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Next Generation Pay Phone

Tech03

Many localities have seen pay phones virtually disappear. As most of us now carry around a cellphone, the need for pay phones has diminished. Like many telecommunications products, pay phones are too now evolving and we may be seeing the future of them on display in New York.

New York City is readying a pilot program that will see some 12,800 outdoor public pay phones replaced with Internet-connected 32-inch touch-screen tablet booths. Installing the tablet booths won’t cost the city anything; City24x7, which will install and maintain the smart tablet booths, expects to earn a return from local advertising revenue, according to a New York Post report cited in a CNET blog post.

Installations are expected to start next month. The smart tablet booths may even wind up adding to New York City’s treasury, as City24x7, which is franchising the technology, is offering to give the city a 36% share of the ad revenue. New York City earns about $18 million-a-year from pay phones, according to NYC spokeswoman who spoke to the NY Post.

The touchscreen smart tablet booths will be free to the public, though their features will initially be limited. Users will be able to access information on local restaurants, nearby stores, tourist attractions and traffic updates, according to CNET. Access to the city’s 311 complaint and information line and safety alerts will also be provided. Information will be accessible in multiple languages.

Next generation pay phone

Source: City24x7/Screenshot by CNET

Access to Skype for VoIP calls and email access will be added to the smart tablet booths’, or kiosks, , and they will also serve as Wi-Fi hotspots.

Addressing health concerns, City24x7 says the touch screens “will be even more sanitary than an ATM.” They are dust-proof and waterproof.

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