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Picture this: your company has an out of town meeting, your child has a sports tournament, or your family plans a weekend getaway. As a result, you find yourself in a bustling small town you’ve never before visited. The downtown area is filled with shops and restaurants, but you aren’t quite sure what to do or where to start, and you’re overflowing with questions. Which restaurants are kid-friendly? What do their menus look like? Which direction is the store your friend told you to check out? Is there a local park?

The predicament you’re facing when you arrive in this unfamiliar small town is one that towns across the country are constantly considering—once visitors arrive, will they be able to easily get around? If so, will they be able to find something they’re interested in, be willing to explore, and support local restaurants and businesses?

In an effort to address some of these questions, cities and towns both large and small have begun exploring and investing in interactive digital solutions. You may have heard the term ‘smart cities’ used to describe those implementing interactive technology throughout their cities. Though typically not to the same scale as major cities, small towns across the country are rapidly realizing that interactive digital solutions, namely digital kiosks, have the capabilities to serve as the answer to many of the aforementioned questions, among others.

Helping visitors navigate

As a visitor to a new town, one’s top priority typically falls on successfully navigating the unfamiliar territory and finding what they’re looking for—whether it’s food, shopping, or entertainment. Meridian’s InterAct Digital Signage solution equips digital kiosks with Meridian’s InterAct Digital Signage solution equips digital kiosks with wayfinding capabilities to help users navigate their destination and encourage them to explore their surrounding area with interactive informationwayfinding capabilities to help users navigate their destination and encourage them to explore their surrounding area with interactive information. Not only does InterAct provide a platform for presenting the information visitors are looking for, it also offers a variety of ways for users to navigate through that information. If they approach the kiosk knowing exactly what they’re looking for, users can conduct a direct search by typing in the business’ name. Alternatively, they can also search by broader offering, such as dining, shopping, entertainment, or events. Within those broader categories, users are able to search by specific type of listing—type of food, merchandise, or activity—and location, such as borough, neighborhood, city, or geographic area. For users’ convenience, InterAct solutions allow users to navigate their way to their destination through an interactive map, and also have the capability to print on demand. Wayfinding capabilities make it easy for visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for, exactly where they’re looking for it, and find the most direct route from one place to another.

Providing an advertising platform for local businesses

Though useful when visiting an unfamiliar place, interactive digital kiosks aren’t just for visitors. Locals can benefit from digital kiosks as well, as both an invested business and an end user. In addition to showing users how to arrive at their place of business, interactive digital kiosks also provide local businesses a platform on which they are able to advertise. Promoting their offerings through digital kiosks allows businesses to reach a captured and highly engaged audience at a point where they are often ready and willing to make a decision. In this regard, interactive digital kiosks are able to reach those that more traditional methods, such as print, may not—especially on such a large scale.

Promoting local happenings

Interactive digital kiosks also have the capability to promote upcoming local events and happenings within the community, from festivals, to school events, to farmers markets, sports leagues, and other opportunities for involvement. Using interactive digital kiosks as an information source affords both visitors and locals the ability to stay up-to-date and educate themselves on all of the opportunities a town has to offer.

Wayfinding Digital Kiosk in useFlash forward: as you’re trying to decide where to start, following your arrival in town, you encounter a digital kiosk. As you begin interacting with the screen, you quickly realize that it has information on those local restaurants you were curious about—it even has their menus available for you to browse through. You also notice that it has wayfinding capabilities, not only does it tell you there is a local park, it also shows you how to get there from where you’re standing now. A few minutes ago, you were overwhelmed with possibilities, and now you’re planning your stops for the day.

Small towns work tirelessly to keep their economies thriving and to attract visitors—and keep them coming back. They’re also constantly tasked with effectively informing and engaging the permanent members of their communities. Interactive digital kiosks provide the wayfinding, advertising, and information-sharing solutions that small towns seek, in a sleek package that is both easy to use and able to be strategically placed throughout a community.

Photo Credit: Meridian
Chris Gilder

Chris Gilder

Chris Gilder has been solving self-service solutions for almost two decades. His vision to focus on self-service innovation and build reliable, robust and integrated solutions has enabled Meridian to become one of the largest end-to-end self-service providers in North America. By owning the entire process, Meridian is able to deliver in shorter time frames, offer the strongest warranty in the industry and help customers scale and maintain their self-service deployments.

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