Touchscreen kiosks are now well-established in the canyons of New York.
The People’s Internet grows...

For some time, we've been building new applications and installing more
equipment throughout the five boroughs of New York. Now
fully-transactional systems, that conduct secure, vital business for
multiple City agencies, are online. 

The challenge of integration with one of the largest and most complex
city bureaucracies in the world has been substantial, and worth it...

MN
 

 New York City Expands
 Touchscreen Kiosk Network

 CityAccess Now Fully Transactional:
 Credit and Debit Card Payment 
 for City Services

NEW YORK, NY, May 9, 1997: New Yorkers got a break today; now they can pay for a variety of government fees, fines and taxes by credit or debit card, at 25 touchscreen kiosks located throughout the five boroughs. This marks a significant milestone in New York’s CityAccess program, which already provides a comprehensive information service on dozens of government programs. Operated for the City of New York by MetroNet Communications, a subsidiary of North Communications, this fully transactional network leapfrogs New York over dozens of other city initiatives in the U.S.

The sleek kiosks, which look like an ATM, are directly online to the City’s massive computer systems, and ensure secure, up-to-date and precise information. By touching the easy-to-use, colorful screens, which speak in both English and Spanish, virtually anyone can quickly complete a complex transaction. With a quick swipe of a credit or debit card, verified instantly, people can pay parking tickets, real estate taxes, and obtain forms for civil service exams. Soon, New Yorkers will also be able to pay violations fines and scale fees to the Department of Consumer Affairs. The alternative is to pay by check through the mail, or go to a City office and stand in line, where card payments are not accepted. Financial processing at the kiosk is made possible through MetroNet’s strategic technical and financial alliances with PNC Merchant Services and Transaction Network Plus, Inc.

"This is an important step in the right direction, and we expect the scope of CityAccess services to continue to grow," said Adam Parker, MetroNet’s General Manager. "We have worked hard with the City of New York to bring useful but complex information and services just a touch away. This new payment option makes everything faster and easier, both for the citizen and for City agencies. Just take your ATM card or your credit card to the kiosk and, with a simple swipe, you can complete your transaction in seconds, and walk away with a verified receipt."

The five participating agencies in MetroNet’s kiosk network are the Department of Finance, Housing Preservation and Development, the New York Housing Authority, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, and the Department of Consumer Affairs. The project is spearheaded by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) and sponsored by the Office of the Mayor. i

“We are very pleased to bring this advanced level of service to the citizens of New York City,” said Ralph Balzano, Commissioner of DoITT. “It is this agency’s goal to simplify the bureaucratic process and to implement advanced technology solutions throughout the City’s boroughs. MetroNet is helping us realize this goal.”

Paul Kennedy, President of North Communications, said, "The benefits of new technology should be available to everyone; we see CityAccess as the start of the People’s Internet in New York. Under the hood, this is a very sophisticated electronic commerce program, but to the person on the street it looks simple and inviting, like a TV that you touch. Most important, it makes sound business sense: the City gets the information it needs to update its computers from the person at the kiosk, which greatly reduces administrative and paper-handling costs. Taxes, fines and fees are more easily paid, and instantly collected, all electronically. We will continue to extend this service to New Yorkers, and are delighted about our productive partnership with the City."

In addition to the five core City agencies, MetroNet is providing information about elected officials, City Hall, public libraries, and getting around the city. Soon, advertising opportunities will be available on the 25 touchscreens, which currently attract thousands of people a day and are located in high-traffic areas like Penn Station, the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Queens Center Mall, public libraries, check cashing centers and grocery stores.

MetroNet’s other projects include a partnership with Adshel Inc., which recently bid on the New York City Department of Transportation’s street furniture franchise.

MetroNet was founded in 1992 by North Communications, to bring touchscreen kiosk networks to New York. North Communications has deployed highly successful touchscreen networks in California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Utah, Washington, Australia, Singapore, Canada, and for the Social Security Administration. The company holds a contract to supply kiosks to the United States Postal Service, and leads in kiosk applications developed for government, retail and banking; together with Microsoft, it recently introduced NetGain, a program that facilitates touchscreen interaction with the Web. An affiliate of Metromedia Company, controlled by John Kluge, is the majority shareholder of North Communications. The North Communications site on the Web provides more detail, at http://www.infonorth.com; kiosk hardware, model and configuration information is available at http://www.kioskstore.com.

For more information,
contact:
Adam Parker, MetroNet
Communications, Inc.
(212) 599-1030;
aparker@infonorth.com
110 East 42nd Street, Suite
1409
New York, NY 10017
‘NetGain’ and ‘The
People’s Internet’ are
trademarks or servicemarks
of
North Communications, Inc.

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Michael
North
mjnorth@ix.netcom.com   
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