Small businesses in Hoboken are recovering from the pandemic with a little help from Verizon and its 5G Ultra Wideband network. As part of the 5G Business Impact Challenge, Verizon and TechUnited: New Jersey have partnered with Hoboken Small Businesses to help them solve the challenges posed by the pandemic; challenges such as communicating with customers in new virtual ways or powering outdoor spaces with Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network. TechUnited: NJ, which empowers entrepreneurs and innovators through programs, funding and networking opportunities, helped identify companies that received Inseego MiFi M2100 5G hotspots and 5G smartphones and a personalized suite of Verizon solutions for small businesses. Technology solutions like the One Talk calling service, a cloud-based business telephony system, enable businesses to be effectively contacted and connected with customers, whether in the office or on the go, and video conferencing BlueJeans by Verizon has transformed the way these small businesses operate and is integral to their survival amid the pandemic.
So what were the challenges faced by the respective companies in Hoboken? With many small businesses, the challenge for each was quite unique. Elysian Café, Hoboken’s oldest bar and restaurant, struggled to maintain a solid connection outside, making it difficult for diners to close tabs outside. For SOHO Flower & Garden, which specializes in gardening and flower arrangements, the store was looking for new ways to connect with customers and drive sales despite the decrease in foot traffic. Popular cafe Joey No Nuts does all of its sales in a take-out display and was looking to entice customers to sit down and enjoy coffee and baked goods outside. Finally, Corporate Realty, a family-owned real estate company created in 1989, has been pushed to adapt to virtual solutions and to abandon traditional operations.
“Without the help of technology, we wouldn’t be in business today,” said Dominic Yun, owner of SOHO Flower & Garden. “Before COVID, we had a website, but we didn’t sell online. Luckily, we were able to quickly go to online orders which helped us stay afloat. Now we are doing in-store sales again, but we still have to monitor how many people are in the store at a time. We are grateful to Verizon and TechUnited: NJ for listening to our challenges and helping us understand how we can use 5G to solve them.
“With 5G, we’ve been able to connect with our customers in new ways. 5G has helped our business through a digital transformation by bringing our physical stores online through virtual shopping experiences and showcasing the possibilities of AR, ”said Sampath Sowmyanarayan, Revenue Director, Verizon Business.
Verizon 5G Labs has helped these small businesses by providing them with new personalized 5G experiences to help them overcome their challenges and better engage customers. Verizon has outfitted Corporate Realty with 5G phones and a BlueJeans video conferencing account for live virtual tours of apartment listings, giving the company the ability to connect with customers through Verizon’s reliable 5G network, all navigating the new standard for real estate. For potential buyers going through the ads displayed in the storefront, Verizon added a QR code, which instantly allowed a virtual tour of the ad without having to enter the store. Passers-by also took advantage of 5G Wi-Fi.
For SoHo Flower & Garden, 3D scans of the interior of the store were captured. The scans, accessed by QR codes placed outside the storefront, allowed visitors to browse the store, its inventory and a link to its e-commerce site to purchase merchandise via a smartphone.
At the Elysian Cafe, a MiFi 2100 was used to provide 5G to all customers in the outdoor dining spaces and to provide the restaurant with better connectivity for outdoor point-of-sale transactions. Passers-by were able to scan a QR code in the window to not only see what the interior space looked like, but also to view the menu quickly and without contact. Guests were also able to take advantage of 5G-powered guest Wi-Fi, allowing them to work outdoors while enjoying coffee and food.
“Having in-depth photos and immersive videos online is now more important than ever to engage people who are reluctant to enter the office or go to physical locations,” said Basil Skaltsis, owner of Corporate Realty. “Giving customers the option of scanning an ad in the window and getting a virtual tour, or using BlueJeans on my phone to give customers a live tour is exciting. This program is like making a new friend who will help you when needed.
“By providing our customers with 5G Wi-Fi, we hope they can sit and work remotely and be able to entertain themselves and their children by easily streaming video content and games,” said said Jess Dyer, owner of Joey No Nuts. . “Verizon and TechUnited have been a huge help in speeding up transactions, connecting us with other small businesses in the region, and helping us find new ways to engage and attract customers. “
“This program highlights what is a game-changer when you combine the most reliable 5G network and small businesses,” Sowmyanarayan said. “The fact that each of these companies were able to find their own distinct use cases demonstrates the endless number of possibilities that arise when you put 5G technology directly into the hands of small business owners. “
Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband is available in parts of over 70 US cities. Learn more about Verizon’s 5G technology.