IF YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING SMART CITY TREND, YOU KNOW THE IDEA ITSELF IS PRETTY VAGUE. TOPICS ARE RANGING FROM WASTE MANAGEMENT AND POWER USAGE ON ONE HAND TO MOBILITY AND SMART FACTORIES ON THE OTHER.
It can be a truly confusing subject at first, but if we cut through all the clutter it is all about new ways of making cities/communities more efficient. With the dawn of IOT, of course most of solutions are based on IT technology, managing big data and processes.
So how do we public digital sign manufacturers and system integrators fit the image!? One of the elements of smart cities are also public communication infrastructure products. And this is the part where Infinitus as a supplier and you as VAR integrator can help existing cities and new community developments. Beside simple interactive public info terminals, we are thinking of multi-purpose public totems offering wide range of services with help of integrated technologies.
Beside receiving basic information such as time, weather, air quality and info on demand, users will be able to access community services, do payments, utilize Wi-Fi hot spots, recharge devices, call emergency, and much more. This multipurpose urban furniture infrastructure can appear as well designed digital signage totems, modern bus shelters and as modern telephone booths.
Why telephone booths!?
When have you noticed a telephone booth last time!? How did they appear!? When did you noticed somebody using them!? Old telephone booths are a part of existing telecom infrastructure and as such, cannot be simply removed. Even though telephone communication is essential part of urban communities, old payphones are pretty much obsolete and their value is currently minimal. Public phone access was essential in the past, and in a way, it still is. After all, not everybody can afford a mobile phone, and phone batteries are not the most reliable thing. So, let’s not discard this possibility and let’s use the locations, which usually have high value in terms of footfall. As there is basically power and telecom infrastructure already set, it makes it relatively low cost/high value to create a network of such devices. City management would be basically crazy not to see interest in replacing obsolete eyesore structure with multi-functional modern devices, that can even in most interesting areas bring additional revenues due to advertising generation. Even advertising itself can be more interesting to viewers and can be mixed with useful educational promo messages. A lot of happy stakeholders.
Another crucial point is that these locations are usually very good in high passerby frequency areas and have already power and telecom connections. By offering to municipality NEW telephone service, augmented by number of possible add-on functionalities, it makes it a very interesting prospect to cities.
What could be in there!?
In general, there will be two general types of modern telephone/ payphone booths. One with basic call functionalities and add-ons, and ones with big advertising LCD panels integrated. As not all locations are commercially viable, it would be unfeasible (actually crazy/stupid) to install advertising-based equipment in all places. Advertising model will allow municipalities to finance investment with advertising or to find DOOH media network owner ready to invest. BUT advertising does not have to be “the only” way of commercializing network. Calls can still be charged, government services can be purchased there too, local services can be promoted trough interactive GUI even Wi-Fi hot spot can be charged. Bottom line, there is a lot of alternatives how to use locations of existing payphones, and multi-functional digital replacements will be part of our tomorrow, trough diligent work on pilot projects such as LinkNYC, replacement for obsolete payphones. A project that among other tells us that large deployments are possible, that many stakeholders can be satisfied and that not all cities are the same. This means that smart city public communication infrastructure projects will never be complete copy/paste and will have to be adapted. Not all cities have such an issue with population internet connectivity as New York did have.
Our recent modern telephone booth solution, that will also present a pilot project, with its basic functionalities already presents nice range of services any urban public area could use:
- 18,5 or 32” Interactive touch screen – Can be used for wayfinding, general town info, transport info, local business promotion, general information and of course internet client calls.
- 75″ or 85″ DOOH advertising LCD panel – Could be used to comercialize location and help paying for technology. NOT ALL locations should be considered interestign for such add-on and we suggest to offer cities DOOH based and other functionality based digital signs.
- Telephone handset – Could replace actual payphone technology or can operate via VoIP.
- Noise cancelling microphone, plug & speakers – calls can be handled hands-free via speakers or headphones.
- USB/Wireless chargers – Can be used for quick smart phone recharge.
Some pretty interesting additional functionalities makes unit even more useful.
- Credit card reader – Enable payment of services with credit cards which makes every unit a municipal store.
- Wi-Fi hot spot – Integrators can choose between more and less power full options and can set up the access to be either free of charge or payable.
- Emergency call – Feature can be integrated also as HW option.
- Internet client calls – It can be beneficial to offer to users access to skype or WhatsApp calls.
As these are multifunctional IOT devices located in urban areas there are more features that will be part of such systems
AED defibrillator – Trend is still continuing, with sudden cardiac arrest killing most people in the world and with AED defibrillators every unit can also be a lifesaving point. In a similar way first aid packages can be part of these units.
Sensors – Beside showing important information such as pollution levels, number of particles in the air, levels of noise and even gunshot alerts,
It is simply very hard to imagine how well-done telephone booth replacement projects can present anything else to cities than SUPERIOR value and new generation of public communication devices.