New York City’s dilapidated phone booths are getting a high-tech makeover. Hundreds of phone booths will soon be outfitted with iPad-like touchscreen devices for directions and hyper-local news.
New Yorkers will see 32-inch smart screens in neighborhood phone booths starting next month, as part of a Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications-sanctioned pilot program.
If this public project is well-liked, more of the city’s 12,800 free-standing phones will morph into Internet-enabled data stations. Future kiosks may become Wi-Fi hotspots with email and Skype capabilities.
“While any final determinations are still some time off, we’ll soon begin seeking public input about what New Yorkers would like to see the payphone of the future entail, and we view the City 24×7 pilot program as an innovative, engaging way to help inform those efforts,” said Nicholas Sbordone, DoITT director of external affairs.
For now, the directories will show information about local eateries, area shopping, traffic alerts, directions and safety alerts. And, no quarters are needed. These touchscreen devices will be free to use, throughout the five boroughs.
Locals may also use the smart screens to report a problem to “311.” People will be able to read the screens in more than 10 languages.
NYC has signed on City24x7 a mobile communications company that works with tech-savvy cities around the world. City 24×7 says the project will bring an “up-to-the-minute public communication system” to NYC.
The outdoor devices will be waterproof and dust-proof to allow for regular hose downs.
City24x7 will be responsible of the maintenance and repair of the screens. The pilot program will cost the city nothing, according to Sbordone. In the future, the program will display ads, covering the installation and upkeep of the touchscreen directories. The city will also post reminder ads about tax refunds, bike sharing services and park events.
Posted in: Misc.– April 10, 2012