Microsoft/UCL Spot Market Project Overview
To help address the needs of ailing UK high streets, the Spot Markets project was developed as a collaboration between Kent County Council, Microsoft, and University College London. This project aims to reinvigorate the high street economy by introducing the sophisticated tools often used by online retailers to the high street environment, democratizing access to them, and ultimately giving small businesses a fighting chance against large corporations with constant access to a significant online audience. The Spot Markets project as a whole involves the development and implementation of a core cloud-based architecture which will provide town-specific smart "engines" to match consumers with the sorts of local retailers, products, and offers which are relevant to them. Additionally, the project involves the development of a suite of mobile and web based consumer and retailer applications for posting, accessing, and redeeming offers and deals on the system.
It is hoped that establishing a greater connection between consumers and local retailers will help drive footfall back into the high street. However, the project had a secondary goal of providing valuable insights into those footfall patterns and local consumer habits by providing both retailers and town councils with analytics dashboards. By making the data easy to understand through simple graphics, the Spot Markets System may be able to provide insights into consumer habits that have the potential to drive economic change for the better.