Workers, residents and visitors to downtown Baltimore who need any information about events, things to do or city services will be able to tap any of 15 kiosks being installed on sidewalks around downtown beginning this summer.
The touch-screen kiosks, that resemble eight-foot-tall smart phones, will be installed and paid for by the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, a group that provides support and services for an area that spans a mile each way from the Inner Harbor.
The partnership introduced the kiosks Thursday at its annual State of Downtown presentation at the Hyatt Regency.
The kiosks will provide information on transportation, places to shop or eat, and city services, according to the group, which has contracted with IKE Smart City for the machines.
IKE, created by Ohio-based Orange Barrel Media, stands for "interactive kiosk experience" and was first used in Denver. Several other cities now use the kiosks.
The company says it's paid for with advertising and sponsorship only seen on the machines when they're not being used. The Downtown Partnership will get a portion of the revenue to cover the cost of installing, operating and maintaining the machines.
"Even in a world of smart phones, cities around the world recognize that physical wayfinding and pedestrian assistance are important and relevant," said Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership. "IKE is a fun and innovative way for residents and visitors alike to make the most of our city."
The first machines will be installed along Pratt Street from the Inner Harbor to Camden Yards.