Panama Wants To Be Latin America #SmartCities Model

Russ Curry, Ministry of New Media

JCDecaux S.A. (Euronext Paris:DEC), the number one outdoor advertising company worldwide, is working with Panama City in its move to turn itself into a ‘Smart City’ by rolling out innovative digital services.

JCDecaux has been Panama City’s bus shelter concession holder since 2002. Working in tandem with Wigo, Panama’s largest free hotspot network with more than 1.3 million unique users, JCDecaux launched free Wi-Fi service on January 16, 2017 at 50 bus shelters in the country’s capital. Users can now access the web easily and free-of-charge through a portal that also provides transit information, such as which buses serve a particular stop. It also allows them to geo-locate the next bus on a city map and receive public-service announcements from the city government.

Jean-Charles Decaux, Chairman of the Executive Board and Co-CEO of JCDecaux, said “In fitting our bus shelters out with Wi-Fi access points and small cells, and in expanding our network of digital CIPs, we have once again served notice of our determination to be one of the major players in Smart Cities and to take part in the emergence of a connected city that is ever more human, open and sustainable. Through a virtuous ecosystem, we facilitate access to information for the greater good of cities and citizens for their mobility, as well as for advertisers and their brands. The roll-out of high-quality networks has become one of the major strategic challenges of urban attractiveness and competitiveness, and we are convinced that our expertise, our know-how and our innovative capacity will position Panama as a model “Smart City” for all of Latin America.”

To fund this service and to extend it to more bus shelters, JCDecaux has chosen to explore new market opportunities, such as the sale of advertising on the Wigo connexion portal. This new connected advertising opportunity offers brands a premium audience and a perfect fit with the power of traditional networks.

With connectivity being essential to building tomorrow’s Smart Cities, JCDecaux has partnered with mobile network operators by offering them its street furniture in which to install small cells. This helps enhance coverage and performance of phone and data networks in the densest urban areas.

In mid-December 2016 JCDecaux joined with Telef√≥nica SA to install a pilot 3G small cell in a Panama City bus shelter, in order to test the device’s performance and a multi-year national framework contract has also been signed to help the operator replicate this initiative in other street furniture in Panama, where JCDecaux operates more than 550 bus shelters.

To expand its range of new innovative digital services in Panama City, JCDecaux has installed 10 digital CIPs on masts, and manages, sells and maintains them. With a broad range of connected services and interactivity options, this premium network is a huge benefit to both advertisers and the city government, which uses it for real-time public-service or emergency announcements on Panama
City’s main traffic arterial routes.

Jose Bland√≥n Figueroa, the Mayor of Panama City, said “I am very pleased to have inaugurated the free Wi-Fi provided by JCDecaux and Wigo in 50 Panama City bus shelters on 16 January. Wigo and JCDecaux are well renowned for their standards of user service. This joint initiative has been welcomed by Panamanians with open arms. It enables us to offer even more services to our citizens, allowing them to stay connected and abreast of general-interest messages from our city government. I am very proud that the capital of Panama is Latin America’s first “Smart City”, thanks to a sustainable business model and a fruitful relationship with JCDecaux, the number one outdoor advertising company worldwide and a pioneer in digital outdoor advertising.”

These developments form part of Panama City’s pioneering ambition to become Latin America’s first Smart City. JCDecaux’s vision is to facilitate the circulation of public-service announcements in real-time, in publicly accessible areas, using an enhanced wireless network and connected street furniture, all the while meeting advertisers’ needs.


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