Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband is helping Hoboken, NJ-based small businesses impacted by COVID-19 get back on their feet, stronger than ever. As retail stores reopen with an emphasis on outdoor dining and shopping, curbside pick-up and online orders, Verizon and TechUnited are teaming up with small businesses to find ways that 5G technology can help solve some of their operational pain points brought on by the pandemic.
TechUnited, which empowers entrepreneurs and innovators with programs, funding and networking opportunities, worked with Verizon to select five small businesses within Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband mobility service footprint.
The companies selected for the “5G Impact Challenge” will receive Inseego MiFi M2100 5G hotspots and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphones as well as a small business solutions package customized to their needs which includes One Talk calling service, a BlueJeans by Verizon, video conferencing account, and access to Verizon’s Small Business Hub including tips from a Comeback Coach.
Some of the participants include:
Elysian Café: As the oldest continually operated bar/restaurant in Hoboken, the restaurant offers a French Bistro style menu. With limited indoor dining, maintaining a connection for mobile point of sale (POS) operations for outdoor dining can be a challenge.
SOHO Flower & Garden: A brother, sister owned business specializing in gardening and flower arrangements, the shop is looking for new ways to connect with customers and boost sales.
Joey No Nuts: The coffee shop, which offers nut-free drinks and food, opened in October 2019 by a husband and wife team. The cafe now performs all of its sales at a takeout window and is looking to attract customers to sit and enjoy coffee and baked goods outside.
Corporate Realty: A family-owned and operated real estate business established in 1989, the company has been forced to adapt to virtual solutions and forego traditional operations.
According to Verizon’s Small Business Recovery survey, more than half of small businesses have concerns about staying afloat financially with social distancing regulations that limit business capacity.
“In times like these, the world leans on technology to help us stay connected,” said TJ Fox, President of Business Markets at Verizon. “This is especially true for our local communities and retail shops, which is why Verizon has joined in this effort to show small businesses how 5G connectivity can open the door to new and immersive solutions as a way to interact with customers.”
“Without the help of technology, we wouldn’t still be in business today,” said Dominic Yun, owner of SOHO Flower & Garden. “Prior to COVID, we had a website but didn’t do online sales. Thankfully, we were able to quickly shift to online orders which helped us stay afloat. Now we’re doing in store sales again, but we still need to monitor how many people are in the store at a time. We’re thankful Verizon and TechUnited are listening to our challenges and helping us figure out how we can use 5G to solve them.”
Verizon is working with several tech startups to develop new, customized 5G experiences that can help these businesses overcome their challenges and better engage customers. Some of the experiences being created include digitizing inventory and creating immersive shopping experiences, using BlueJeans to connect with customers for virtual “how to” educational events, and using Bookful to engage children through AR storytelling experiences with interactive and educational features.
“Having detailed photos and immersive videos online are now more important than ever to engage people who are skittish about coming into the office or going to the physical locations,“ said Basil Skaltsis, owner of Corporate Realty. “By giving customers the ability to scan a listing in the window and get 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 that helps you out in your time of need.”
“By offering our customers 5G guest WiFi, we’re hoping they’ll sit and work remotely and be able to entertain themselves and their kids by easily streaming video content and games,” 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 area, and helping us find new ways to engage and attract customers.”
“Imagine holding a bouquet of flowers in your hands using augmented reality before you order it or walking by a real estate store window and virtually stepping into the home right there on your phone,” said Nicki Palmer, chief product officer at Verizon. “5G’s massive bandwidth, super-fast speeds and low latency are providing these businesses with greater connectivity and 5G guest WiFi TODAY. We’re so excited to help them bounce back by using the power of 5G to create new transformational experiences that can increase customer engagement while allowing them to stay safe and practice social distancing.”
“I’m so proud to have TechUnited team up with Verizon to provide technology-based solutions at such a critical time for small businesses,” shared Aaron Price, CEO of TechUnited. “As technology continues to evolve to help those that have been devastated by the pandemic, small businesses should know that they can count on TechUnited and Verizon to bring them solutions to rebuild and grow.”