AT&T pilots smart city projects around Chicago

AT&T and the City of Chicago are deepening their smart city partnership with a pilot project for smart kiosks and bus shelters.

The telecoms giant is expanding its smart cities work in the city with the new structures that will provide free Wi-Fi.

The announcement of the project, which will roll the technology out within the next couple months was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Besides internet connectivity, the smart transit shelters will include digital delays tracking bus arrival times and intelligent lighting. Ericsson is also a technology partner on the shelters.

As for the kiosks, they will feature touchscreens, USB charging ports and tourist information.  They also may include expanded information like public safety and weather alerts, along with restaurant offers.

“All the pilots we’re doing are designed to keep the residents more productive and engaged as they move about town,” said Mike Zeto of AT&T’s Smart Cities program. “The goal is to help the city try out tech that will provide benefits.”

She said that the city would be launching up to three prototype bus shelters and five kiosks around the city. The locations of the test beds will be announced in the coming weeks.

Looking to make O’Hare smarter, too

Meanwhile, AT&T Smart Cities is expanding its presence at O’Hare International Airport. It currently is installing digital displays that show real-time ground transport information.

And now it is adding a new project which will capture passenger data as they move around the airport.

“We’re leveraging big data to look at the flow of people throughout the airport to help us understand where people are coming from and where they are going,” said Chicago’s Chief Information Officer Brenna Berman. “That kind of data will help the team that manages O’Hare better understand how to help the travelers at O’Hare. For example, is there a better way to manage the taxi queue?”

Chicago was one of the first U.S. cities involved in AT&T’s smart cities program, announced last year.

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