New digital signs have started popping up on the streets of Watertown that will provide emergency messages, bus schedules, information about local government and more.
The information kiosks are called Soofa Signs and are the creation of a startup run by MIT grads. They are solar powered and use e-ink. One has been put up near Town Hall/Saltonstall Park.
Find out more in the announcement sent out by Soofa Signs:
The Town of Watertown will become the 11th municipality in the Greater Boston area to incorporate Soofa Signs into its smart-city infrastructure.
Watertown is installing Signs throughout the town to bolster the town’s public communications, focusing on communicating town updates, meeting agendas, and up-to-the-minute emergency messaging regarding COVID-19 and other emergent situations.
Watertown is installing three Signs in total, with the first set to be placed outside of Watertown’s Town Hall. There, it will display town updates, a town meeting and events calendar, a live feed of Watertown’s Twitter account, and local business offerings. The meeting calendar will serve to keep residents informed about opportunities to attend and contribute to public discussions, while the Twitter feed will keep Watertown residents up-to-date on what’s going on in real time.
The Soofa Sign will also promote the town’s new emergency messaging service, the WatertownAlert Everbridge mobile app. A QR code, which can be scanned to download the app, will be on permanent display on the back of the Sign as part of the wayfinding vinyl.
“We are looking forward to working with Soofa to provide Watertown residents with the information they need to stay safe during this unpredictable time,” said Christopher McClure, Chief Information
Officer. “We understand that having reliable, effective public communications systems in place is a core component of being prepared for any emergency, and we’re thrilled to use the Soofa Signs to
communicate important updates to Watertown’s citizens.”
Town Manager Michael Driscoll remarked, “The safety and well-being of Watertown residents is our first priority. We’re excited to deploy Soofa’s technology in Watertown to keep residents safe, informed, and connected to one another during this period of physical separation.”
“Ensuring that emergency messaging is reaching all constituents is absolutely critical,” said Sandra Richter, Soofa’s co-founder and CEO. “The Town of Watertown recognizes the importance of keeping citizens up-to-date on everything from public health guidelines to town meeting information, and Soofa is proud to partner with Watertown to help ensure all residents are staying informed and staying safe.”
Soofa, a female-founded startup out of the MIT Media Lab, builds the first of its kind, solar-powered digital sign with e-ink display. The Signs display a combination of government updates, community-generated content, and local business information. The Sign also updates passersby on real-time transit information and local events while engaging users with poll questions relevant to their community.
The Soofa Sign is accessible for anyone to use through an online, self-service platform called Soofa Talk. The Soofa Sign was featured by Engadget as a finalist for Best Vision for the Future at CES and was described by Curbed as the Facebook wall for the real world.