Yesterday, Verizon Wireless announced the acquisition of private company LQD WiFi LLC. in the pursuit of expanding its IoT (Internet of Things) business into cities and public urban areas. Although the terms of transaction have not been disclosed, Senior VP of Enterprise Products and IoT at Verizon, Mike Lanman, said that “This transaction uniquely positions us to utilize our unmatched infrastructure, platforms and networks at scale and deploy elegant and engaging community technology hubs that connect, inform, inspire and support people where they live, work and play.”
These aforementioned “technology hubs” called Palo (and previously referred to as Beacon) have been initially unveiled by LQD WiFi LLC in 2013 at the New York City Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge. A year later the company partnered with frog, and in 2015 both frog and LQD have managed to develop and build a business strategy and the brand’s vision, along with the proper hardware. But in more recent news, Verizon Wireless has now acquired LQD (a frog Ventures portfolio company) and the official frog design website reads that, following the acquisition “Palo will be installed in forward-thinking cities, academic campuses, and entertainment venues across North America.” However, according to the PRNewswire press release, the city where Palo hubs might make an appearance first seems to be New Rochelle in Westchester County, New York. Citing New Rochelle Mayor, Noam Bramson, “We want New Rochelle to be an ideal place to live and work. We recognize that a healthy future depends increasingly on robust digital infrastructure, based on cutting-edge technology that can connect residents and businesses alike in a friendly, accessible way.” The Mayor also added that the city’s partnership with LQD “will accomplish all of these goals.”
LQD’s Palo technology hubs offer free Wi-Fi, public safety announcements and features, information on nearby points of interests and tourist attractions, volunteering opportunities, maps, emergency alerts, taxi beacons and more. The Palo hub has been designed with touch-free input in mind and can be voice activated, but also carries a human-scale touchscreen. According to the press release, LQD’s IoT assets will be integrated with Verizon’s smart community infrastructure acquired by the carrier from Sensity Systems last month.