Cities need to utilize new and innovative technologies to help them become more resilient and sustainable. In addition, citizens are demanding the modernization and upgrade of city infrastructure and services to support a 21st century lifestyle to stay competitive. BrandNewark is a bold, public/private partnership that seeks to shape these elements and turn Newark into what is now known as a “smart city.”

A smart city kiosk is one primary example of a “smart” infrastructure component. At the core, they provide users (citizens and visitors) with basic services including free high-speed internet and real-time communication/alerts (community notices, bulletin boards, maps, weather, etc). To help fund the kiosks, many cities utilize a financial model that involves revenues from advertising (from either a proven market, or from anticipated future revenues). The advertising comes from local and national businesses that purchase time on the kiosk screens to promote their products and services.

Smart city kiosks can include a number of new technologies and innovations that allow them to accomplish far more than the base functions mentioned above. These technologies include: wireless networks (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, etc), HD cameras with facial recognition and other video techniques, traffic and other sensors, connections to cloud databases/services, online contests and app integrations, et cetera. These technologies and others also provide the foundation for new and more valuable functionality to be added to the kiosks in the future. Ultimately, the kiosks will be an integral and very visible component of a truly smart Newark, leveraging technology and a strong visual presence to boost traffic, business, awareness, and indeed a stronger community.