New York City replaces 250 public pay phones with iPad-like screens

Gigaom

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the humble phone booth took on renewed importance as cut-off New Yorkers used pay phones to connect with each other in an emergency. Now, this quaint but reliable form of public technology is getting a major facelift.

Starting today, New York City is officially launching a plan to transform pay phones into giant touch screens that provide city information, emergency broadcasts and local business deals. Located in the same locations as existing phone booths, the new platforms look like this:

The platforms are run as a partnership between New York City and two companies, Cisco(s csco) and City 24/7. The smart screens were tested in a pilot project for a while but now they are officially live across the city, including at 12th & Broadway and 3rd Ave & 10th street. Soon, there will be 250 of the newfangled devices in all five city…

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