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London’s “First Smart Street” Has One Aim: Get People To Shop More

Could public space embedded with technology be the future of retail?

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Just off Oxford Street, one of the busiest shopping streets in the world, the New West End Company has created what it’s calling the city’s first “smart street.” By putting several environmentally friendly, highly visible technologies on display for people to see and experience, the company–a business partnership that represents the interests of 500 retailers, hotels, and restaurants in London’s West End–wants to draw more people to the area, where they’ll hopefully spend a lot of money.

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New West End plans to track visitors, using some of the smart technology installed on the street. If the $650,000 investment turns out to increase retail footfall, the company will start cleaning up and decking out more of Oxford Street’s side alleys. The hope: To create a shopping district, with a network of “smart” streets that bring in more shoppers–while mitigating the impact of congestion and pollution. See more in the video above.

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About the author

Katharine Schwab is the deputy editor of Fast Company's technology section. Email her at kschwab@fastcompany.com and follow her on Twitter @kschwabable

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