Goodbye Phone Booth; Hello Smart Screen Station

April 10, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

It is high time that the public phone booths get a digital touch up to keep them compatible with the digital world we have around us now.

Keeping this in mind, authorities are starting to make hundreds of old phone booths across New York City into ‘smart screen stations’.

To check the success of the idea, NY authorities will run a pilot program for 250 phone booths. During the program, traditional phone booths will be fitted with 32 inch wide smart screens which would allow users to access the internet and get some information regarding the neighborhood.

The smart screen fitted in the phone booths will display information like the list of nearby restaurants, stores, landmark information and similar things needed for the public. It will also give updated traffic information and safety alerts.

The pilot program is expected to help assess the success of the system. According to authorities, the pilot program will help them  understand what people actually expect from future public phone booths, which will help them make changes to the features of these smart screen stations.

The smart screens in the phone booths will also help the public to file complaints and request other information about the city which is not readily available on the smart screens.

Authorities are mulling over bringing limited internet access to these boards, where users can make Skype calls, check their email and use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot. However, the search functionality will be restricted.

The screens will be designed in such a way that it can cleaned with a jet hose, keeping them cleaner than an ATM. The system which is free is expected to survive through the ad revenue. It’s time to go surfing in phone booths.

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