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Port of San Diego Initiates Smart City Interactive Kiosk Program to Enhance Waterfront Experience

  |   Smart Cities San Diego

As part of efforts to enhance the visitor experience on the waterfront through smart cities technology, the Port of San Diego has initiated an Interactive Kiosk Program with the goal of installing approximately 30 informational kiosks on the San Diego waterfront in 2018. 


On May 16, 2017, the Board of Port Commissioners selected IKE Smart City to fabricate, install, operate, and maintain a portfolio of Interactive Kiosks from a pool of competitive proposals, and directed staff to exclusively negotiate with the company for a 10-year agreement. At the meeting, representatives of the City of San Diego, Cleantech San Diego, and San Diego Downtown Partnership spoke in support of the proposal.


“This is a great example of how our Port is working to make the waterfront an exciting and dynamic place to visit,” said Port Chairman Robert “Dukie” Valderrama. “Interactive Kiosks along the San Diego waterfront will encourage exploration and discovery of attractions, special events, restaurants and entertainment; while also serving as meeting points.”


IKE Smart City launched a similar Interactive Kiosk Program in Denver in 2015, and is also under contract with the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board to launch a similar program.


The proposed Interactive Kiosks will provide new amenities for visitors to the San Diego waterfront, with touch screens that will offer an interactive experience to help people get directions and public transit information, explore restaurants and attractions, and educate them about the Port. The plan is to install them in what is called the Centre City/Embarcadero area, which is the Embarcadero along Harbor Drive, between Laurel Street and the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in San Diego.


Interactive Kiosks will offer the following features for users:


  • Turn-by-turn directions, with mobile integration to transfer those directions right to your cell phone or tablet
  • Real time information on public transportation, ride sharing services, bike sharing
  • Events and attractions
  • Shopping, dining, and points of interest
  • Public safety announcements
  • Weather updates
  • Information about the Port
  • Public feedback opportunities through public polling, questions of the week, and other interactivity, including a photo booth feature allowing for integration with social media.


To reach a broad audience, the Interactive Kiosks will be able to display information in multiple languages. They will have an adjustable screen for people with disabilities.


The Interactive Kiosks are designed to reflect the sailing culture of San Diego as they are shaped in the form of a sail.  They are also “pedestrian scale,” in that the touch screen is easily accessible for people.  From a total height perspective the 11-foot-tall kiosks will fit well with other 17-foot-tall wayfinding signage along the waterfront.


There is no public investment required for this project, the Port collaborated with an outside agency to create the design, and IKE Smart City will pay for fabrication of the Interactive Kiosks. The production, installation, operation, and maintenance will be privately financed through revenue generated by advertising and sponsorships. When not engaged by a pedestrian, the information displayed will include Port messages, wayfinding and public safety announcements, and the remainder to be paid advertising. When engaged by a user, during “interactive mode,” 70% of the screen area is dedicated to interactive and informative content.


The Interactive Kiosk Program is a Smart Port initiative. While the Interactive Kiosks will enhance the user experience, they will also collect new data to help the Port improve operations. Like a smart city, the Smart Port will integrate information and communication technology and Internet of Things technology to manage assets and improve the efficiency of services. The Interactive Kiosks will be able to track pedestrian traffic and gather aggregate data. This data could be used to inform Port initiatives, improve public services and, support economic development.


“Under this innovative plan by the Port of San Diego, residents and visitors alike will benefit from a wealth of relevant content, enabling greater discovery of the Port District and encouraging exploration and commerce throughout the downtown Embarcadero,” said Pete Scantland, CEO of IKE Smart City. “We are thrilled to partner with the Port of San Diego in this effort, and look forward to our role in delivering this valuable public service.”


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