Though Newark, N.J.’s most sought-after piece of urban infrastructure may be the exit sign after landing at the airport, a new smart city kiosk project looks to make the city more welcoming.

GCN says the City of Newark recently unveiled a  hi-tech kiosk as the first public project of its smart city strategy.

The newly unveiled BrandNewark kiosk at Military Park is the first product of the MetroLab@Newark smart city initiative.

The kiosk offers free Wi-Fi, wayfinding services, web browsing and other services. It also has additional screens for advertisements which will offset the cost of the terminals.

More importantly, the kiosks run on an open platform and offer plug-and-play capability, so they will serve as testbeds for applications and sensors from various vendors.

The MetroLab@Newark strategy involves partnerships with the New Jersey Innovation Institute, the New Jersey Institute of Technology and various private businesses. It is a local version of the federal MetroLab initiative which seeks to bring universities and cities together to develop smart city projects.

Newark’s smart city program aims to make the city a testbed for emerging connected urban technology.

“This is a big step forward for the city, to make us an innovative hub where tech companies will want to locate,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “BrandNewark is a physical extension of that, and a way that the neighborhoods can feel like this innovation is all around them and they are a part of it.  We want to make it happen right here, a smart city, gigabit internet and a tech-savvy workforce.”

Newark hopes to lean from neighbors in NYC

Hopefully, Newark will have learned the pitfalls of on-street web terminals from the LinkNYC project which saw the technology put to rather rambunctious use.

Reports emerged that the kiosks were being used to blast music at late hours of the night and that some people were camped out with chairs in front of the terminals for endless hours.

But it was the headline-grabbing use of the kiosks to access pornography in public places that created the loudest uproar and caused the terminals to be modified with stricter content controls.