption in other segments of the retail world. Back in the 2000’s, RFID was put into service to add efficiency to the supply chain but little advantage could be recognized as products made their way through the global Just in Time supply chain. With some big retail players betting big on RFID, it brought the technology to the forefront even though its utility was to be found in the background. These big bets created a marketplace that hinted at super low pricing for RFID tags, but still represented a heavy investment for retailers.

Over the years the utility of RFID moved from the supply chain to the inventory shelves, where nimble omni-channel retailers are now leveraging RFID’s capabilities to have real-time, stock-level knowledge that allows them to fulfill products from any channel to any customer, anywhere. This real-time inventory visibility has turned into a competitive advantage for brands and retailers who want to close the sale no matter where it originates. Wholesalers are requesting that brands integrate RFID tagging into their production process to aid in this inventory cycle. With RFID already built into products, how could this technology be leveraged beyond the stock shelves?

You won’t gain a competitive advantage just from using RFID for inventory accuracy, out-of-stocks, locating product and loss detection. It’s what you do above and beyond that, the secondary use cases, that will really benefit retailers.” says Bill Hardgrave, RFID expert and Dean of the Harbert College of Business at Auburn University.

Welcome to the age of RFID-enabled customer interactions! Brands are more likely to invest in selling-floor interactions and since they are already ingestingUGG_Australia_shoe_detail the cost of adding RFID to products per wholesaler directives, they might as well leverage it for improved customer experiences. The advantage to RFID-triggered interactions is that, for the most part, there is no need for an app, mobile device or other pre-assumed customer technology in order to create a useful experience. RFID readers can be subtly installed into retail environments with little to no visual impact and can then serve to trigger various environmental responses.

These sensing systems can be customized to take advantage of consumer’s natural retail behaviors. For example, with our UGG Australia Magic Carpet system, we noticed that the first thing customers do when they try on shoes is walk back and forth in the store to see how they feel. Taking advantage of this behavior, we placed RFID sensors on the floor to pick up the UPC of the footwear that the customer is wearing. Nearby digital signage reacts to that read with relevant and contextual information. Hidden RFID means the customer doesn’t even have to tap or swipe. This non-conscious interface is smoothing the path to purchase in front of the shopper without any perceived ‘interfacing’ or effort on the shopper’s part.

The future is bright for RFID as it continues to find its way from the backroom to the showroom and back again. In addition to using RFID for real-timeUGG_Australia_main_screen (1) inventory awareness, it can supply the contextual and product interaction awareness that serves as fuel for better customer experiences and shopper insight data, like: Which items did they pick up in-store? Which display models did they hold for an extended period of time? Which products did they try on? Or having the digital displays default to a shoppers favorite color.  An example of this contextual experience exists with the UGG Australia Magic Carpet, which not only surfaces information about the shoe a customer is wearing, but also leverages their e-commerce backend to serve up “endless aisle” product variations and related products.

Beyond simply using it as a trigger, RFID movement tracking over time is an exhaust data component that can produce incredibly valuable shopper marketing insights. RFID vendor Impinj demonstrated the xArray Gateway – grid scanning antenna that can track the movements of multiple products as they move around the retail ecosystem. These antennas can track product movement on the selling floor as shoppers pick up the item, move the item to try it on and checkout through the entire purchase process. These movement metrics can serve as valuable insights into product sale “moments of truth” and could be combined with (opt-in) BLE-based customer identity information to create a more complete picture of the shopper’s behavior in-store.

We like to think that innovation doesn’t need to come from invention. Using technology and tools that already exist in new ways can be game-changers in their own right. And it looks like RFID has entered its renaissance.

Data Freedom: Part 3 of 3

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Admittedly, it has been a while since we last discussed Data Freedom. In the meantime, Scotland chose to stay in the United Kingdom, to the dismay of Braveheart fans everywhere.  But luckily for the UK, Data Freedom Part 3 is all about strengthening ties between seemingly disparate systems in the hopes of creating new functionality – federalism at its best (and most metaphorical).

