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David Pidgeon 

BT and Primesight launch ad-funded free Wi-Fi kiosks

BT and Primesight launch ad-funded free Wi-Fi kiosks

The state-of-the-art replacements for London payphones finally launched this week, with Camden the first borough to turn on the shiny new machines.

The new InLinkUK kiosks, created via a partnership with BT, Primesight and Intersection, will provide free Wi-Fi, calls and phone charging services - all funded by the incorporated digital advertising.

The kiosks, which allow hundreds of users to access the Wi-Fi, will also provide free landline calls and marks the next step in the evolution of payphones in the capital.

The free services supplied by the kiosks will be funded by the ad revenue generated, but other "premium services" such as maps, directions and local services will also be available.

“As London continues to develop as a smart city, the launch of the InLinks will provide a real value exchange between consumers and brands," said Naren Patel, CEO, Primesight.

“Consumers will see relevant content from brands on the screens and use the free services provided, and in turn brands will benefit from being associated with a product that will provide real benefits to the people in the communities. It’s a fast, smart, ad-funded product that is set to benefit consumers and advertisers alike."

The new InLinks will also feature sensors, which can capture real-time data relating to the local environment, including air and noise pollution, outdoor temperature and traffic conditions. BT said this could potentially introduce a new range of "smart services" to local councils and communities based on the Internet of Things.

Only two Inlinks - with 55-inch digital ad displays - have been installed in on Camden High Street, but at least 1,000 InLinks will be installed across central London and in major cities across the UK over the next few years.

Advertisers will be able to buy on a 'share of time' basis with Primesight placing the kiosks only in high footfall, inner-city locations. They have also been designed to be seen by pedestrians as well as motorists.

InLink will offer advertising for national brands, but will also support "community commerce" allowing local advertisers to buy screen time.

Although there are no current plans, Newsline was told that the opportunities to involve other technologies, such as beacons, could make the future of out-of-home advertising much more attractive to brands.

It also offers opportunities to tailor ads to the weather and can promote local businesses with timely offers and directions.

London is second only to New York in bringing InLinks to its streets, which were first installed in January 2016 as part of LinkNYC. Over 1.8 million users have registered to use the Wi-Fi service in the US.

Ari Buchalter, CEO, Intersection, said that InLinks provide "unique opportunities" for brands to deliver relevant advertising in the context of real-world experiences.

"We’re excited about the potential of InLinkUK from BT to transform everyday life for residents and visitors of London and cities throughout the UK."

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