This fall, the Revolve Project is looking to get Cal State San Bernardino students’ heads in the cloud as well by distributing cutting-edge devices equipped with Near Field Communication technology that will connect students with local businesses and bring the wealth back to the heart of the Inland Empire.
While NFC technology is small, the Revolve team’s vision (http://www.therevolveproject.com) for the city and CSUSB is not. The group wants to revitalize the local economy and tap into the underused potential of the thousands of students who come through the college town each year.
“This is a youthful city, we should be doing something,” said Revolve chief financial officer ND Nguyen, who graduated with an M.B.A. in finance from CSUSB in 2013. But just how will a team of 10 students begin to unlock this potential? It’s as easy as N-F-C.
NFC is a technology that allows for two-way communication between devices that are close to each other. Users of the Revolve Project’s touch technology will have their own profile and NFC device, which enables them to transfer information from their profile through the NFC device to, say, a kiosk at a local business or a tag on a flier on campus.
This cloud-kiosk transfer system is a two-way street. Just as students can give out information through Revolve Touch, they can also receive information from local businesses, professors, community event organizers, social media platforms and more with a simple touch of their device to a tag in town.
Think of it this way. Any NFC device, such as a wristband, ID card, cellphone, keychain and more, can be used as a safely encrypted “key” that can unlock or pick up information, replace roll call, reward customers for loyalty to local businesses and even make purchases from user cloud and storage systems via tags all over the university or city.
The Revolve team sees NFC as the key to improving and connecting the community and small business sector in San Bernardino and eventually beyond. “The cities of Riverside and Colton want us, the local chamber is on board, lots of local businesses are on board—but we want to prove it at CSUSB first,” said Rusty Palmer, Revolve CEO and CSUSB alumnus who is currently pursuing two M.B.A.s at the university in entrepreneurship and management. “The city is very aware of what we are doing.”
The group is not fully funded or part of a club or program of the university; it simply has a heart for the city of San Bernardino and wants to see it restored to its former glory. Contributors have been supporting the Revolve Project through its fundraising website at http://www.Fundable.com/Revolve-Touch.
Home to the first McDonalds and Norton Air Force Base, San Bernardino was one of 10 communities in the United States given the All America City award back in the late 1970s. The honor recognized the citizens who worked together to identify and tackle community-wide challenges and achieve uncommon results.
“San Bernardino used to be the central hub for travelers. Famous singers like Elvis used to perform here,” said Nguyen. In 1964, the Rolling Stones also kicked off the band’s first American tour in San Bernardino at the Orange Show Fairgrounds’ Swing Auditorium. “We are trying to implement this program (the Revolve Project) to bring back the wealth we once had.”
While the economy did go into a general decline toward the end of the 20th century and even into the 21st century, the Inland Empire is moving forward, and the Revolve team wants NFC to be a part of the recovery process.
For being a university that draws so many commuters into San Bernardino, the members of Revolve see little attention actually being diverted back into the city. Revolve, through its NFC technology and the cloud profile system, wants to pair students with local businesses in internship experiences that would ultimately empower both groups.
“We have more value in the city of San Bernardino than is being accessed, and we want a way to keep students in the community and get them involved and plugged in,” said Palmer.
Their heads may be in the cloud, but their dream of seeing the San Bernardino community fully restored and thriving by way of NFC is definitely within reach.
When the Revolve team first acted on its vision in 2012, the members felt like lone wolves. “Nobody else was trying to do any change,” said Cesar Gomez, Revolve chief operating officer and CSUSB student. “But since then a lot of people have jumped on board and other groups have started to create change in this city. The momentum has started and we want to be part of it.”