The city of St. Catharines and Bell Canada are partnering on a pilot project to install touch-screen smart kiosks downtown.
The kiosks will offer free Wi-Fi, charging stations, 9-1-1 emergency call buttons, interactive way-finding signage, city information and more, said a city media release.
The pilot project was authorized last week and will see three smart kiosk installed.
The first will be installed by the end of May near the St. Catharines Public Library courtyard, across from City Hall, while the other two kiosks will be located at Montebello Park in the area of the rose garden and in the King St. area of Market Square.
Mayor Walter Sendzik said St. Catharines will be among the first cities in Canada to make a smart kiosk available to its residents.
“Innovations like this put the ‘smart city’ buzzword into action by creating opportunities for the city and our residents,” Sendzik said.
“The partnership with Bell is another step St. Catharines is taking to become the most dynamic, innovative, sustainable and livable city in North America.”
The smart kiosks will be about 3.2 metres tall, around one-metre wide, less than half-a-metre in depth and will feature two 55-inch (140 cm) LED touch screens, two USB charging ports, and a “Call 9-1-1” button.
The kiosks will be fully accessible, with braille written on buttons.
The city said the kiosks will not obstruct pedestrian flow on city sidewalks and that they will be housed in secure, weather-proof aluminum structures.
The Wi-Fi access range will be around 70 metres.
Karthik Venkataraman, St. Catharines’ senior manager of information technology, said the pilot kiosk project is “just the beginning” of putting the city on the Smart Cities map.
He said the kiosks can be upgraded the kiosks as more services become available and the city sees how the community uses them.
“The smart kiosk project hits three of our action items and touches some others that are outlined in the St. Catharines Strategic Plan. This is a great step forward for our city,” said the city’s chief administrative officer Shelley Chemnitz.
Bell Senior Vice President Gary Semplonius said Bell is committed to ensuring Canada remains a leader in digital communications at the global level.