|"Oh boy! New toy!"|
(C) 2016 Luke T. Bush
PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY -- 7/29/16
So how much money do you need for one of those fancy outdoor information kiosks?
After my previous article -- What's The Info On PlattInfo? -- I was curious about the pricing for the kiosks the city installed to promote local attractions.
There was fanfare when the PlattInfo project was revealed to the taxpaying public in 2012. After that giddy announcement -- "“Plattsburgh is one of the first cities to use technology in this way” said then mayor Donald Kazprzak -- three touchscreen information kiosks were up and running with more planned to augment the system.
Then the project died. For the last two years the kiosks have been dead, blank, tombstones to a semi-forgotten boondoggle.
I wanted to get a rough estimate on how much money was spent. I suspect if I ask the city for project costs I would be FOILed in the process.
So to save time I Googled for pricing on outdoor kiosks. There was a range of prices dependent on what type was ordered and the options included. This gave a rough idea of what could have been spent.
One hit took me to CostOwl.com, http://www.costowl.com/b2b/kiosks-outdoor-cost.html .
CostOwl: "Basic countertop-style models start at about $2,500. On the other end of the spectrum, a highly customized, full-sized outdoor kiosk could cost you more than $20,000."
Outdoor kiosks cost usually cost more because they have to be built to withstand the elements. With most models, continued CostOwl, the hardware alone is around $5,000 to $7,000.
CostOwl: "Software is typically sold separately and can add thousands to the total price. The total cost can be $3,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on the level of customization you require."
Obviously an outdoor kiosk requires more investment per unit than a 19 inch flatscreen TV on sale at Best Buy. At least the TV would still be working four years later. CostOwl notes the average lifespan for an outdoor kiosk is 3 to 10 years. Did anyone mention that to eager city officials before they jumped and grabbed their new toys?
The PlattInfo software was provided by a local programmer. He wrote it in proprietary code, not open source, meaning that only he can work on the system. There's mention of repurposing the kiosks but only he can modify and update the original system. One wonders what he would charge for that work.