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Checking Out Giant Touch Screen Information Kiosks

July 30, 2020 Featured No Comments

Way back in January I saw a news story that interested me, but it was too cold out — eight new information kiosks had gone online.

The vertical touch screen information centers provide visitors and residents with information on restaurants and attractions as well as local resources and services.

Kyle Sparks was visiting from Cincinnati and used a kiosk a the corner of 4th and Chestnut.

 “I’ve only been to St. Louis a couple of times and I was just kind of moseying around trying to find out what I could find and these make it really easy,” he said. 

The kiosks are part of the city’s Smart City initiative and have been in the works for two years. The information centers are being paid for without any tax dollars.

“There is no investment from the city or taxpayers to pull this thing off. It’s entirely funded through sponsorships and advertising opportunities,” said Jacob Long, spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson. (KMOV)

I saw a couple white driving home from trips to a store. In late April it was warm enough for me to check them out. However, health and other posts prevented me from writing about them…until now.

An IKE at 8th & Washington Ave.

Here’s what the manufacturer says about the hardware & software:

Designed in concert with Pentagram and built to the proprietary specifications of our platform, every IKE guarantees the best in quality and will complement the aesthetics of any city.

Instead of being relegated to a secondary position on a tablet, the large 65” screens located on both sides of the kiosk are prominent, visually impactful and encourage frequent pedestrian interaction.

IKE is built on an open, multi-lingual data platform that provides maximum flexibility and integration with city data sources. Our software is developed in an agile process, with city partners joining us at the table to develop new ideas and applications.

Our in-house Software Engineering team has full-stack expertise, including infrastructure, scalable backend systems and user interfaces. This allows for the continuous evolution and innovation of our platform and gives our team the ability to customize IKE software to meet the needs of any city. (IKE Smart City)

Let’s take a look.

The other side of the IKE at 8th & Washington.
There are accessibility options the user can select — assuming they can see well enough to select the larger text option.
The sidewalk side of the hardware has a lighted blue 911 button — I didn’t test this.
I did test the ability to have it take your photo and text it to yourself. The photo arrives square, but I cropped it here. This side of this IKE was incredibly slow on April 21st.
So I went over to Market & Tucker to test another.
This screen worked much better than the previous. They may just need to be restarted every so often. Again, this was cropped from a square image. I’m seated in my wheelchair so standing would get more of you in the photo.
Yesterday I saw another at 8th & Walnut
And another was just installed along Tucker at Washington Ave. The cover is still in place. According to the KMOV article, there were 8 initially — 7 downtown and 1 across from Crown Candy Kitchen. Not sure how many are throughout St. Louis now.

I’ve yet to see anyone using an IKE, but downtown has been deserted because of the pandemic. They definitely get your attention, even as a motorist, especially as a pedestrian.

The IKE touch screens are in addition to the static directories downtown provided by the CVC, shown above in this 2013 image.

We’ll see how it goes. I need keep carrying hand sanitizer with me so I can keep testing them.

— Steve Patterson

 

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