Public Utility Challenge - Innovate PayPhones

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Public Utility Challenge – Innovate PayPhones

May 26, 2016

Celebrating an opportunity for entrepreneurship and invention; Public Utility Challenge is launching the Innovate PayPhones challenge to reinvent the traditional street payphone. Making cities more accessible, healthier, and safer while enhancing user experience for residents and visitors alike.


What is the Problem?
Once imperative street furnishings of cities around the world, the payphone has gone from a necessary public utility to a languishing archaic public feature, whose purpose, utility and value has been called into question over the past several decades.

But Did You Know?
The archaic payphone has been the primary means of communication in times of severe crisis and emergency (such as Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina) providing invaluable utility to all that need it. They are a public good, providing unlimited communication to people regardless of income and background, while serving as a key asset to a cities and their visitors in the forms of advertising, information and connectivity. This got us thinking.

The Solution is Simple…
With the payphones vital emergency communication utility, coupled with their occupation of valuable real-estate in high pedestrian concentrations such as parks, airports, and relevant residential and commercial areas; we believe there is life in the payphone yet. In order to become relevant again the payphone needs to reinvent its traditional telephonic functions by interacting with its residents, visitors and businesses while making cities more accessible, healthier, and safer.

We Want You!
We are looking for innovative minds. Students, design, technology, and architecture professionals, along with anyone who is interested to develop an effective solution to the Innovate PayPhones challenge. We are looking to leverage smart city technologies, and a rich and dynamic urban environment, with an attractive and effective design. The end goal being to implement your Innovative PayPhones on committed city streets around the world. Together we will embellish the payphone as a commodity of the future, not the past.


May 26, 2016
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