'Beta Blocks' up and running in Codman Square, Ashmont

Greetings from Soofa on a Washington Street sidewalk.

Codman Square and Ashmont are now offering access to news and information to residents and visitors as they walk around the business districts via outdoor digital platforms that have been set up in the communities. Early this month, the MIT-based tech startup Soofa began installing its so-called “Beta Blocks” in city neighborhoods, including Codman Square (three along Washington Street) Ashmont (two along Dot Ave.), the Fenway, Chinatown, and Allston. 

The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics is working with Soofa, Emerson College, and Supernormal to install the platforms in prominent places where the community can access the digital screens that display content posted from the community, the city, and local businesses on the top of the page, and provide information about shows, local events and real-time transit near the bottom. Access to post content to the Soofa Signs is available for free to all at soofatalk.com.

Soofa has partnerships with The Boston Globe and American City Business Journals, allowing the company to display their local news on all of its signs in Boston. The company is also looking to develop partnerships with local neighborhood newspapers. It calls the technology “a new platform for community conversations to happen,” that will engage local residents to create, “fresh, relevant, and inspiring content.” 

Soofa is a female-founded company, established in 2014 by MIT alum and Cambridge resident Sandra Richter, and co-founder Jutta Friedrichs, a specialist in design.