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Vizsafe — doing well by doing good

Bowling Alone vs the Sharing Economy

by Guy Brandon

Society is becoming ever more fragmented — and yet, in other ways, we have never been more connected. We just need a way of tapping into the desire for community that is built into all of us.

The Internet has redefined how we understand ‘community’. Our pool of relationships, those with whom we have contact and connect with every day and throughout our lives, has become immeasurably larger — even if physical proximity is no longer a deciding factor.

Back in 2000, Robert Putnam wrote Bowling Alone, articulating the idea that the social interactions that are woven through our lives — the civil engagement upon which a strong democracy and cohesive society rests — were becoming fewer and weaker. There are many reasons for this, including demographic and technological shifts, and a long series of political scandals. While Putnam might have been right about physical communities, in other ways we have never been more connected. The rise of the web may have distanced us from our immediate neighbors, but it has brought about different kinds of community, as well as bringing a greater degree of transparency to our existing institutional relationships. And it has allowed new kinds of financial and social relationship to flourish, as the rise of the so-called Sharing Economy demonstrates. Instead of being forced to rely on intermediaries, we can now connect directly with one another as we access goods and services. The question that therefore arises is, How do we facilitate community in an increasingly virtual age?

This is the space in which Vizsafe seeks to act: the nexus between the physical and virtual worlds that can prove so powerful in connecting people and enabling new and exciting forms of economy and community. The forces that have enabled the development of Vizsafe mean that ‘community’ is now a far, far broader concept than the narrow physical definition we used to rely on. The set of technologies we use can both enable that virtual community to flourish and bring us closer together in our physical communities.

As Nudge, another well-known work of social science, explains, it doesn’t take much under the right conditions to tip people towards a useful and desirable outcome, whether that is saving more for their retirement or taking better care of their health. In Vizsafe’s case, we offer a tangible incentive — rewards in the form of the SPOT token — for those who take the trouble to upload valid safety reports when they encounter a problem that requires fixing in some way.

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Vizsafe — doing well by doing good

That can make the difference between someone informing the maintenance team about an empty vending machine or broken seat, or the security team about an unattended package, and walking on and leaving the problem to someone else. As a result, venues save money and everyone who uses them benefits. The cost is minimal, but the impact can be enormous.

To learn more, please visit: https://www.vizsafe.com/blockchain

with contributions by Peter Mottur and Claude Sheer

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Vizsafe connects citizens, businesses and governments to enable safer and smarter communities. Post/map/share photos, videos, cameras and other sensors.

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