Get to the point: Boston Hyperlocal WiFi

Sun, 2006-01-08 14:21.

Wireless Pulse Points Offer an Inside Look at Local Communities

The Boston Globe is sponsoring a new initiative in Boston—WiFi Pulse Points. Pulse Points are wireless access sites that offer an inside look at locations around Boston. The sites focus on the local community, offering visitors interesting information about landmarks, people, and businesses that make up the immediate community.

The first two Pulse Points, which launched on September 27, are hosted by Barbara’s Booksellers in South Station and by the Trident Booksellers and Café on Upper Newbury Street, a local bookstore with a long-standing reputation as a wireless hotspot.

The Pulse Points are the brainchild of Globe technology editor DC Denison and WiFi innovator Michael Oh; they are designed to create interactive destinations in specific locations within the city.

"We created these sites as a way to share the stories that create a community," said Denison. "Every individual and location has a story to tell. As you pass through South Station or browse at the Trident, these sites offer an annotation to the location—an opportunity to learn a little more about the people and places that make up our community."

"To my knowledge, these Pulse Points are the first time a media company has used WiFi technology as a means of offering content, not simply as an access point," Denison continued.

The Pulse Points are accessible to anyone with a WiFi-enabled laptop. They allow individuals to connect to a network, but not to the Internet or e-mail. Rather, these Pulse Points connect individuals to their location—and each other. They create a "situational community" of people who are connected simply because they are in the same place at the same time.

Each site features information on the history, the people, local businesses, and landmarks that make up the pulse of an immediate community. The sites are designed to be interactive—visitors can explore the area, play games, and add their own content to the site through discussion forums. Content on the site is updated regularly.

"No one understands the events and news of Boston better than The Globe,” said Richard Gilman, publisher of The Boston Globe. “The new WiFi Pulse Points take that understanding one step further—capturing a moment in time, a spotlight on a location where you are spending a few minutes. The Pulse Points offer a glimpse into a very local community. Our sponsorship of this initiative is one more way we can continue to deliver the pulse of Boston to the people who live here—through a variety of different channels."

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