Our blog readers know we love Zendesk as our Help Desk ticketing system. Zendesk tracks lots of things – but there’s one thing it can’t do out-of-the-box: directly connect to Control Group’s time-tracking system called OpenAir. To keep track of both the ticket’s technical information and the time required to address it, our engineers would need to copy over ticket information from one system to the other each week; ZenDesk and OpenAir don’t talk to each other.

Here’s what our help desk engineers were doing:

DataFreedom3Pic1

Nobody likes repeat work, but “what ya gonna do?” right?

We needed a way to have those engineers keep doing what they’re awesome at, and have the data re-entry happen somewhere in the great tubes of the internet. Let’s get these systems talking, get that Engineer Happiness Emoticon to perk up.  Sounds easy?

Step 1:  ZenDesk Apps

Luckily, ZenDesk does offer the ability to create your own “apps” within their site.  You write the HTML/JS, frame it the right way, and they can show it as a portion of their site. This was obviously the way to go for us, we could set up a form to show project names, text boxes for time entry, pre-tag the form with ZD ticket information. It looks like this (on the right):

DataFreedom3Pic3

 

But… where to post this info?

Step 2:  OpenAir API

On the other side, those time entries have to appear automatically somewhere. And when you’re talking about auto-entry, you need an API (or well-trained robots. And if you have the latter, give us a call).  OpenAir does have an API and once we learned its quirks, we were soon able to learn how to format things to send in time entry information. So, it was easy enough to set it off to listening.

Alas, that won’t match the ZenDesk “app” post directly — for instance, ZenDesk uses emails for logins, but OpenAir has its own “employee ID.” Plus, OpenAir needs everything to be formatted in its own ID structure for it to understand what to do.

How to link these up?

Step 3:  CG Platforms

In Data Freedom 2, we delved into Talend as an ESB, and since that platform is up and running, it was only natural to extend it. In this case, Talend is our broker system for each of the vendors.

To get the communication going, we set up a few APIs of our own: (a) pulling in from OpenAir, getting all the basics (projects, users, etc.), (b) a set of endpoints to send that info out to the ZenDesk app (so the user only sees relevant info), (c) one to “listen” to the HTML posts back from the ZenDesk app – the time data to record (i.e., “the good stuff”) and finally (d) one to reformat and translate that data to OpenAir’s format, and sending it to their API.

A critical piece of the Talend layer is that translation – handling the IDs and structure for each system. Right away in step “(a)”, above, CG Platforms’ database maps each project, user – everything – to a unique ID of our own data store and, critically, keeps a mapping back to the “source system” IDs used by OpenAir. This way, the Talend APIs can speak whichever language it needs – ZenDesk only communicates with CG Platforms in its own way, and OpenAir also “speaks” in its own IDs with CG Platforms. CG handles the rest, and everyone’s happy – especially the users.

So now we have this:

DataFreedom3Pic2

Because not repeating yourself is much more fun, the engineers go to full Emoji!

Not only is it easier for the help desk to not repeat themselves over and over, its less error-prone and faster. As a plus, building on the work we had invested from “Data Freedom 2” – setting up this piece was comparatively straightforward.

Next up for us is to expand this outside of the ZenDesk world  and allow non-ZenDesk users to populate their own time info more easily.  Just think about the Emoji we may get out of that.

(A practical aside: Of course, real life did intervene, as well. We did address issues such as security, uptime, complexity from multiple ZenDesk tabs to support, and the like. But we wouldn’t want an even longer blog post, would we?)

LinkNYC was unanimously approved!

