The second life of payphones

    In the CIS, public telephones have almost disappeared from the streets. You can find public telephones at train stations and other public places, but less and less. And abroad they are trying to find a new application. It seemed interesting to me to tell habrachitory about this article by Daniel Lonescu, who writes a lot about mobile devices, but he did not bypass this topic.

    Payphones seem like a relic of the past if you were born in the generation of smartphones. But it’s worth adding a few features, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot, car charger, taxi-hailing and payphones, that could easily find a place in our lives, starting in New York.


    Now in New York there are about 11,000 payphones, which is much less than 35,000 two decades ago. Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to find a new use for payphones, because most people have mobile phones, and half of them are smartphones.
    This is a very large infrastructure that spans the whole city, and the contract of the current network provider expires in 2014. Therefore, three months ago, in December, Bloomberg launched the “Reinvent Payphones initiative” project as a public source of information for the future.

    Three months after Big Apple encouraged society to share ideas on how to upgrade payphones, six finalists were announced. Ideas were rated by categories of communication, security, emergency use, creativity, functionality, and of course, visual design. There will also be another prize for popularity held by the official Facebook page of Reinvent Payphones - the vote ends on March 14, and you can also leave your vote there.

    Of course, you can root for any of the finalists and their ideas that may appear on the streets of New York. But according to the reportWNYC, all the proposed solutions for the payphone system will be used as guidelines, and we will be able to see some of the best ideas (not only finalists) in the public information point, which will be former payphones.

    Payphones in New York proved to be an important link for residents during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, when electricity was turned off and people were forced to use public telephones to contact their loved ones. During this period, the biggest problem was overloading the payphone network in free call mode, the network operator told the Wall Street magazine . As a result, payphone software during emergencies has inspired developers with several useful innovations.

    Lighthouse (Beacon)

    The lighthouse is a winner in the category "Best Visual Design". It is a sporty and slim construction made of concrete and stainless steel, nearly 12 feet high. It contains a set of LED screens, and the top of the display matrix acts as a public information digital board that can display urgent and simply public announcements throughout the city.
    During a state of emergency, the Lighthouse could become an information kiosk, displaying vital information, instructions for evacuation and reporting the addresses of shelter and assistance points.

    Bells (Windchimes)
    Bells won the Communication with the Community nomination, and looks a little less futuristic than other projects. However, this prototype includes a number of environmental rain level sensors and environmental pollution that will assist authorities and urban planners in assessing air quality in New York.

    Smart Sidewalks Smart Sidewalks
    , the winner in the “Functionality” nomination, are going to reduce the area occupied by payphones, while offering a free Wi-Fi hotspot, reporting weather information, and offering navigation maps and information for pedestrians .

    NyFi is the winner in the communication category. The idea involves an interactive public information portal with an application-like interface and a free Wi-Fi access point. In reality, NyFi offers two models - a 10-foot version for business districts and a smaller one for residential areas and historic areas. When the device is not in use, the touch screen will display advertisements and announcements.

    NYC I / O
    Winner of the Community Impact category, offers the outside of the booth to be equipped with commercial and social advertising, while inside will be available navigation information and other useful public information. Ordinary calls and taxi calls will also be available.

    NYC Loop
    Winner in the "creativity" category. The payphone is equipped with a public charger based on piezoelectric plates, which convert kinetic energy into electrical energy and charges mobile devices. Depending on the area, it may include the installation of benches, bicycle racks, a charger for electric vehicles and a place for street performers or street art (graffiti, etc).

    Daniel Lonescu

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