A Spanish company is hoping to put the word on the street inside the pavement under your feet, starting this summer. Via Inteligente plans to introduce intelligent "iPavement" at this year's International Building & Construction Show in Dubai.
The paving stones sport Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, their own operating system, apps, and sensors -- all with the goal of connecting with locals and passersby to push information ranging from local weather conditions and emergency alerts to maps and coupons for nearby businesses.
Via Inteligente's mission is to turn city streets into information platforms, and it has even gone so far as to develop its own Viacities OS (perhaps one day Viacities and iOS will go head-to-head, literally) to run its initial suite of apps, which it described for the first time in a release:
Via-Book: The library in the street. The first library in the pavement. The publication of local works, for the promotion of culture and the distribution of digital works.
Via-Maps: A means to discover information of interest, with simply a click; both tourists and the city's inhabitants can use the catalog on the map to discover the city's key cultural sites of interest, patrimony, gastronomy...
Via-Sound: Music, concerts, local events, music books... all reproducible on mobile phones.
Via-Coupons: Commercial coupons in the zone. Products promotion by sending the "promotion coupon" directly to the mobile phone.
Analytical iPavement: Statistics concerning use, access, pedestrians, and the occupation of public spaces.
MS-Alert: Intelligent warnings via Bluetooth -- Pavement in bad conditions, ice hazards, warnings about incidents... all the warnings necessary for the street to alert your mobile phone, e-mail, or the public services.
MS-Blue: Programmed messages via Bluetooth -- permits messages containing information for tourists, events and commercial publicity to be sent to the city's inhabitants.
The system's hardware is installed inside a calcium carbonate stone that comes in a classic flat shape, or with grooves on the surface to make its presence known. Madrid is currently testing the system, and if Via Inteligente has its way, cities throughout Spain will soon have the smartest pavement in the world.
Now all they need are RFID chips in those bulls to tell the runners in Pamplona which way to dart to avoid getting gored.