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“We look forward to working with the Mayor’s office, DoITT, the Borough Presidents, the Comptroller and the community to make LinkNYC a reality. Our goal has always been to been to bring the largest and fastest free public Wi-Fi network to New York City, and with approval from the Franchise and Concession Review Committee, we are one step closer to bringing this revolutionary free service to New Yorkers. LinkNYC will be the largest and most technologically advanced digital advertising network in the world, generating millions in revenue for the City.” – CityBridge

Support Pours In For #LinkNYC

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PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF MAYOR DEBLASIO

SUPPORT POURS IN FOR LINKNYC

Proposal for largest, fastest free Wi-Fi municipal network in world to be voted upon December 10

For more information on the proposal, visit www.link.nyc

NEW YORK—LinkNYC, a proposal to leverage old payphone infrastructure to build the world’s largest, fastest free municipal Wi-Fi network was announced by Mayor de Blasio last month. LinkNYC would dramatically increase broadband speeds in neighborhoods across all five boroughs, provide free domestic calling at all times, and generate millions of dollars annually to reinvest into additional programs aimed at bridging the digital divide for New Yorkers who need it most.

Positive feedback on the LinkNYC proposal has poured in from leaders of all parts of City life, including civic technology, community organizations, academia, human services, volunteer organizations, small business, faith-based organizations, and more.

For more information on the proposal, visit www.link.nyc.

“The road to an ubiquitous Internet and inclusive digital equity begins with LinkNYC as the launchpad. We at Silicon Harlem wholeheartedly endorse this initiative as an important driver for a broadband innovation economy that creates prosperity across the five boroughs of New York City. Creating socio-economic parity for all residents and businesses starts with LinkNYC,” said Bruce Lincolnand Clayton Banks, Co-Founders of Silicon Harlem.

“Conversion of payphones to free phones and Wi-Fi reinforces the city’s competitive status as a center of innovation and benefits businesses and residents across the five boroughs. It should go forward as planned,” said Kathryn Wylde, CEO, President and Director, Partnership for New York City, Inc.

“That this program will bring jobs in a variety of sectors alone is what makes this new initiative great. I also hope to see some of the money that comes in flow back into the community,” Hassan Bakiriddin, Member, Brooklyn Community Board 17.

“The New York City Building and Construction Trades Council supports Mayor de Blasio’s LinkNYC proposal and encourages a unanimous FCRC affirmative vote. The plan, which will build the world’s fastest WiFi network across the city, creates hundreds of quality jobs for Building trades members. This plan is a true win-win for all New Yorkers,” said Gary LaBarbera, NYC Building and Construction Trades Council.

“New York City needs to compete on a world stage and the largest, fastest, free Wi-Fi network in the world, built at no taxpayer cost, is a big part of getting us there. The digital divide can’t be solved overnight, but one that significantly enhances speed across all five boroughs and allows us to devote revenues from it to additional solutions, is exactly what’s needed. Our organization and members urge the FCRC to approve this proposal to make New York City the digital capital it deserves to be,” said Jonathan Westin, NYC Communities for Change; Javier Valdes, Make The Road; and Susannah Dyen, ALIGN.

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio and the City of New York for seeking creative and innovative ways to connect people across the city and narrow the digital divide. Through this project, more New Yorkers will benefit from the free and open Internet the Mayor has championed. And many communities across the country will be watching New York’s progress and learning from its example,” said Craig Aaron, President and CEO, Free Press.

“The LinkNYC plan would do more than extend Wi-Fi service in the city, it would turn antiquated payphone kiosks across the city into hubs for way-finding, free calling, and other important services for visitors, workers and residents. These benefits, combined with the fees paid to the City’s general fund, would provide tremendous public benefit, and we think it’s an essential step forward for connecting all New Yorkers and keeping our city competitive,” said Bill Rudin, Chairman, Association for a Better New York.

“If New York City wants to secure its place as a global innovation hub, it is critical to upgrade infrastructure and transform itself into a truly wired city. LinkNYC is an important first step of what hopefully will be many projects to improve access to the internet everywhere throughout the city,” said Heidi Messer, Internet investor and co-founder of Collective[i], one of the fastest growing New York City-based enterprise software companies.

