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Fifty kiosks are expected to be installed throughout the city by the end of the year

The city of Oakland is going digital as part of a new effort to give residents and visitors better access to information.

Restaurants, shops, local events, city jobs and emergency service will all be at your fingertips.

“They will not only modernize how we find our way throughout the city of Oakland, but also empower businesses, non-profits, boost tourism, and invigorate our economy,” said Mayor Sheng Thao.

That’s what new digital touch screen kiosks are expected to provide -- each one tailored to their specific neighborhood.

Residents will start seeing them pop up throughout busy business corridors, including downtown, Jack London Square, and east Oakland.

The city’s goal is to provide better access to resources while also promoting business throughout the town.

“We want to make sure it's across the city because we know that it is in some of our most marginalized parts of the city that it is our Black and Brown businesses that are located there that they should have wayfinding as well,” said Thao.

Users can also access social services including local shelters and food resources.

The kiosks also act as a free Wi-fi hot spot, and include an emergency button to contact police. A resource Councilmember Carrol Fife says is critical as the city works to reduce crime.

“These kiosks give access to individuals that might not have Wi-fi or might not know how to access our city systems to get them in touch with our 311 system, our public safety systems. So, it brings access right to the streets,” said Fife. “Are they Oakland tough? That’s what I wanted to ensure. They said that these kiosks have been hit with vehicle, spray painted, resisted floods and hurricanes.”

“We are installed in some of the densest cities in the country. They are absolutely vandalized, and we understand that is part of the business,” said Jibran Shermohammed, vice president of development at IKE Smart City, the system creator.

It says they'll pay to repair or replace any of the camera equipped kiosks that get vandalized or damaged.

Oakland’s the 18th city in the U.S. to install the touchscreens.

And it’s not costing the city or businesses a dime. IKE pays for it all, then shares ad sale profits with the city averaging up to $1.6 million annually for Oakland.

“There is a direct financial impact on the city where we pay for the program, we install the project, we operate and clean the kiosks all at our cost and then we share a portion of the revenue we generate from the program back to the city,” said Shermohammed.

Fifty kiosks are expected to be installed throughout the city by the end of the year.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Velena Jones

Quelle/Source: NBC Bay Area, 21.03.2024

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