A 7-foot-tall, touch-screen kiosk will be unveiled today in Little Rock's River Market area, filled with local content, ads and interactive apps.
It's sort of like a giant smartphone placed on the sidewalk for passers-by to use to learn about nearby restaurants, deals and other information the city or advertising partners want to push out. Users can also take selfies on the kiosk and send the photos to their phones. Each kiosk has Wi-Fi.
The kiosks, branded CityPost, are being brought to town by a Smart City Media/Duke Energy One partnership. Little Rock is the third city in the nation to get this company's kiosks. Kansas City obtained them in 2016, and earlier this year the first kiosk was installed in Louisville, Ky.
Little Rock's first interactive smart screen has been installed at the corner of Markham and Main streets near the Statehouse Convention Center. Mayor Mark Stodola will join others there at 10:30 a.m. today to show off the technology and demonstrate how it works.
CityPost will sell advertising and give 25 percent of its net ad revenue to the city, after the cost of installation, insurance, maintenance and ad sales commissions. The city pays nothing for the partnership, but the Board of Directors did agree to a 10-year franchise agreement for the kiosks.
The board's vote approved only the first kiosk. Up to 15 are planned in the first phase, and the board would have to approve the location of each.
Mike Mainthow with CityPost said the city could receive $100,000 from the partnership within the first year, but it depends on how many kiosks are put up and how many ads are sold.
The technology is meant to engage residents and tourists with the community and to drive economic development, he said.
All small businesses will be allowed to be on the network for free, Mainthow said. For example, when someone clicks on the restaurant app, they will see all nearby restaurants.
However, if a business wants guaranteed placement -- say to be the first at the top of the screen, or to have a 10-second ad run consistently -- they will have to pay for that advertisement.
Mainthow declined to specify advertisement prices.
CityPost's business model includes selling ads to corporate sponsors, area businesses and service providers.
It gets most of its content from the city's website and the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau website. The Downtown Little Rock Partnership also will be creating some content for the message board.
"We talk about it as a smart community bulletin board where we are posting messages about the city," Mainthow said in a presentation to the city Board of Directors.
The kiosk is fully multilingual.
Some business owners and city officials were concerned with the effect the kiosks could have on small businesses if a competitor's advertisements were allowed to be displayed outside a business's doors. Mainthow assured officials that if an area such as the River Market wanted a rule saying competing businesses out of that area could not advertise on the kiosk, then CityPost would agree to such restrictions.
The city will have the ability to prioritize content on the kiosks in the event of an emergency or when promoting events and programs, Mainthow said.
There's also a 911 emergency button.
The kiosks will have several internal cameras, and CityPost will be working with the Little Rock Police Department on its ability to use video recordings from them to investigate reported crimes. The cameras provide almost a full 360-degree view.
"I've been working with this organization on this for about 24 months. We are making sure Little Rock is at the forefront in terms of these activities," Stodola said. "I think this is cutting edge. ... I think it's really a big step forward and something that will be tremendously helpful to our citizens. I think it will help our police solve a bunch of crimes, since we don't always have enough police officers downtown or in the River Market."
In a few months, Mainthow said, there will be a voice search feature on the kiosks.
CityPost's content guidelines prevent obscene, indecent, discriminatory, religious or political content. Advertising that depicts or promotes tobacco products, firearms, adult entertainment, profanity, violence or illegal activity is also not allowed.
Capi Peck, chairman of the Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission and a director on the city board, said the kiosks have "a tremendous amount of potential."
"I think it would be a great asset from public safety and information perspectives," she said.
Metro on 06/25/2018
Print Headline: LR unveils 1st e-kiosk today; 7-foot-tall device takes selfies, advertises, earns city cash