At a Glance
- Solution to municipalities for industrial-grade interactive kiosks with multiple IoT components
- 325 custom kiosks
- Manufacturing innovation
- Single point of contact provides project management among all partners, including engineer-integrator, contract manufacturer and sub-component manufacturers
- Dedicated customer care
- Continuous improvement—now on Gen3 of kiosks
- Global sourcing without additional overhead costs
- Saved customer $4.8 million over the competition, a 31% savings
- Rapid time to market: less than 16 months
Smart City Media
City bus riders and light-rail transit users need to find their way quickly. They want local content such as transit schedules and traffic information as well as Wi-Fi connectivity. Smart City Media LLC (SmartCity), a New York-based IoT provider of broadcast networks to municipalities and other organizations for digital infrastructure, required a solutions provider to design and manufacture custom kiosks for its customer, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). Dallas, Texas-based DART was deploying a smart kiosk network with the broad goal of bridging the digital divide by providing information and digital connectivity to users of mass transit.
Finding Your Way Can Be Complicated Designing and Manufacturing Complex Interactive Kiosks for Mass Transit Users.
SmartCity required a savvy partner to manage the entire design-and-make process for the exterior kiosks, a challenge that was beyond the company’s realm of expertise in IoT networks. The interactive kiosks were to be designed using 5 major IoT components— public Wi-Fi, 5G antenna, 360-degree camera security system, touchscreen, and audio for alerts and advertising—each requiring a different manufacturing process. The first requirement for DART’s smart kiosk program called for a production run of 325 smart kiosks.
Your Supply Chain Challenges Are Our Supply Chain Challenges Chainlogix and Smart City Media Find the Way to a Winning Solution Together.
The Citypost-branded kiosks needed to withstand a hostile environment of weather conditions and extensive use. Finding a cost-effective solution that met all of DART’s requirements while providing state-of-the-art IoT kiosks without sacrificing quality was the key project challenge.
“Most manufacturers want to offer a standard kiosk for a smaller production run or charge a premium for adding the complexity of the IoT components that SmartCity wanted. Ultimately, we were able to offer a highly competitive price while providing a customized solution to a complex solution.” Rick Walsh, director of display solutions at Chainlogix.
Shortly following the first conversations between SmartCity and Chainlogix in third quarter 2018, the supply chain solutions provider identified a kiosk contract manufacturer in Asia that could design to highly customized specifications using agile manufacturing practices. The first evaluation kiosks were delivered to SmartCity’s engineer-integrator from Landmark Infrastructure Partners (Landmark) in Texas during fourth quarter 2018, marking the start of the design phase.
Walsh of Chainlogix managed the project, providing coordination and communications among the manufacturer in Asia, SmartCity, and its representative in Texas from Landmark that was ultimately responsible for the kiosk deployments. Walsh acted as the customer service agent to SmartCity and Landmark, frequently visiting the site during the critical design phase, and worked most closely with the engineer-integrator.
Walsh was also instrumental in bringing in the right sub-component makers, such as for antenna, LED lighting, modems, PC, routers, security camera system and skin graphics, and coordinated with a multitude of these suppliers throughout the process and as the next generation of kiosks were developed.
By the end of first quarter 2019, SmartCity had approved the custom design of the kiosks based on features such as rugged, weatherproof interactive-LCD signs and fewer mechanical parts to support efficient operation and product lifecycle. During second quarter 2019, DART approved the joint proposal from SmartCity, Landmark, and Chainlogix for the kiosks, starting with a production run of 165 kiosks. Once fully assembled, initial testing of the kiosks was performed by the manufacturer in Asia. In early 2020, Walsh provided oversight of the on-site testing following delivery, and the kiosks were successfully deployed across three Dallas-area transit stations.
In third quarter 2020, design changes to the first generation of kiosks were specified, and made in short order on the next production run for an additional 160 kiosks to include a modified exhaust system and airflow for greater performance in the extreme weather conditions of north Texas. Plus, to address the public health concerns of COVID-19, the Gen2 kiosks feature touchless mobile activation of all broadcast content enabled via embedded QR codes. The Gen2 kiosks were put in operation by August 2020 at Dallas-area locations.
Into the Future with Next-Gen Kiosks
Advances in IoT and product development of electrical vehicles (EV), among other technologies, continue to push Chainlogix, SmartCity, and the manufacturer to explore new features for kiosks such as facial recognition, EV charging and even environmental testing.
SmartCity continues to expand its smart Citypost kiosk solutions with Chainlogix in many cities, including Montgomery, Ala.; Mesa, Ariz.; and Milwaukee, Wisc. The partnership allows SmartCity to offer municipalities a half-dozen basic kiosk configurations, such as single- or double-sided, QR code or touch screen, among varying sizes, while making solutions completely customizable for each municipality.
In Mesa, for example, from finding transit information to a place to eat, visitors and residents alike find value in the rugged two-sided kiosks that encourage engagement, including a “selfie” functionality on the kiosks and a companion mobile app. (SOURCE: https://mesanow.org/news/public/article/2730).
A Turn-key Solution for Interactive Wayfinding Designed to Save Smart City Media 31%.
SmartCity found great value in the project management and engineering design services provided by Chainlogix (or its partners) in the turn-key solution it was able to provide DART. “The management portion of the project was a huge process that would have been more expensive without Chainlogix. They are truly a solution architect,” said Tom Touchet, CEO of Smart City Media. In the end, the SmartCity-Chainlogix-Landmark partnership delivered significant cost savings to DART (31% cost savings)—with quality of product far exceeding expectations.
Chainlogix Solves Supply Chain Challenges With Impactful Solutions.
Since 1998, we have provided supply chain management solutions that help manufacturers design and build cost-effective, high quality products and improve their bottom-lines. We strive to deeply understand our customers’ businesses and tailor supply chain solutions to their unique needs. Our team of solution-driven professionals has decades of experience in global logistics, outsourced manufacturing, and a passion for results. With broad capabilities, global supply chain connections, and a dedication to customer care, we are a trusted partner for demanding customers.
Our team of experts can manage:
- Planning and procurement with preferential access to a broad supplier base and AVL optimization
- Cost-optimized inventory warehousing and fulfillment
- End-to-end supply chain tracking and communication
- Product innovation through design and re-design through its partners
Serving the industry for 23 years, we have established nearly 200 supplier partner contracts. Headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia, we operate worldwide with strategic sourcing offices based in the USA and Zhuhai, China.
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