NYC Phone Booths to Turn into Smart Screen Stations

Some 250 phone booths will be transformed as part of a pilot program

Hundreds of pay phone booths across the city will soon be transformed into "smart screen " stations as part of a pilot program, according to the New York Post.

Next month, 250 phone booths across the five boroughs will be outfitted with 32-inch smart screens with Internet connections, the Post reports.

They'll display local neighborhood information, including lists of nearby restaurants and store sales, as well as traffic updates, landmark information and safety alerts, all in multiple languages.

The free touch-screen technology will also feature on-screen 311 icons that will allow users to file complaints or request city information.

City 24x7, the company that will install and maintain the smart screens, says they're built to be cleaned with a jet hose, and promise they'll be more sanitary than an ATM.

They're waterproof and dust-proof, adds company CEO Tom Touchet.

The smart screens will eventually be wired to make Skype calls, log onto email accounts and serve as WiFi hotspots, but they'll have protected search capabilities, the Post says.

The screens cost the city nothing and will eventually bring in revenue through advertising.

They could eventually replace all of the city's 12,800 outdoor pay phones, whose franchise contracts with the city expire in October 2014, the newspaper reports.

The city is also installing computer kiosks underground, as in subway stations, a city spokesman told the Post. Those 22-inch screens will be equipped with cameras for video applications and will have electrical outlets for charging phones.

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