What are interactive touchscreen kiosks?

You have seen them in museums, train stations, and even malls: interactive touchscreen kiosks are popping up everywhere. That being noted, not everyone has access to a smartphone and internet connection is not always available. Besides, how could information be tailored to a specific location? With improved interactive touchscreen kiosk technology, all of this is possible. Montgomery County has several bustling town centers, filled with unique eateries and shopping experiences. The Innovation Program wrote about the potential for these kiosks in a previous post and progress has been made as we determine what our procurement content management strategy will be. The kiosks would provide restaurant and store information, public transportation information, and even things such as weather and data from our open data portal. Several potential pilot sites have been identified in Silver Spring and Bethesda. The information they provide would be beneficial to the shoppers and visitors.

Basically, these innovative devices will provide data and local information almost instantly. They could range from airport check-in areas to online shopping catalogs to a map of the region. These different applications show the versatility of this idea; this is where Montgomery County Innovation comes into play. We will decide what the most necessary and convenient features are, and then we will apply them to the kiosks.

The hardware of the kiosk is like a computer with a PC screen, encased so it cannot be harmed by the weather. They are touchscreen, making them interactive like the smartphone technologies many of us are accustomed to today.

Innovation fellow Andrew Rauch, who is working on the project with fellow Ann Bevans, provided a list of possible functions for the kiosks:

-Way finding
-Transit information
-Ticketing
-Payphone service
-Cell phone charging stations
-Wi-Fi
-Emergency notifications
-Skype 
-Social Media integration 
-Business Rating system
-Built-In Camera
Some aspects still being discussed include generating revenue and providing advertising on the kiosks. Updates on the status of this project will be posted next month, and we hope to launch the kiosks in 2014.