As the 10-year anniversary of the opening of the World War II Memorial approaches this weekend, the monument and the American Battle Monuments Commission have another milestone to add to the celebration – the first monument on the National Mall to go wireless.
Spearheaded by the American Battle Monuments Commission, the National Park Service and INADEV Corp., the monument will be the first to offer wireless Internet to support a mobile app being developed for the memorial. In addition, four state-of-the-art information kiosks were installed at the monument’s visitors center, located on the Pacific side of the monument.
“What INADEV, partnering with American Battle Monuments Commission and National Park Service, wanted to do was to extend a lot of the assets and the great memories we have about the monument to the kiosks, as well as to smartphones and tablet devices that users are accustomed to using today,” said Jitesh Sachdev, chief operating officer of the INADEV.
INADEV, a provider of custom enterprise mobile and technology solutions, designed and installed the kiosks in just three months to have them ready for this Memorial Day.
The kiosks are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 508 compliant for disability access; they are also accessible in both English and Spanish.
“These are high-quality and highly-user-experience-centric to allow for users such as kindergartners, eighth graders and grandchildren, and in fact, veterans to come in and learn a lot about the memorial, the monument, the facts and of course, find their relatives who served in the war,” Sachdev said.
The People Finder, one of the four options for users on the kiosk, will be the most important thing memorial visitors will use, Sachdev said. One can search using first and last name, hometown or branch of service. None of the search options are mandatory, though, so a user would only need to fill out one to start pulling in results from a database of approximately 16 million records.
The database that powers the kiosk is physically located in the building behind the kiosk and is remotely monitored, configured and updated in real time through a local network.
“This ensures that if the Internet is down, the kiosk will never go down,” Sachdev said. “You always have access, and [the records] are highly reliable and highly scalable.”
In addition to People Finder, a user can examine memorial facts and look at photos and stories acquired from the National Archives and the front lines during WWII.
“We wanted to highlight not just people who were at the battle lines, but also the supporting crew that was supporting the war front at the home front,” Sachdev said. “By clicking on each of the big buttons, you get information about specifics and the stories highlighting their activities during the war.”
The Wi-Fi network and kiosks will officially debut Saturday as a part of the memorial’s 10th anniversary celebration, but both are available to use now.
“There’s a lot of great content, great images that have been acquired from the National Archives,” Sachdev said. “We have stories about the visionaries, the memorial, the artifacts, the construction, the wreaths and stars.”