New York Replacing Phone Booths With 'Smart Screens'
April 10, 2012

New York Replacing Phone Booths With ‘Smart Screens’

According to a report by the New York Post, the Big Apple is going to be placing "smart screens" inside old phone booths over the next month.

The report said the city is planning on unveiling 32-inch "smart screens" to replace telephones throughout the five boroughs in New York.

The touch-screen display will show local neighborhood information, including lists of nearby restaurants, store sales in the area, traffic updates, landmark information and safety alerts, according to the Post.

“The goal is to pilot it and see what the response is,” Nicholas Sbordone, a spokesman for the city´s department of Information Technology & 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.”

City24x7 will be the company that will install and maintain the smart screens throughout the city.  CEO Tom Touchet said the screens will be more sanitary than an ATM because they are built to be cleaned with a jet hose and are waterproof and dust-proof.

He told the Post that the smart screens will eventually be wired to make Skype calls, log onto email accounts, and serve as Wi-Fi hotspots.

The city will not be making any money off of the technology at first, but will eventually get a 36 percent cut of all ad revenue.

The Post reported that a city spokesman said New York City earns about $18 million annually on pay phones.

It also said the city will be rolling out 22-inch computer touch-screens underground to replace pay phones.

A city spokesman told the Post that these touch screens will be equipped with cameras for video applications, as well as electrical outlets so users can charge their phones.

The New York Times said that an earlier pilot program saw smart screens installed during the past few years in places like Citi Field and the dormitories of New York University.

“It´s giving you information that´s time-of-day sensitive, geo-specific,” Touchet told the New York Times. “It´s based on whatever community you happen to be in.”