DowntownDC BID Pilots Interactive Kiosks

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

By Scott Pomeroy

Navigating DowntownDC is about to get much simpler as smart, interactive kiosks are installed in select locations as part of a self-funded pilot program undertaken by the DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID).    

The interactive kiosks, from Smart City Media, function similarly to life-size smart phones, with easy-to-use touchscreens offering information about nearby dining and entertainment venues, directing visitors to multiple transit options and helping users to find great places to shop and explore in DowntownDC in addition to important alerts and information. Unlike a smart phone, kiosk content is customized for the immediate area, so that users can quickly find relevant and timely information about local business promotions or upcoming showtimes and events.

Not a native English speaker? With one touch, all information on display can be translated into one of 16 different languages.

 “Smart kiosks provide real-time dynamic content and serve as  the wayfinding of the future,” said BID Executive Director Neil O. Albert. “We are excited to help connect more residents, workers and visitors to DowntownDC with our local businesses, landmarks and entertainment and cultural venues.”

Beyond the core purpose of providing information, the kiosks are also designed to add enhanced value to the community infrastructure.  The BID is working with D.C.’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) to add equipment that will enable the kiosks to expand the coverage of DC NET and serve as free WiFi hotspots.  

Additionally, the kiosks will house a cluster of sensors that will collect environmental data on air quality and other ambient information such as noise, air temperature, humidity and barometric pressure. The kiosks will transport and house the data centrally within George Washington University’s (GWU) High Performance Computing (HPC) environment for analysis and reporting. This effort is part of the Regional Environmental Sensing Network, a Global Cities Team Challenge project being led by OCTO and GWU. 

Installations for this pilot project will begin in July in the 138-block DowntownDC BID-area as well as in the Anacostia Business Improvement District (BID), which is collaborating with the DowntownDC BID on several innovative projects.  “We are extremely pleased to be part of this forward thinking effort that will immediately make available pertinent information provided by these Kiosks along with free Wi-Fi to our residents and visitors to Anacostia” said Stan Jackson, President and CEO of the Anacostia Economic Development Corp (AEDC) and Executive Board member of the Anacostia BID.

This kiosk project is self-funding through revenues generated from advertisement placement within the content of the kiosks and its accompanying smart phone application.  Local partners will have an opportunity to receive a share of the revenue to re-invest in the community if the pilot meets certain benchmarks.

For more information on this project or to inquire about housing these kiosks in front of your property or business, please contact BID Director of Sustainability Initiatives Scott Pomeroy at 202-661-7580 or