“The LinkNYC network is an exciting step in the right direction for New York City. There is no one single solution to better broadband for everyone. We will need many efforts like LinkNYC, the recently announced NYC Public Library initiative, community efforts like what is going on in Red Hook, and many more. Each of these is a big positive for New York City. A free ad supported network like the LinkNYC effort will naturally favor dense areas because of the advertising model. But we should not lose sight of the fact that LinkNYC will also bring faster broadband Wi-Fi to residential neighborhoods than wired broadband that is commercially available from Verizon or Time Warner Cable today. We should not let perfect be the enemy of the good here,” said Fred Wilson, Managing Partner, Union Square Ventures.

“Access to fast and reliable Wi-Fi has become a necessity. These upgrades will remove significant barriers to success for struggling individuals and families across the city and better enable nonprofit human service providers to connect those they serve with opportunities. The human services community commends the Mayor for recognizing the importance of Wi-Fi access to progress for all New Yorkers,” said Allison Sesso, Executive Director, Human Services Council.

“The speed that matters isn’t the speed of the hotspots—the 100 Mbps baseline speed at all Links is some 25 times faster than the Federal Communications Commission’s current definition of broadband Internet. What matters is the speed with which the City and CityBridge can deliver this essential new infrastructure. The clock is ticking. It’s time to focus on implementing this bold plan—and plan for future expansion. LinkNYC is about re-inventing the city’s public spaces, and these new hotspots will light up thousands of street corners, bus stops, parks and playgrounds with state-of-the-art connectivity,” said Dr. Anthony Townsend, Senior Research Scientist, NYU Rudin Center for Transportation and author, “Smart Cities.

“For the thousands of low-income East Harlem residents who routinely make the unimaginable choice between paying for food or heat, the Mayor’s plan to provide widely accessible, free Wi-Fi will open the door to a life-changing freedom for them to improve their own lives. Families living in poverty will finally have open access to employment, educational and networking opportunities, health care, mental health resources, and even the ability to track the progress of their school-age children. Until now, these basic, yet critical, necessities have essentially been out of reach for the poorest in our city simply because of the cost,” said Traci Lester, Executive Director of LSA Family Health Service.

“Over 80 percent of the over 2,000 LGBTQ youth served by HMI annually are living at or below the Federal poverty line. And yet, over 80 percent of our homeless youth self-report the foregoing of food and shelter if it means not being able to afford their cell phone payment—as this is their only reliable way of connecting to a social network and resources available via the Internet. Homeless youth will actively seek out free Wi-Fi as a means of connecting to life-saving services such as shelter, food, health services and more. Free Internet and Wi-Fi allows lifesaving services reach those most vulnerable who need them the most,” said Thomas Krever, Chief Executive Officer, Hetrick-Martin Institute.

“With this bold initiative, the de Blasio administration is showing the nation in no uncertain terms that access to the Internet has become as essential to our city’s health and success as access to electricity and water were at the beginning of the Industrial Age—and that fighting information inequality is a prerequisite that insures a more equitable society. Making the world’s information resources available to as many New Yorkers as possible is now a critical and fundamental requirement for success in education, business, safety, transportation, health, and every need for our city’s future,” said Andrew Rasiej, Chairman, NY Tech Meetup.

“Replacing New York City’s ancient payphones with up to Gigabit-speed Wi-Fi kiosks is a fantastic initiative. It’s an innovative and cost-effective way to deliver free, on-the-go connectivity across most of the busier corners of the city, benefitting New Yorkers and visitors alike. It would be a huge disappointment to see political squabbling slow down what can be a first-in-the-world and best-in-the-world free public connectivity infrastructure worthy of New York City. The initial build-out is not the end of the story—and we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” said Andrew McLaughlin, CEO of Digg and Instapaper; former Deputy Chief Technology Officer to President Obama.

