Digital bulletin board powers student and faculty communications with a host of innovative tools
The eight kiosks — on UMKC’s Volker and Health Sciences campuses — resemble giant smart phones and provide up-to-date information on university services and how to access the best of Kansas City. Kiosk users might have experienced similar kiosks along the streetcar route, which loops from Union Station to the River Market.
“As Kansas City’s university, we are committed to connecting our community to the rich resources available in our city,” said UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal. “We’re thrilled to be the first university in the nation to benefit from CityPost kiosks. Leading on the forefront of change and progress fits our vision of what UMKC should be all about. These kiosks are just one visible, tangible indicator of that vision.”
The digital kiosks are part of a communication network that broadcasts real-time, location-based information and alerts to provide safer, better connected public digital solutions. Information is powered by 55-inch smart screens and a companion CityPost mobile application. UMKC CityPost, in partnership with Duke Energy, is a wholly owned subsidiary of of New York, the same creator of the kiosks along the Kansas City streetcar line.
As Kansas City’s university, UMKC was invited to be the first campus site in the U.S. for CityPost. No public or tuition dollars are used to fund the system.
Bob Bennett, chief innovation officer for the city of Kansas City, said the partnership that brought the kiosks to UMKC help to guarantee that Kansas City is one of the top 50 smart cities in the world. He noted the personal component is as important as the technological one.
“These kiosks can be a critical venue to gather for human-to-human interaction without staring at phones,” Bennett said. “Kansas City can now claim 62 connected blocks when campus is included. We would not have been able to do this without private partners.”
“We are honored to better connect the students and faculty to all the great things at UMKC, and to help build a stronger information bridge from the campus to the greater Kansas City community,” said Tom Touchet, CEO of Smart City Media LLC. “CityPost is a connected campus bulletin board and this is UMKC’s very own channel. We look forward to all of the new and innovative communications that our publishing tools will help provide. A college is a small city in itself and nobody understands how better to communicate within it like the students and faculty. We look forward to empowering them to use our new tools, and do new things.”
Using touch-screen technology on the 7-foot-tall UMKC CityPost blue-and-gold kiosks, visitors to campuses can learn more about student services, dining options, UMKC and KC events, where to discover art and when to enjoy sporting events throughout the city. The kiosks also include local news, bike-rental info, walking maps and a selfie app.
“We’re proud to be a part of bringing digital infrastructure solutions to forward looking communities such as UMKC,” added Michael Luhrs, Duke Energy vice president of customer solutions. “We expect our partnership with Smart City Media to significantly accelerate across North America and help enable what smart cities are all about.”
“Rather than hunching over separate mobile phones, students and visitors can explore campus and Kansas City together,” said UMKC Provost Barbara A. Bichelmeyer. “The UMKC CityPost kiosks provide students and visitors the chance to explore campus and Kansas City communally.”
UMKC sophomore Daphne Posadas said that the kiosks are great for students.
“Students do not like to ask for help, and this definitely takes away the fear factor,” Posadas said. “Also, as a native Spanish speaker, I really appreciate the translations app. It’s a wonderful addition for diversity on campus.”
Information is available in nine languages in addition to English. The kiosks can translate information into Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Nepalese, Spanish, Vietnamese and Urdu.