Have you seen a payphone lately?
The other day, driving back to the office, I noticed a pay phone right on the corner of a service station. The phone was strategically located in such a way that it was easily seen and accessed from either street. It was just there, no cars around it or anyone using it. It made me think, what in the world is a pay phone doing there? I mean, I thought those things went the way of the VHS or 8 track players, 20 years ago.
I guess the obvious question here is, when was the last time you used a payphone? To which you probably would answer: “I can’t remember.” Cellphones became ubiquitous years ago and the demise of the payphone was just a matter of time, or so I thought.
Well, I’m right and I’m wrong. They are not exactly going away; they are being “replaced” by something far better: 32” touch screens with internet connection! At least this is the plan in New York City, were a pilot plans call for the replacement of 250 payphones with 32″ ad-supported touch screens, complete with Internet access for email, Wi-Fi hotspots for device use, and cameras for “Skyping.”
It’s a great idea and my only concern is leaving ostensibly expensive equipment for anyone to take; however, it is reported these things are very durable and the installation secure. We will see how that fares in certain areas of the city.
In general, I think this is a great way to phase out the old technology. Just think, there is no need to put a dirty phone to your ears anymore, just make sure you wash your hands after using the touchscreen.