Tuesday, June 18, 2024

CIVIQ Smartscapes: The Company That Builds and Deploys the LinkNYC Touch-Screen Terminals

Guest post by Mel Stott

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A DPAA-sponsored feature.

In our ongoing series of exclusive interviews with senior execs of recent new members of the Digital Place Based Advertising Association (DPAA), we chat with
Erwin Rezelman, President of CIVIQ Smartscapes. 

CIVIQ is helping to transform cities into smart and connected landscapes. In New York City, for example, CIVIQ Smartscapes is part of the CityBridge consortium, along with Intersection and Qualcomm. CityBridge is responsible for replacing phone booths across all five boroughs in NYC with the LinkNYC terminals, a new product that provides super-fast and secure public 1 GB Wi-Fi. 

Mel Stott: What does CIVIQ Smartscapes do? 

Erwin Rezelman: We are smartscaping cities. Note that it is not technology that makes a city smart, but integrating the infrastructure so that the benefits reach all stakeholders. Citizen Engagement is a key piece of that. The Smartscapes (like the LinkNYC) provide interactive services through applications and connectivity using the super-fast Wi-Fi and sensors.

The Smartscapes becomes part of the community and is locally aware. What is offered will be dependent on the location needs. However, interactive applications may include way-finding, multi-modal transit, citizen services, local events and activities information and the sensors linked to parking, traffic flow, micro climate situation etc. Importantly, CIVIQ offers a city-wide open platform, enabling partner applications besides our own.

What is CIVIQ Smartscapes’ role in the New York City CityBridge consortium’s initiative to remove street-side telephone booths and replace them with LinkNYC terminals? 

CIVIQ Smartscapes is part of the CityBridge consortium that also includes Intersection and Qualcomm. CityBridge is responsible for the LinkNYC roll-out, replacing phone booths across all the five boroughs in NYC.

The end product goes far beyond a phone booth by providing the fastest and secure public 1 GB Wi-Fi that will cover all the boroughs. It has an interactive touch panel to access services and information. Importantly it does not cost any tax payers dollars as it is self-funded through advertising revenue (of which the city also gets a share).

As part of the consortium, CIVIQ is building, delivering and maintaining the LinkNYC devices. 

Erwin Rezelman Photo

CIVIQ Smartscapes – Erwin Rezelman

How many terminals have been installed to date in New York City? How many will there ultimately be and over what time frame? 

We have produced over 500 with around 375 installed in the streets. It is a 15-year project of at least 7,500 devices. Most of those will be installed over the first five years.

What features do these installations offer to consumers? 

A citizen can now choose to be connected at all times as the devices roll-out across the city. They can use the internet to make phone calls, connect to social media and other interactive applications. This on the LinkNYC or through their own connected device using the 1 GB free Wi-Fi. When their personal devices run out of power, there is a fast charging option or they can use the touch screen to access applications and the web. There are dedicated 911 and 311 quick call buttons.

The digital displays are used to show ads, will also provide local or city wide alerts. The integrated solution of hard and software can grow and develop with the city. Finally, these services can be extended through sensor-based solutions.

What are the benefits for the municipality? 

With people, vehicles, buildings and “things” all connecting to each other, the digitization of cites is becoming a reality. It needs to be enabled and managed especially as the data this all generates is not useful until it becomes information that can be “consumed” by the stakeholders in the city to make decisions. This is a momentous task and a big question is how to pay for this and be ready for the future.

As CIVIQ Smartscapes can provide the city-wide platform at no cost to the city (as long as it can be funded through ad sales), it can enable the connectivity and citizen engagement, while being future-ready though a modular, upgradable solution.

Adding the sensors to the Smartscapes, the city can get micro climate information, real-time traffic flow, enhanced security, parking availability and pedestrian traffic to name a few. This will allow the city to expand its services in areas where it is needed.

Are you working on similar initiatives in other cities? 

Absolutely. Watch this space …

What benefits have you derived from DPAA since joining the organization earlier this year? 

DPAA has grown beyond digital media to include the technology and services that smarter cities are looking for. We found a great forum to discuss these opportunities on a strategic level and then bring it down to practical actions. Being part of that discussion setting new standards and connecting to other companies on the solutions, has been a key benefit to CIVIQ.


Published on Thursday, August 18, 2016 at 8:24 PM

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