Being a smart city isn’t just about using technology to provide efficient services and better data. Sometimes the smartest thing a city can do is have some fun!
SmartCross was developed by local business Webtools. SmartCross units are mounted in pairs at pedestrian crossings. Each unit has a touchscreen display that lets you either play a game of Pong with someone on the opposite side, find out about free parking or events in the city, or fill in a quick survey. The content is carefully designed to keep users engaged for a brief time, and only while the crossing signal is red. When the light goes green, it’s game over.
The devices are connected to the internet, so it’s easy to keep content fresh, and to develop new interactive uses.
The first pair of SmartCross devices was installed at the intersection of Colombo Street and Cashel Mall in October 2016, with another set installed later in 2016 on High Street.
Results of the trial
- Initial models of SmartCross were not weatherproof enough. A revised design has resolved this problem.
- Roadworks and construction projects at both intersections impacted the user uptake of the devices.
- The survey results provided useful data.
- There was interest from councillors to get the game installed in areas with high numbers of students, to encourage responsible usage of pedestrian crossings.
- We observed some great interactions between people playing the game.
- The device cost prohibited an extensive rollout across the city.
If the cost of manufacturing and installing the device can be reduced, SmartCross has potential to be incorporated into our city’s landscape in the future once the rebuild is complete.