Navigating Smart Cities

Picture of Ciara Magill

Ciara Magill

Urban centres are evolving and expanding at an exponential rate, becoming increasingly connected with transport networks and social media alike. Just like smartphones necessitated a change in advertising practices, ‘Smart Cities’ are changing the way your brand’s message hits the High Street.

Smart Cities aren’t just about digital technologies. Consider our wee city. The Belfast Bikes? Translink’s Glider? The faces in the street-artworks that line the Cathedral Quarter walls? They’re all improving networking and quality of life for both local people and visitors.

Part of the Smart City development process is repurposing technology. Billboards go digital. Then they become interactive. And eventually, somewhere down the line, Charlie Brooker conjures a Black Mirror episode out of it.

However, there’s a good face in this digital space. A huge factor of repurposing tech is in how it gives back.

IBM’s ‘People for Smarter Cities’ campaign combined outdoor advertising platforms with functional city-scape amenities such as seating, shelters and access ramps.

Belfast City Centre is undergoing a £3 million ‘repurposing’ which follows this sense of giving back. Partners in the project, Euro-Payphone, noted: “Developing multi-functional state-of-the-art smart hubs incorporating good design and services that are free-of-charge is a public benefit and will ensure Belfast maintains its position as one of the UK’s leading smart digital cities.”

These new hubs have the capabilities to integrate with Augmented Reality apps, consequently introducing the opportunity to inform people of vital information when and where they need it. In an emergency with your GPS on? Here’s the nearest hospital. Struggling with vernacular? Google Translate loves being connected.

For us advertising folk, the Smart City revolution also opens up a new realm of immersion for target audiences. The city becomes more connected, allowing your message to be delivered in exactly the right place, at the right time, and most of all, when a given person is in the right mindset to fully appreciate and soak up the campaign.

Need some help finding your way around the digitised landscape? Let’s get connected.

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