Who thought the Payphone was all but dead. A city backed effort to revive public phone booths dubbed Reinvent the Payphones Design Challenge, recently called upon designers to inject new life into 11,000 payphones located throughout New York City.
With the contract for these phone booths set to expire in October 2014, the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) launched a design challenge to get ideas for their replacement. Of the six finalists named, five proposed an interactive information kiosk and all envisioned the kiosks would be used for internet access, phone calls and emergency response.
The six finalists, according to the City of New York Facebook page, are:
Beacon: a communication and information hub with integrated technology (LED matrix screens, sensors, speakers, lighting and solar cells) that is controlled by the user's voice and gestures
NYC I/O: an update featuring sensors and displays that creates a foundational input/output system for an open, urban-scale computing platform
Windchimes: a distributed sensor network that provides a real-time and hyper-local record of the city’s rain levels, pollution and other environmental conditions, with the goal of empowering the city with never-before-seen data
NYC LOOP: serves as an access point to the latest technology while simultaneously supporting the public spaces that make NYC unique
Smart Sidewalks: communication, sustainability and wayfinding are squeezed into a 6-inch-wide interactive strip that folds up from the sidewalk
NYFi: an interactive portal to public information, goods and services; a hub for free wireless Internet access; and an open infrastructure for future applications
To determine a favorite approach, the city is enlisting citizens to vote for their favourite via Facebook by 15 March.
Nicholas Sbordone, Director of External Affairs for DoITT, told engadget that there isn’t exactly a winner coming from this event that will provide a final design: “The city will take the results of all the ongoing efforts including the best ideas from the Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge winner and roll them into a formal Request for Proposal to be issued later this year.”