“In this digital age, Wi-Fi access is critical for job searches, housing searches and access to information about services offered by the City of New York, as well as by a myriad of social agencies that are available to help New Yorkers. The expansion of Wi-Fi is a welcome addition to the communities we serve. Individuals on Supplemental Security Income, who manage on $808 a month, can’t afford the high cost of paid data plans. The potential that Wi-Fi could be used for 911 calls would address the needs of people who are deaf. This is a great initiative that can benefit New Yorkers with disabilities. Bravo!” saidPaul Feuerstein, President/CEO, Barrier Free Living.

“The implementation of LinkNYC will have a transformative effect throughout the City and it will serve as a natural complement to the free Wi-Fi system that the Union Square Partnership provides within Union Square Park, helping to boost service to the surrounding area. We applaud the City for making this project a priority, and we look forward to seeing the new kiosks and their robust amenities within the area,” said Jen Falk, Executive Director, Union Square Partnership.

“The City of New York’s new LinkNYC initiative represents an essential step in the continued growth of the city’s innovation economy and provides the foundation for continued expansion of access to high-speed Internet for all New Yorkers. By upgrading currently outdated and underutilized payphones, New Yorker’s will gain new opportunities to stay connected and access information key to their everyday lives. We know that access is essential to engagement and involvement in all aspects of the technology economy, and LinkNYC offers the city’s residents more opportunities for access than ever before,” said Jessica Lawrence, Executive Director, NY Tech Meetup.

“Repurposing phone booths to allow for Wi-Fi, free nationwide phone calls, phone charging stations, and wayfinding would be a huge benefit for the borough of Queens. The commercial streets of our neighborhoods are hubs of commerce. Having this technology accessible in our neighborhoods will greatly benefit local residents, businesspeople and visitors,” said Seth Bornstein, Executive Director, Queens Economic Development Corporation.

“This sounds like a really great program. Definitely innovative and a way to keep New Yorkers connected to the city, each other, and their community. Free Wi-Fi is a thing of the now!” said Carmen Sognonvi, Small Business Owner, Urban Dojo.

“For far too long, antiquated and inoperable payphones have cluttered the streetscape and been an impediment to growth and vitality of commercial corridors throughout the five boroughs. LinkNYC will provide for sleek, durable and usable replacements for traditional payphones that provide tangible benefits for residents and merchants alike, including USB charging and no cost Wi-Fi access,” said Tim Laughlin, Executive Director, Lower East Side Business Improvement District.

“LinkNYC represents a bold, positive step toward a more inclusive digital future for New York City. Between free public wireless Internet and free phone calls, LinkNYC kiosks will provide an indispensable resource for everyone that lives and visits the city—most importantly, those underserved and low-income New Yorkers that don’t have access to or can’t afford the cost of high-speed Internet access. The gigabit speed kiosks and the fiber that powers them will provide a key building block in helping make New York a first-class digital city, and will have the same impact on our whole community as indoor plumbing, clean running water, electricity, and the subway systems did over a century ago,” said Dana Spiegel, Executive Director, NYCwireless.

“I am very excited to see the communities we serve. We work as a program that provides services to children in low-income communities. Wi-Fi hotspots around New York City will be great for children and parents to keep their phones charged throughout the day, so that they can get in touch with each other. It is also great for kids to be able to make free phone calls to parents if they are stuck in a jam,” said Maurelhena Walles, Executive Director, Fit4LifeNYC.

“The direction the city is going is the right one. Many of the small businesses in our community just cannot afford to provide Wi-Fi to its customers. But with this program and the Wi-Fi reaching far and wide, it will allow more patrons to flow into the area, while boosting business and sales to the surrounding businesses,” said Lindsay Ray, Small Business Owner, Expression in Ceramics.

“The advertisements, the public service announcements, the free 911 and 311 calls from the station—how can you go wrong? Allowing New Yorkers to stay in connection with all things around them is a huge plus. Not only is this great for New Yorkers, but for tourists alike. I think this security will help us feel safer in our areas because we can be connected 24/7,” said Sheila Akbar, Small Business Owner, Bedstuy Fresh and Local.

