First, we heard about NYC yellow cabs getting a facelift and now New York is planning on replacing its outdated, old fashioned pay phones with high tech smartphones that will be supported on ad revenue.
As part of a pilot program, 250 phone booths across the five boroughs will be outfitted next month with 32-inch smart screens. The touch screens will display local neighborhood information, including a list of nearby restaurants, store sales, traffic updates, landmark information, and safety alerts. Over time, the screens could replace all of the city’s 12,800 outdoor pay phones.
“The goal is to pilot it and see what the response is,” said Nicholas Sbordone, a spokesman for the city’s department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, told the Post. “It will help inform the city’s ongoing reassessment, with public input, of what we want or what we think the future of public pay phones will entail.”
City-dwellers and visitors will also be able to use the free smart screen stations to file complaints or request other city information. In the future, the screens will be equipped to make Skype calls, serve as Wi-Fi hotspots, and allow users to log onto their email. But users won’t be able to troll the Web — the search capabilities will be protected and controlled, according to the Post.
And good news for the germ-conscious: City24x7, the company that will install and maintain the smart screens, said they are designed to be cleaned with a jet hose, and promised they’ll be more sanitary than an ATM.
The screens will be free for the city and eventually bring in revenue through advertising. Over time, the city will get 36 percent of ad revenue, but not until after the pilot program.
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