Much like living in a “smart home,” a “smart community” app that will allow Babcock Ranch residents to hail a ride, order a meal, pay their bills and more is in development. “We want to create a community app where everything you need to do at Babcock Ranch is in one place, with a really simple user interface,” says Natalee Burns, marketing production manager for Babcock developer
Kitson & Partners. The Babcock Ranch app called Keylink, whose comprehensive services will be accessed by an in-app concierge named Link, is still in the early phases of development but might be available in its initial phase late this summer. Developers hope to begin slowly rolling out other features and will continue to add more in the years to come. Phase one development of the app focuses on transportation services, which will eventually include electric and autonomous vehicles that can be hailed in a manner similar to Uber or Lyft, and other means of transportation at Babcock such as bicycles and scooters.
“There’s this little chat robot who’s like our concierge,” for the app, Ms. Burns says, adding the app is called Keylink and the robot is called Link. “You can chat with the concierge, the concierge can get you a ride, you can see events that are going on, you can talk about things. It’s just like talking to a concierge in a hotel.
“It’ll say things like, ‘How can I help you today?’”
Kitson & Partners formed Babcock Ranch Transportation Services, LLC to work in conjunction with Transdev, a worldwide mobility operator and integrator, transporting 11 million people globally each day. The technology developer Levatas is responsible for the app’s software and user experience.
“We want to have a transportation system here that combines electric and autonomous but also human-driven vehicles, bikes and scooters,” Ms. Burns says. “The goal always has been: You moved to Babcock Ranch. Maybe you have two cars and now you just need one, and then eventually you don’t need any personally owned vehicles to get around, onsite and offsite.”
Babcock Ranch’s current shuttle can operate completely autonomously and can be dispatched remotely, but there is still an attendant at the wheel, so to speak, to help visitors to Babcock understand the technology and so they feel more comfortable using it.
Transportation will be only one, albeit major, feature of the new app.
Here’s an idea of some of the features users can expect when they open the app, as Ms. Burns described it:
A dashboard will be a hub that shows you what’s going on in the community, including daily events.
Menus will connect to the town’s various businesses and will be integrated with homeowners associations.
There will be a map of the trails surrounding Babcock Ranch.
There will also be a payment wallet aspect allowing residents to manage all of their homerelated payments through the app.
It will also enable residents to make reservations/ place takeout orders at Table & Tap and have food and grocery delivery services through Slater’s Goods & Provisions.
Testing for the app and its transportation services is slated to begin this summer with a mix of about 30 residents.
More about the app
The Babcock Telegraph caught up with Thomas M. Hoban Jr., president and CIO, Kitson & Partners and member of the Babcock Ranch Transportations Services board. He answered further questions about the new app by email.
Q: What are some of the details
of the app that residents can
expect to use?
A: The app is a virtual concierge for
those living at Babcock Ranch
(and visitors as well), with a community calendar, HOA/POA needs,
autonomous vehicle (AV) service,
goods delivery, dining reservations,
general communication, etc. The
offering will become more robust
as we continue to grow, but we
are still very excited about what we
are able to offer in this first phase.
Q: What is your vision for transportation services at Babcock
Ranch over the next five years?
A: The future is difficult to predict, but
we would like to see more people
consider being a one-car family. Through AV as well as hourly
and daily car rentals, bikes, etc.,
homeowners should be able to
manage their daily needs with
one vehicle and benefit from a
substantial savings as a result.
Q: How are you working with your
partners including Kitson and
Levatas to develop the app?
A: Levatas is a tech company
focused on software development
and creating quality user experiences. Babcock Ranch Transportation Services outlines the goals
we have for the app and Levatas
uses its technology expertise to
create the user experience we