New York City turns old pay phones into modern touch terminals

first_imgNew York City’s pay phones got a brief moment in the spotlight when during Hurricane Sandy thousands of people relied on them for communication. Even so, given the popularity of mobile phones, the pay phone are a pointless use of a vastly connected infrastructure. What should become of these old, nearly useless relics, considering that they will generate revenue and they occupy some very valuable real estate? The city is turning them into stationery tablets.City engineers have begun rolling out an ambitious plan to transform hundreds of old-fashioned phone booths into modern touchscreen displays that provide tourists with local information and sponsored advertisements, as well as emergency alerts that can be pushed through to the machines at a moment’s notice.When you think about it, yes, pay phones are antiques, but they do actually share a pretty vast communication network and they require no additional electrical power. So New York City, along with Cisco and a company called City 24/7 decided to take that existing infrastructure and turn it into something fit for the 21st century.Already, there are a few screens installed around Manhattan, and there are plans to install around two more every day, on average, until the total reaches 250. And they won’t just be in Manhattan but also in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island. They will become profitable for the city because of paid advertisements that appear on the displays, but they will also be invaluable resources, providing real-time news, weather, and more. Cisco’s part comes in with some of the technology infrastructure but also by helping to automate the display of information when there is an emergency, a street closure, or something else along those lines.This is truly a step toward building a city of the future — much more so than the UK’s move to turn its pay phones into WiFi hot spots. If you’re worried about the pay phones, though, don’t worry just yet. New York City still has more than 12,000 of them on the streets.via GigaOMlast_img read more