The kiosks offer a free Wi-Fi hotspot and feature a dual-sided 65” touchscreen that displays digital advertising, location-based informational listings and interactive applications to promote local businesses and points of interest.
Houston is expanding its smart city infrastructure with digital, interactive wayfinding kiosks to that aim to enhance the pedestrian experience for residents and visitors.
Led by the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and with support from the Office of Innovation, this citywide initiative will be rolled out in phases. Mayor Sylvester Turner unveiled the first kiosk a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday; a total of 25 kiosks are due to be installed across the city. To bridge equity gaps, 10% of the kiosks will be stationed in underserved neighborhoods.
The IKE (Interactive Kiosk Experience) Smart City kiosks offer a free Wi-Fi hotspot. They will also feature a dual-sided 65” touchscreen that displays digital advertising, location-based informational listings and interactive applications to promote local businesses and points of interest. The kiosks are multilingual and fully ADA-compliant.
To further sustainability efforts, IKE’s wayfinding features will use aggregated public transit data to give citizens access to multimodal trip-planning options like public transit, bike share, scooters, ride-hailing or walking.
The kiosks will also disseminate critical public safety information, city officials said. A real-time feed from the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System and information from over 1,000 authorities certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will ensure that the kiosks immediately display emergency messaging, such as alerts for severe weather warnings, active shooter events, fire warnings and AMBER Alerts.
Houston is not the first city to install kiosks to support its smart city efforts. Columbus, Ohio, winner of the Transportation Department’s 2016 Smart City Challenge, installed its first IKE kiosk in 2018 and has used them to promote first mile / last mile solutions as it expands its smart mobility hubs.
New York City announced plans to install kiosks as early as 2016 as a replacement for the city’s outdated payphone network; Newark followed suit soon after. The following year, Florida's Miami-Dade County unveiled an initiative to install over 300 digital kiosks to encourage residents to use public transportation options.
"The City of Houston has so much to offer, and the IKE digital kiosks will be an exciting new amenity to help guide people in various directions to enjoy events, restaurants, and much more," Turner said. "These kiosks are one of the many ways Houston is moving forward with creating more walkable spaces that make for a safer and more pleasant experience."