This blog is part of our COVID-19 Champions Series
Community is at the heart of what makes a city. During the current global health crisis, many people are missing out on that sense of community and connection. Soofa is a real-world communication platform that connects neighborhoods through community bulletin boards. Even during these difficult times, Soofa is finding ways to connect people to trusted information they need in order to be informed and at ease while practicing social distancing.
Soofa, a Keen customer of 4 years, is committed to creating people-focused technology, building dynamic and connected hardware networks that are 100% solar powered. They create interactive neighborhood newsfeeds to cities for no charge and give actual revenue share back to them. They also support advertising from local businesses and regional partners. Of course, as most businesses in the rapidly changing marketing and advertising landscape, they have had to pivot their strategy to continue to provide value to their customers and communities.
During this time, cities need a way to reach the public with PSA’s and updates in real-time. Soofa designed specific COVID-19 templates and changed the layout of their screens to show a permanent space for the city PSA’s. Lyra Schweizer, Soofa’s Director of City Growth, says she’s been working with city partners to get new and relevant content up every week, including updated general health guidelines and transportation disruptions. In addition to the screen layout changes, Soofa is also including a live feed of the cities Twitter accounts for up to date information.
Being committed to increasing awareness is only one of the ways Soofa is making a difference.
“We are really working closely with local businesses as they are the lifeblood of our super community.” said Schweizer.
Soofa has developed a system for local businesses to use text as a way to connect to their signs. This gives businesses the ability to send text messages to Soofa every day letting them know whether they are open or not. These daily updates appear on the Soofa Signs under a section called ‘What’s Open’. The best part is it’s a free service.
Charlotte Warne, Product Manager at Soofa, said, “We have seen really great results from the program. Our partners have been really excited about it because it’s a really quick and free way for them to advertise and it’s another resource for them.”
Being able to continue to support local businesses and get real-time updates while social distancing outside has been tremendously beneficial to communities. The pedestrian sensors inside Soofa signs are providing valuable data insights for city partners to show how people’s movement has changed during this public health crisis.
So as our communities are beginning to adjust to working from home and changes to our routines, Soofa is seeing an outpouring of community love in the form of Soofa content. Anyone can post to a Soofa sign in their neighborhood for free, using the online platform www.soofatalk.com. Community members can simply create an account and start posting right away.
“We’ve seen messages varying from home workout classes to suggestions about how to stay safe when you have to go outside. There have also been thank you messages to our doctors and nurses, it’s a really great mix of motivational messages being pushed out to communities all over the country,” said Warne.
Soofa says right now they are also working with nonprofit organizations to get out ways that you can donate and help support healthcare workers or families that might be in need right now.
Schweizer says she is working on continuing to keep communities connected by reaching out to new cities who might be looking for this real-world communication platform and using this as an opportunity to demonstrate their value to new cities in order to form new partnerships moving forward.
Keen and Chargify are highlighting COVID-19 Champions. In this time of uncertainty and hardship we want to give a shout-out to all of the companies that are being of service to the community during this time. Want more COVID-19 Champion stories? Check out Chargify’s blog post here.