“In the age of Information Technology, having access to Wi-Fi and the Internet has become a necessity in the lives of not only those that can afford to pay for services through the various telecommunication providers, but for those that are less fortunate. Regardless of a person’s ability to pay for Wi-Fi, access to the information through the Internet should available to all that would like to receive it,” said LeShan A. Gaulman, MSW, Program Director of Barrier Free Living’s Transitional Housing Program.

“Replacing the old outdated payphones located all over the city with fast, new, sleek Wi-Fi kiosks is a crucial advancement for the city. This project will require a lot of work from several industries. This is an exciting opportunity which will create hundreds of jobs for New Yorkers and any project that supports Union Labor, we are in support of,” said Sal Tagliaferro, President, Local 926, Carpenters and Joiners of America.

“LinkNYC is a transformative initiative that will provide high-speed internet access to Queens communities and residents. Repositioning these outdated telephone assets to provide free services to our City is a no brainer and a clear win for everyone. These new access points are a critical step in serving the 1.8 million New Yorkers who currently don’t have internet access and encouraging the development of new innovation businesses that our economy needs,” said Jukay Hsu, Founder, Coalition for Queens (C4Q).

“New York Disaster Interfaith Services, and our federation of over 60 New York City faith communities, want to voice our vigorous support for upgrading our City’s communications infrastructure from outdated payphones to wireless kiosks. This is a critical step toward building a more disaster-resilient whole community through state-of-the-art access to risk communication for all New Yorkers. This upgrade will be significant to the evolution of our City’s already exceptional disaster preparedness and response communication capacity. This technology will allow any New Yorkers in any neighborhood to access NotifyNYC alerts, receive evacuation orders, or learn their coastal storm evacuation routes or flood zones. Simply put, it will save lives,” said Peter B. Gudaitis, M.Div., Chief Response Officer, New York Disaster Interfaith Services.

“Long Island City is one of the fastest growing areas of the city, heavily used by businesses, residents, and visitors both local and global—all of whom require high-speed Internet that is broadly available. LinkNYC can be an important enhancement to the digital infrastructure for this unique and vital community,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, Executive Director of the Long Island City Partnership.

“As small businesses struggle to keep up with technology to better serve their customers, a program like LinkNYC is one more tool to support them in this endeavor,” said Lisa Sorin, Executive Director, Westchester Square Business Improvement District (Bronx).

“Providing people more reasons to spend more time in our commercial shopping districts translates into increased foot traffic and more potential customers for the small businesses of the City. With the launch of free public wifi in the FAB Alliance Business Improvement District (BID) along Brooklyn’s Fulton Street in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, we saw significant demand for high speed high-speed internet service in our public spaces,” said Phillip Kellogg, Executive Director, Fulton Area Business (FAB) Alliance, Business Improvement District, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

“Access to information through advanced technology for both individuals and communities in crisis is paramount to keep our neighborhoods safe. The Salvation Army salutes such efforts, and thanks City Hall for implementing such a vital preparedness tool,” said John Berglund, Emergency Services Director, The Salvation Army, Greater New York Division.

“Having recruited, trained, and managed thousands of volunteers in response to disasters throughout the city, we know that when preparing for and responding to disasters, the ability to stay connected and access critical information is vital. We commend the City’s efforts to build a modern digital infrastructure in every corner of New York City, said Gary Bagley, Executive Director, New York Cares.

“We are excited about exploring new ways of connecting the brands we work with to New Yorkers on the street, not just through advertising, but through new experiences that connectivity enables. As New Yorkers who live and work in the City, this is an important first step, and we can’t wait to have them on our streets,” said Andrew Essex, Vice Chairman of Droga5.

“The Internet has democratized access to entrepreneurship for millions of people. Initiatives like LinkNYC, which help many more people get online, are an important first step toward building a more connected city,” said Althea Erickson, Public Policy Director, Etsy.

