Finding your way to a new city, or even discovering interesting things to do in areas you know well, is difficult. Meanwhile, local economies have struggled to thrive – with small businesses increasingly reliant on online giants such as Facebook and Google, where users face information overload.
A new blockchain-based startup believes that the gold for the apps is over and says the audience wants a more personalized experience when they are looking for things to do. Rather than relying on potentially biased platforms, which often fail to capture the breadth of nearby locations, Localflow says the future lies in conversational bots that can provide quick recommendations and a plethora of other services.
For the typical user, Localflow means that they can find the products and services they want through the messaging apps they already know and love, be it Facebook, Telegram or WeChat. They can also make payments in fiat or using a collection of cryptocurrencies.
In addition, people can use Localflow bots to create their products, assign a price – in fiat and cryptography – and have them broadcast through the local chatbot search network.
Cases of use in abundance
According to the startup, the use cases could extend far beyond the search for a place for dinner. On its website, Localflow describes how a user can find the perfect place for live music and a cocktail of the highest quality, according to their needs and events published by other members of the community. If the user is interested, a bot could provide them with real-time feedback on what is happening inside, a complete list of prices, as well as the possibility to book a table and pay in advance.
Small businesses and commercial enterprises alone would be able to establish their own bot. For example, an experienced guitarist would be able to use the Localflow system to offer private tutoring, or a pizza owner could build a bot that takes orders and tracks deliveries. Even members of the public could get into action, and if they were two players in short for a five to five game, they would be able to use the bot to find the participants available.
Localflow believes robots can also offer companies a behind-the-scenes hand, allowing them to track inventory levels and replenish stores when needed.
The bots have tested
The company has tested the characteristics of its MVP bot in Padua, a university city in northern Italy. Initial results were positive, with testers getting tokens that could be spent on products in local pubs and bars. There are also incentives for businesses, as they could save on marketing costs and avoid the huge fees charged by people like Uber, Airbnb, Deliveroo and Booking.com.
When the Localflow infrastructure is started, users will be rewarded with EWA, an ERC-223 compatible token designed to power the network, whenever they make beneficial contributions to other users, such as "creating high social meetups and activities" quality".
The awards for creating and participating in events are already active and running. The team calls it Localdrop and users can get EWA and see them on their chatbot wallet.
Developers and data analysts are also in the process of obtaining EWA by building capabilities that improve the capabilities of the robot, strengthen the natural language processing module, or improve translation quality.
A cryptographic portfolio is already being tested at the start. Companies can receive payments via fiat or through EWA, IOTA, Bitcoin and Ethereum, with everyone able to access their funds directly through the chatbot. Opting to pay in EWA tokens, Localflow says they have the opportunity to enjoy discounts on their purchases.
The Localflow token generation event for EWA is scheduled for 2019. In the year and a half that follows, the platform hopes to create a cooperative network of local search-driven chatbots and a platform for the creation of bot with "an open collaborative interface", as well as a system that rewards users with EWA tokens.
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