Plan for ‘smart city’ kiosks in North Berkeley stirs controversy

IKE Sensible Metropolis To search out details about native companies, group occasions, public transportation, and different close by providers. Metropolis and tourism officers described it as a software to advertise Berkeley retailers and assist guests get round.

However when somebody is not utilizing the 8-foot units, their screens show an alternating array of photos that embody advertisements. That sparked opposition from councilman Sophie Hahn, who represents two well-liked buying districts in North Berkeley the place IKE Sensible Metropolis needs to put in its {hardware}.

“I do not wish to promote on the precise of approach,” Han mentioned. She asserts that the essential perform of the kiosks is to be “back-lit, digital, 24/7 promoting billboards”, and the truth that they supply info “doesn’t make it a public service”.

IKE Sensible Metropolis is a undertaking of promoting firm Columbus, Ohio Orange Barrel MediaWhich describe himself As a “main out-of-home media firm that has been redefining the ‘bulletin’ since 2004.”

IKE Sensible Metropolis says its kiosks are a approach to encourage “the exploration and discovery of the town”. Jessica Burton, an organization consultant, instructed about 80 attendees at a discussion board for Berkeley residents on Thursday afternoon that the units present “one of the best digital useful resource for navigation and route-finding.”

The Berkeley Metropolis Council permitted an settlement in 2018 Permits IKE Sensible Metropolis to deploy as much as 31 units. Han voted in opposition to the deal on the time. The town receives a share of the income generated from every kiosk, which in 2018 was estimated at $27,000 per machine per 12 months, or about $830,000 per 12 months if the corporate put in 31 machines.

The primary Berkeley machine was launched in December, and eight extra have since been put in – 5 in downtown, three alongside Telegraph Road and one within the Lorraine space of ​​South Berkeley. The kiosks additionally provide free Wi-Fi and have an emergency button that dials 911.

The corporate now needs to put in 17 extra units in a number of different enterprise districts round Berkeley beginning subsequent 12 months, together with Gilman Road, Fourth Road, North Shattuck and Solano Road.

“We actually wish to use these kiosks to welcome guests,” Jeffrey Church of Go to Berkeley, the town’s tourism and advertising and marketing workplace, instructed attendees at a Thursday afternoon discussion board.

The target of the digital discussion board was to take enter on the place to put the units within the North Shattuck neighborhood; IKE and the town are contemplating inserting two within the buying district, on the intersections of Shattuck with Cedar and Vine Streets.

However attendees did not get any—they voiced their opposition to the kiosks outright, describing units that will mess up sidewalks whereas offering the form of info folks may extra simply receive on their cell telephones.

A number of additionally raised issues concerning the information the units may entry from folks utilizing the kiosk or these strolling by.

Burton, an IKE Sensible Metropolis consultant, mentioned the corporate collects nameless information from its kiosks concerning the content material folks use to search out it, and likewise acknowledged that the machine’s Wi-Fi “pings” close by cellphones even when homeowners do not use the machine. Such connectivity is akin to how public Wi-Fi networks in espresso retailers or airports are acknowledged on their close by units, Clayton Collette, the corporate’s senior director of growth, mentioned in an electronic mail to Berkleeside, and mentioned that IKE kiosks don’t retain this information.

“We don’t promote information, don’t retailer information, and don’t acquire personally identifiable info,” Burton mentioned.

Berkeley {Hardware} Guidelines It contains stricter privateness requirements than these in different cities, together with a requirement that units would not have cameras, which they normally do. Hahn, who has lobbied for the strict Berkeley requirements, mentioned she stays involved about how the corporate makes use of the info its kiosks acquire.

IKE Sensible Metropolis can also be putting in its machines in Auckland, which has It sparked related discussions about information and privateness.

The town council will get the ultimate phrase on the place to place the following spherical of cubicles, a call anticipated someday this fall. Hahn mentioned she would advocate conserving them fully out of the buying districts of North Shattuck and Solano.