Reinvent Payphones

Reinvent Payphones Winner: NYC I/O: The Responsive City – Best in Community Impact

Control Group and Titan partnered to create NYC I/O— the transformation of the corner payphone into a digital node that will usher in a new era of The Responsive City. By updating the payphone with a modern array of sensors and displays to create a foundational input/output system for an open, urban-scale computing platform, we can allow New York City to respond to and serve the people. Through open access to real time data and a distribution platform for community, civic, arts and comercial apps and messaging, we can create a safer, more efficient, and more enjoyable city.

NYC manages a telecommunications network of 11,412 public pay payphones throughout the five boroughs. Payphone use has decreased with mobile device adoption, but payphones still serve the communications needs of thousands of New Yorkers a day, especially in times of emergency. The City asked the tech and design community to reinvent New York City payphones to make our city more accessible, safer, healthier, and better informed.

  • Create a full data network by using existing payphone infrastructure.
  • Make each payphone a primary input/output tool for interactive communication between the city and citizens
  • Make the software and hardware open and flexible to evolve over time to accomodate changes in technologies over time


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