Press Club

“Virtual Statues” to Highlight New Ballston BID App

Rendering of John Wall "virtual statue" (courtesy Ballston BID)The Ballston Business Improvement District (BID) will be showing off some “virtual statues” of local sports figures at Taste of Arlington to highlight the upcoming launch of its new mobile device app.

Users will be able to walk up to one of the posted markers, scan a code with their phone, and see a brief video of a sports star. The first three markers will be unveiled on Sunday, May 19, at Taste of Arlington. Each features one of three local sports stars: Washington Capitals team captain Alex Ovechkin, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall or D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius.

Visitors do not have to bring a mobile device in order to try out the virtual statue markers. Volunteers will be on hand with iPads to demonstrate how the technology works, and to show users how to get a photo of themselves with the virtual statues (see rendering above).

“This is relatively new,” said Ballston BID Chief Executive Officer Tina Leone. “We don’t know of any other examples where this technology has been used before like this.”

The technology will be a small portion of a larger Ballston BID app. More markers with codes eventually will be installed throughout Ballston. Once users download the mobile app, they will be able to scan the markers and learn about the importance of that particular site, or even see a list of events that will take place there. For instance, a marker near Welburn Square could list upcoming dates of the Ballston Farmers Market.

“We want people to enjoy this and try the technology so they get used to seeing this around Ballston,” said Leone. “We’re employing this in stages over time, probably a one to two year period, because there are so many aspects we want to include and we want to do it right. Eventually there will be mobile WiFi hotspots throughout Ballston and there will be a map showing those. This will be a really robust mobile application.”

Although the full application is still in the planning stages, another idea is to have markers posted in the windows of restaurants and businesses.

“This is where everything is going. Everyone uses their mobile device, it’s the first thing that people do,” Leone said. “If you’re walking by a retailer and don’t know them, what do you do? Whip out your mobile device and research it. We want people to know what’s going on here.”

Leone said the virtual statues and the new app bring together some of the best parts of Ballston.

“We have these amazing minds behind the scenes that create this technology. We’re trying to bring this technology and personality to the streets,” she said. “We want to showcase the great minds in Ballston. This is a great marriage of bringing efforts together and bringing our brand to the public.”

Besides the virtual markers, visitors to Taste of Arlington will see a number of other changes. There will be more child-friendly activities at the Washington Capitals and Wizards KidZone, an expanded beer and wine tent and picnic tables. Booths will be repositioned, and some eliminated, to allow for more walking room. Visitors will pay the same price for tasting tickets as they did last year ($30), but will get more tasting tickets (10) for the money.

“We encourage people to come out because we’ve made some great improvements this year,” said Leone. “We’re really excited about it.”

Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser

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