Now that almost everyone seems to have a cell phone, pay phones have become something of an endangered species. One company, 24x7, hopes to change that, Livescience reports.
The company is launching a pilot program, installing touch screens in what used to be New York City phone booths. The screens will display information about the area, including local restaurants, tourist destinations and deals at local businesses in several languages. The screens will also give information on local traffic problems. The size of the devices will be 32 inches.
In the future, users will also be able to check their email and make calls on Skype (News - Alert), a throwback to the former function of the booths. The devices will also serve as WiFi (News - Alert) hotspots for people who still prefer to hang onto their own mobile devices.
“We think it's an innovative way of using existing street infrastructure,” Nicholas Sbordone, a spokesman for the city's Information Technology and Telecommunications department told Livescience.
According to the New York Post, if the pilot program goes well, they'll replace all of the city's pay phones, expecting the switch to last until 2014, since the city currently has over 12,000 outdoor payphones. The pilot program will install 250 of the screens over New York's five boroughs.
To keep the screens sanitary when touched by millions of New Yorkers, they'll be cleaned with a jet hose.
Screens will cost the city nothing to install, and will eventually be paid for with advertising revenue, of which the city will get a 36-percent cut.
Smaller 22-inch devices will be installed and trialed in the New York City subway system. Riders will be able to purchase Internet access as well as charge their mobile devices.
“[The screens] 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,” Sbordone told the Post.
Edited by Braden Becker