Few observers will be surprised to learn the much-touted NYC smart city rollout of screens replacing payphone boxes is not going as well as envisioned.
I don’t get to New York that often, but when I do, I see lotsa black and blue screens dotting the sidewalks. I hear the same from people who live and work there.
Now there is word, via the New York Daily News, that the consortium that did the deal to put in as many as 7,500 units around the five boroughs has been granted more time to get that done – as in two more years – and more time, as well, to provide revenue from the screens to the city.
“Adjustments in deals between private companies making use of public space happen — but why did these changes have to be rushed?” the paper asks in an editorial today. “The de Blasio administration gave notice of the Franchise and Concession Review Committee meeting the day before the Memorial Day weekend. A vote was scheduled for the next business day, Tuesday.”
Outages aside, the interactive stations have had to be re-thought because the touchscreens were being used by some people to stream naughty videos. So they were disabled.
Digital street furniture is now common in many big cities, so digital posters popping up here, there and everywhere is just a fact of modern advertising life, and reflects a need for cities to find as many ways as possible to generate revenue that isn’t from tax increases.
The issue I have is how these digital posters are being positioned as smart city technologies that are all about the future!!!
They’re not. They’re digital posters with some other stuff bolted on, that could as easily or more cheaply be bolted on to the top of a bus shelter or up a little bit on a light pole.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.