Marketed on the basis of being free and convenient, the IKE kiosks collect data on every person who comes near them, including id’ing your Bluetooth and WiFi devices. Cameras record your face and examine your choices and selections. Their payback is “surveillance capitalism” where you are subsumed into the Technocrat control grid.
Each kiosk serves as a free wifi hotspot and is geo-located, displaying informational listings based on what’s in the immediate proximity to the touchscreen kiosk.
The City of Houston has rolled out the first in a series of digital interactive, wayfinding kiosks called “interactive kiosk experience” (IKE).
The deployment marks the launch of a city-wide initiative to build smart city infrastructure that helps to enhance the pedestrian experience for residents and visitors, while adding ‘vibrancy’ to Houston’s urban landscape.
Interactive digital kiosks
The City released a request for proposal (RFP) for interactive digital kiosks in March of 2020 and selected IKE Smart City as the vendor in March of 2021, which was later approved by city council in May.
Post approval, IKE Smart City worked collaboratively with the City of Houston, Houston First, neighbourhood groups, and adjacent property owners on location selection, kiosk branding, and on-screen content.
Installation will occur in phases of 25 kiosks throughout several neighbourhoods including Downtown, Uptown, Midtown, Montrose, Museum District, Texas Medical Center, Greater Third Ward, EaDo, Upper Kirby, and more. Further, at least 10 per cent of all IKE kiosks will be located in underserved neighbourhoods, as defined by the City, including Gulfton, Sunnyside and others.
“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,” said Sylvester Turner, mayor of Houston.
“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.”
According to IKE Smart City, the kiosks put innovative technology in commercial, pedestrian-oriented areas to offer advanced wayfinding capabilities through smart city technology. Each kiosk serves as a free wifi hotspot up to 75’ and is geo-located, displaying informational listings based on what’s in the immediate proximity to the kiosk.
The kiosks have dual-sided digital touchscreens and are fully ADA-compliant, complete with a suite of interactive applications that drive discovery of area businesses and other local points of interest, promote diverse mobility solutions, and improve equity with 24/7 access to resources.
IKE is multilingual and includes detailed content listings of local area restaurants, shops, businesses, cultural institutions, events, jobs, and civic resources. Additionally, the kiosks provide access to social services information such as homeless shelters, addiction recovery programs, and food support.