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New Tampa kiosks offer local information, Wi-Fi to get connected

There are 30 kiosks planned to be installed throughout downtown and neighboring communities.

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Downtown Partnership and IKE Smart City, along with Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Council Chairman Orlando Gudes, introduced new interactive kiosks to the community.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Tampa Convention Center Wednesday, the Interactive Kiosk Experience (IKE) had its time to shine.

According to a press release, these kiosks are designed to "help residents and visitors explore the city." They, too, act as Wi-Fi hotspots for anyone nearby looking to use their device to get on the internet.

"You can find out where to stay, restaurants to eat at, fun activities -- all of the amenities that are available here in the most wonderful city in the world here in Tampa," Castor said at the ceremony.

The kiosks offer a hyper-local experience through different applications that support businesses in the area, improve mobility and provide valuable resources and services to Tampa communities, officials also said in a press release.

Castor explained how through IKE, people can order an Uber, see the bus schedule and access all of the downtown transit options no matter where they are. There are also social services on the kiosks to help anyone in a crisis locate the closest agency to provide assistance, she explained.

The first five kiosks are now set up, and 25 more are planned to be installed throughout downtown and surrounding communities at no cost to the city.

"The only downside is you can't fit it in your pocket, and that's why we have 30 of them all around the city," Castor said.

Pew Research Center earlier this year found 7 percent of U.S. adults do not use the internet, with education and household income as one of a few indicators of a person's likelihood of not having internet access.

Vice President of Development for IKE Smart City Jibran Shermohaammed says each kiosk is programmed individually and allows people to select any category to search and connect to the information they need.

"When you go up to the kiosk and select eat or drink, shop, play or stay, it's going to show you the options that are most proximate to the kiosk with the intent to direct the visitors and residents to the most local options," he said at the ceremony.

Shermohaammed also explained that there will be a jobs board, information on places to find shelter, financial aid, food aid and addiction recovery resources.