The phone booth is dead, long live the digital kiosk.
There have been a number of efforts in the past by various advertisers, Yahoo, Yell in the UK (now Hibu) and others to create interactive outdoor ads or kiosks. In a 2009 post I discussed how the Official New York City Information Center was using Google Maps in a large, interactive display for tourists.
A number of years ago someone pitched me the idea of a network of digital kiosks for local search. And I suggested to Yahoo at one point years ago that bank ATM locations could also become interactive local kiosks. This was all before the iPhone and smartphones.
However digital signage and digital out of home advertising have continued to gain adoption and distribution even in the smartphone era. And now the City of New York is introducing city-wide interactive kiosks that operate much like iPads, according to a post in GigaOM.
These would be ad-supported displays that offer a range of information types from maps, events and other tourist information to health and emergency services. Apparently the displays are quite rugged and vandalism proof.
New York will reportedly get a cut of the ad revenue but it’s not clear to me who will be repping/selling the network. While the utility of these kioks is unmistakable will people with smartphones use them or will they only be used by the non-smartphone crowd?
Finally, how might they interact with smartphones? Will there be QR codes or NFC (eventually)? It will be interesting to see. Regardless I think the development is extremely interesting and probably will be duplicated by other cities in the US and abroad.