Chicago Enters Partnership for Smart Kiosk Deployment

The city's planned fleet of connected smart kiosks is expected to not only offer Internet and services to residents, but also serve as a means to connect and engage with city officials.

Internet-connected kiosks have been popping up in cities across the country. The LinkNYC program went live a little under a year ago, but other cities including Miami and Kansas City, Mo., have been experimenting with this smart city technology. Next up? Chicago.

According to a news release from CIVIQ Smartscapes, the same company behind LinkNYC and the program to install smart kiosks in Miami-Dade County to relay public transit information, the Windy City will soon see its own fleet of connected devices that will provide free Wi-Fi to residents and visitors alike.

Each Waypoint station will feature interactive LED touchscreens, high-speed Wi-Fi, and small cell and sensor array technology. The sensors could be used to gather data on things like the number of pedestrians walking by, traffic congestion or browsing data from the connected devices. With an established network of devices, the city is hoping to blanket the city with free Wi-Fi.

The devices are meant to serve a higher purpose than just being a cool piece of technology on the streets of Chicago — they also will allow for residents to engage with elected city officials and city workers, enabling the city to respond to issues and allow for the expansion of a new experience across city services.

"We are excited to take this technological leap and put Chicago at the forefront of smart cities throughout the country,” said Chicago CIO Brenna Berman in the release. "By integrating CIVIQ's smart solutions into our infrastructure, we look forward to seeing first-hand how Chicago residents and visitors alike embrace its many technological benefits."

Chicago is one of the leading cities in the world with its smart city technology implementation. The Array of Things project, an expanded Internet of Things initiative, will outfit city infrastructure with more than 500 sensors that provide data on air quality, traffic and hyperlocal weather data that can detect possible flood sites. The project is administered by the city and the Argonne National Laboratory at the University of Chicago.

Ryan McCauley was a staff writer for Government Technology magazine from October 2016 through July 2017, and previously served as the publication's editorial assistant.