SAN DIEGO — The San Diego City Council has approved plans to install interactive kiosks throughout downtown to help visitors and residents navigate the region.
They’re called IKE Smart City, short for Interactive Kiosk Experience.
“People, if they’re visiting from outside San Diego and/or residents, can access information just with a touch of a fingertip,” Christina Bibler, the city’s economic development director, told FOX 5 on Wednesday.
The IKE is a dual-sided, large touch screen that allows users to discover everything from shops, hotels, businesses, restaurants, parks, events, buses and trolley routes — and, using your smartphone, get the navigation sent to the palm of your hand.
“They will also be able to look for a lot of public benefits,” Bibler said. “Is there a local shelter nearby? How do you interact with a city? Where can you pay a parking ticket?”
Under the agreement, IKE will incur all the startup costs — construction, maintenance and cleaning during the first 10 years — and estimates San Diego will get back roughly $25 million annually in advertising dollars. The kiosks are already in 15 other cities.
“We negotiated that these kiosks will have a call button so that at any point in time, if someone needed assistance, that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Downtown Cleaning Safe Team will be able to respond and interact with that person,” Bibler said.
The city still needs to approve the location but once that is done, IKE has three years to install the first 50 kiosks, with San Diego expecting to start seeing revenue in 2025.
“Obviously with IKE picking up the costs of operations, maintaining and cleaning these kiosks, there’s no cost to the city,” Bibler said. “So the upfront cost to the provider is heavy on the front — 10 years, and if it is successful and we opt to renew for the additional five years, there is additional revenue that comes in more freely years 11 through 15.”
For tourists and locals, this is a new way to discover all the things San Diego has to offer within a few blocks of where you literally stand. And for business that are having a hard time getting noticed, it’s a win for them, too.