Numerous cities and towns around the world have joined the ranks in developing into a notable Smart City. The cities and towns of today must grow and evolve to embrace and excite the urbanization and resiliency of tomorrow. Municipalities and their leaders are creatively leveraging technology innovations to develop enhanced, smarter offerings that go above and beyond today's city services. While key infrastructures and core city services receive a makeover, some cities have launched new forms of interactive advertising and outdoor technology to engage with citizens and promote local businesses. Some real-world innovative solutions that spark enthusiasm include SolarBox, Citi Bike, and elevate DIGITAL interactive kiosks.
Everyone recognizes the iconic London telephone booth. A SolarBox is a former red London telephone booth painted green and equipped with a solar panel on the roof that powers the multiple chargers that wait for you inside. In an effort to cater to all users, SolarBox contains chargers for several different types of mobile devices. While inside charging a device, users watch a small TV screen that plays advertisements allowing companies to expand brand recognition. This is a great, creative way for companies to interact with users and constitents in a subtle but interactive manner. But now, as telephone booths become a thing of the past, London has decided to take a new, innovative step by changing some of the telephone booths into free, on-the-go charging stations, or SolarBoxes!
Ads have always been posted on the sides of buses, transit stations/stops, or on larger-than-life billboards, but (admittedly) we tend to deflect our eyes away more often than not. Now, advertisements inside these charging stations are face-to-face and noticed by people while they wait for their phone to juice up. With SolarBox, London is simultaneously providing convenient, free, on-the-go charging stations; levergeing existing street furniture with an innovative new purpose; and delivering an interactive and eye-level advertising platform.
Most Americans are familiar with financial institution, Citibank. A few years back in 2013, Citibank (alongside New York BIke Share LLC) launched Citi Bike, a bike share program that allows people all over New York City access to easy, environmentally-friendly, and convenient transportation. Users can rent a bike from any of the 300+ stations around the boroughs, then return it to any station when their ride is complete. This efficient and connected system provides a plethora of route options for riders since pickup and dropoff locations can differ.
Similar to SolarBox's interactive advertising technique, Citi Bike provides advertising quite literally on the move as city dwellers pedal throughout the grid of NYC streets from point A to point B. The Citibank branding can be seen throghout the Big Apple when bikes are docked or on the go - Talk about a physically interactive advertising platform! Citibank’s bike share program has created another business opportunity that extends their brand to the street, and provides thousands of people with an easy, interactive, and eco-alterative transportation option. This and other bike share systems in cities around the world are an embodiment of the Internet of Things initiatives in growing Smart Cities. Citi Bike trip data is collected with each and every bike use and made publically available for members of the interested public to analyze, visualize, and power future public space and transportation means development.
Travel and tourism has changed quite drastically since smartphone, web- and mobile-applications, and readily available reviews or locals' insights have penetrated the previous word-of-mouth and physical travel book market. Not only do travellers (be it leisure or business) have a smartphone in their pocket and their favorite trip or travel app already downloaded, but there is now an option directly on the sidewalk to interactively and easily access information and directions - Enter, elevate DIGITAL.
According to their website, “elevate DIGITAL can customize the kiosk to the audience, municipality, attraction, or advertiser.” This feature enables customers and their kiosks to cater to and target specific users and build brand awareness through interactive marketing campaigns while gathering valuable 'big data' directly from a sidewalk-based kiosk. The company has aggressive expansion plans to create "interactive digital technology that connects people everywhere” - be on the lookout for an interactive kiosk in a city near you as they expand to create connections between people, brands, communities, and 'things'!A Chicago-based company, elevate DIGITAL has created an interactive, touch screen kiosk which displays advertisements and tourist information, provides maps and directions, and through a partnership with Groupon, allows people to purchase deals and offers directly from the kiosk. Brands have a direct point of contact through location-based, fun and interactive interface including content, social media integration, and advertisments.
Fascinated by the the progess towards our communities transforming into Smart Cities both today and tomorrow?
Enjoy our blog post "Making Smart Cities: A Look into State of Progress" to get a glimpse into innovation, connectivity, and the future of our evolving communities!