There are many who consider payphones obsolete. They’re still everywhere, of course, but does anyone even really use them these days? Apart from being featured in poignant, dramatic scenes of different TV shows and movies where a character needs to make a call, no one really has use of payphones now.
Nearly everyone owns a mobile device, and it’s almost always a smartphone, capable of multiple forms of communication: cellular calls, VoIP service, emails, instant messaging, and even online fax in certain applications. There is very little need for payphones, unless you perhaps somehow lost your smartphone on the way home and needed to make a call.
In New York City, however, a new project proposal aims to make payphones a whole lot more relevant in the technological age.
Revitalizing New York Payphones
Payphones are littered all around New York’s boroughs, many of which are abandoned, decrepit and hardly ever used. Some of them are being proposed to be taken down in favor of putting up ads or billboards in their places. But through an amazing Reinvent Payphones competition that had been held in NYC, Mayor Mike Bloomberg seems to have found what could be the most promising suggestion to revitalize New York’s payphones yet.
Coming from the architecture firm of Sage and Coombe, “NYfi” had been given the best connectivity award and the citizens of the Big Apple have labeled it as their favorite design.
The plan that Sage and Coombe had prepared was first conceived when they saw that numerous companies wanted to use the payphone spots as ads. They were conveniently placed in thoroughfares, perfectly eye level, and often unobstructed, therefore are perfect for ad placements. But when New York had first conceptualized adding Wi-Fi antennae for the payphones, the firm decided to take it all the way.
According to the plans, the payphones would remain as payphones with certain additions that will make them amazingly useful in today’s tech era:
- NYfi booths not only would be able to connect calls, but it can also provide internet access via Wi-Fi. The payhone would have a display screen, speaker, mic, camera, and would accept payments of cash and credit card. It could even accept the metrocard.
- ike a “card vending machine”, Metrocard can also be dispensed by the payphone following a payment. It will also be able to dispense bus tickets, printing them out right at the booth.
- Lit by an LED lantern, the payphone would be very visible, especially at night. Specially located payphones near subway stations would have glowing LED lights that would point out the station’s entrance and when the next train will arrive, alerting would be passengers whether to chill or run like crazy to catch the next train.
- It will also function as an assistance kiosk, with an emergency button, speaker, mic and camera. This will be extremely useful to New Yorkers in dire need of medical or police assistance in case of emergencies. And if one has lost his smartphone, this will still allow them to get help.
All this and more are the proposed plans for New York’s payphone in all boroughs. If implemented and it succeeds, without a doubt it could transform the way payphones are seen and used all over the United States.