“I listen to stories all the time about how challenging it can be to live or work without access to proper connectivity; without it, we lose out on meaningful information, opportunities, and connections that can only be found and made online. LinkNYC provides access to a critical and fundamental resource for all New Yorkers—the ability to connect—and this improved access ensures that everyone will have a chance to participate in our increasingly digital economy,” said Arie Barendrecht, Executive Director, WiredNYC.

“LinkNYC has the right combination of scale, technologies, and vision to become a platform that transforms digital out-of-home advertising. It’s exactly the type of innovation you’d expect in the biggest media market in the world. It will create massive utility value for consumers in New York City while also creating new jobs in the advertising community,” Scott Hagedorn, CEO of Annalect.

“The replacing of old, outdated payphones located all over the city with fast, new, Wi-Fi kiosks is a brilliant undertaking and a job requiring some very hard work in street reconstruction. It will be a huge advancement, an exciting opportunity, and a great benefit for all people in New York City. We look forward to everyone working toward clear goals for a community workforce agreement to employ our returning veterans and provide good career opportunities for local residents in New York City during the construction phase of this project,” said Lowell Barton, Vice President, Laborers Local 1010.

“The West 116th Street Community Association is excited and looking forward to the new NYCLink Wi-Fi hotspots being installed in our community. After meeting with representatives of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, seeing the prototype, and hearing about the features being offered, we think it will be a successful program for the whole of New York City. This new and exciting program will benefit those living in our community,” said Giovannia Esquivel, Secretary, West 116thStreet Community Association.

“The LinkNYC project, transforming payphones into municipal Wi-Fi hotspots, will be a tremendous step forward for internet accessibility in New York City. It will catapult New York to the forefront of city-scale Wi-Fi networks, and turn an underutilized relic of the twentieth century into a broadly available digital age resource for residents and visitors alike. The scale of the proposed project, with many thousands of nodes, is unprecedented—when fully operational, it will transform New York in ways that are difficult to imagine today. For instance, the Tug app recently envisioned by Cornell Tech students to warn smartphone users when they may be walking into an intersection could easily be built on top of this new network infrastructure,” said Dan Huttenlocher, Dean and Vice Provost, Cornell Tech.

“We are thrilled to be part of this plan, which is cutting-edge not only in its application of new, smart technologies, but because it prioritizes community engagement and support along with tools for universal broadband access,” said Greta Byrum, Senior Field Analyst, Open Technology Institute.

“Good paying job creation in New York City is being driven by the intersection of technology, design and production. LinkNYC will fuel the growth of the innovation economy, bringing affordable high-speed connectivity to every corner of the city. We can’t miss out on this unique opportunity,” said Andrew Kimball, CEO, Industry City.

“Citywide connectivity is the bedrock of a smart city. And becoming a smart city is the key to staying globally competitive. By creating the world’s largest free municipal Wi-Fi network, New York has created the platform for its future prosperity,” said Jesse Berst, Chairman of the Smart Cities Council.

“The proposal is fantastic—New York City as a smart city, a sustainable city, and electric city. The world will once again be watching New York City with awe as it applies technology and new business models to bring the entire city intimate, instant connection to the entire planet,” said Donald R. Sadoway, John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“These connections will make it easier and more affordable for low-income New Yorkers to access health, educational, employment and other opportunities and services and to connect with family, friends, community members and government than ever before. And this initiative will set an example of how public-private partnerships can enable access to broadband speed and affordability for all residents,” said Jalak Jobanputra, Managing Partner, Future Perfect Ventures.

“We live in the Internet Age, where digital connectivity is key to accessing education, jobs, and the people we care about. LinkNYC will empower millions of New Yorkers with better access to the modern-day tools—including superfast Wi-Fi—that they need to improve their own lives. We can’t wait any longer. It is high time for New York City to lead the way toward more innovative and impactful 21st Century solutions,” said John Paul Farmer, Founder and CEO of the Innovation Project, a 501(c)3, and former Senior Advisor for Innovation to President Obama.