Smart City Kiosk Initiatives Invigorate Canadian Towns

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Bell Canada has deployed connected and urban-rugged CIVIQ Smart Kiosks that enable cities to improve the lives of their citizens and generate economic growth. The unique user interface was designed with Reality Interactive to optimize engagement, facilitate quick interactions, and deliver useful local information. The kiosks also offer Wi-Fi, high-speed charging, real-time transit information, 911 emergency, and remotely managed video cameras for safety and data. Advertising is generating revenue and economic growth for cities across Canada.

Nominating Company: CIVIQ Smartscapes, Milford, Massachusetts
Venue: Bell Mobility Smart City Initiatives, Ontario, Canada
Project: Bell Mobility Smart City Initiatives
Category: Public Spaces

BACKGROUND
Bell Canada was selected by Canada to deploy a Smart City Platform, including CIVIQ’s Smart Kiosks. CIVIQ worked with Reality Interactive to deliver a unique, highly effective software experience on the units.

Information presented by the kiosks are divided into zones. The ‘permanent zone’ on the physical structure of the device offers ‘street sign’ functionality. The broadcast zone allows each city to generate advertising revenue and public service or emergency announcements.

The One-to-One zone is ‘always on’ to increase engagement by 60 percent, delivering quick engagements. The concept of ‘walking circles’ was used to draw attention to local businesses and points of interest, and real-time transit options are also presented.

civiq_restaurants

Other services include free Wi-Fi, High-Speed USB Charging, a dedicated 911 button, and remotely controlled cameras for safety. Deployments to date include the City of St Catharines, the City of Orillia, St. Johns and Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory.

CHALLENGES
Our main challenges were to ensure the value of the Kiosk was communicated to citizens who are often glued to their mobile screen. See how we solved this challenge in the next response.

SOLUTIONS
Today, we are fighting to demonstrate the value that a kiosk provides to an audience glued to their mobile phone. We used user research, and design methodologies (eg: Design Thinking). We focused on four guiding principles of design:
-Serving always as a gateway to the community-honest, contextual and timely,
-“Right here, Right now!” – Providing information that is immediately useful
-Clarity of intent and purpose for all functions
-Simple to use for every user

As a result, we encourage quick interactions with the kiosk (two to three clicks) and the ability to hand off to the users smartphone. The system also implemented an always-on interface, so users are immediately aware of the value the kiosk provides. Finally, walking circles help deliver value that a smartphone can’t. A user is empowered to explore local points of interest rather than know what they are looking for as is necessary with a smartphone.

RESULTS
The results have been positive perception by the city for improved economic growth and citizen engagement as well as positive perception by residents for the benefits these will deliver such as free Wi-Fi, improved safety, real-time transit information and more.

“This puts Orillia on the map as being one of the most innovative cities in Canada,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “Taking steps to develop Orillia as a Smarter City will certainly help to promote new growth opportunities.”

PROJECT PARTNERS
Reality Interactive – Content provider
Bell Canada – Integrator and Technology provider

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