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'Giant iPads' On Manchester Streets

First for the city info human-scale info boards

Published on May 29th 2013.

'Giant iPads' On Manchester Streets

MANCHESTER is to get a network of ‘smart and savvy’ interactive digital touchscreens.

Visitors will be able to find their way around using touch screen maps, for instance, and communications about events in the city can be tailored and updated based on who’s around and what’s happening. 

The 20 screens, to be called the CityLive network, will be located in busy areas of the city centre including Piccadilly Gardens, Market Street and New Cathedral Street. The network will be fully operational from the beginning of autumn.

The network is being introduced by Manchester City Council’s outdoor advertising partner MediaCo and will be 'cost neutral' to the Council. It will combine the latest advertising technology – designed to tailor adverts specifically to their audiences – with an array of useful real-time information for residents and visitors.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The CityLive network is another example of Manchester’s ambition to become one of the world’s leading digital cities.

"These interactive screens are intelligent tools on our streets which, as well as carrying advertising, will enhance the experience of people in the city centre by providing useful real time information. Visitors will be able to find their way around using touch screen maps, for instance, and communications about events in the city can be tailored and updated based on who’s around and what’s happening. Visitors will even be able to check the latest news and weather forecasts.”

Facial recognition technology built into the screens will enable advertisers to target ads based on the age and gender of users. The screens will also enable more tailored campaigns, with more flexibility over times, prices and specific audiences than more traditional sites. MediaCo describe it as "hyper smart” advertising.

Mark Wardle, Managing Director of MediaCo Outdoor, said: "The launch of CityLive marks a significant step forward for us and the media industry. Working with our partners at Manchester City Council, CityLive will provide an unrivalled level of engagement for advertisers and visitors in one of Europe’s most important cities.”

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousMay 29th 2013.

Do you mean the age and sex of users? People have a sex, not a gender. Look at your birth certificate or your passport.

Manc GuyMay 29th 2013.

Wow...another nice piece of tech kit, itching to be vandalised by the scrotes of the city! Why don't they just make the tech available to smart phones and tablets, and instead spend money on signage promoting that? There's a few LCD mini-billboards around. Why don't the council use that technology and promote events or the latest city news. They could even stream live news, show traffic updates and even display images of criminals. A bit 'big brother' perhaps, but it would be informative and up to the second info.

Chilblain SueMay 29th 2013.

Manc Guy, I think it's a grand idea and helps out in a vital area of life which is all about letting people know about the city. Not everything gets vandalised you daft man.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Manc GuyMay 29th 2013.

Don't get me wrong CHILBLAIN SUE, they sound like a great piece of kit, but as I said, all of this info could be made available [and convenient] for people to have on their own tech, for a fraction of the cost of installing twenty of those interactive display units. There's an iHelp thingy opposite the town hall, next to the bus stops. It's been there a few years and the last time I checked it didn't work. As for 'not eveything gets vandalised'?...you need to walk around the city more love. You'll not find many phone booths, bus shelters, benches, tables or street info points tha haven't been vandalised. You know...features and places where the public have access to 24/7. 'Daft man' indeed!!!

AlexJuly 5th 2013.

It's about selling us things, which they couldn't do in the same way to our own devices (what do you want anyway, information only available to the 'rich enough to afford a smart phone/tablet'!). And last time I checked the iHelp thingy it did work, as do almost every one of every thing you then list!! You see what you believe. Daft man indeed.

Canon The MiserMay 30th 2013.

Oh dearie dearie me. This is the fourth time a system of this kind will have been rolled out, either in hotels and bars or in conjuction with the council. The first was driven by a bloody big CD twenty three years ago. It was slow and useless, apart from giving out the address of a fantastic brothel in Amsterdam called Yab Yum. It was leap-frogged by PC's and cheap memory. The other two met similar fates and this one will as well. Because it's already been leapfrogged by technology. For once, the mental person that is Manc Guy is right; its all about visitors swiping their smart phones at entry points to the city and the information being downloaded automatically. This is something that Mancon should be doing right now; they are the kings of content and the only site that writes about the city with neither fear nor favour when it comes to reviews. Right, can I have my fifty pound note now?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Manc GuyMay 30th 2013.

"its all about visitors swiping their smart phones at entry points to the city and the information being downloaded automatically." Exactly, and for it to be available in several languages too. The Tourist Information Centre should be focusing on this out too, and updating that mess of a website they've got whilst they're a it. Not only is the iHelp unit opposite the town hall not working, it's been vandalised and graffitied too. CANON THE MISER? Never heard of ya! 'Mental person' indeed!!!

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