New York Daily Photo Analytics

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ready or Not

Ready or not, here I come. The popular chant of children playing hide and seek could perhaps be the official slogan of some technologies which were begging to be made but were a failed concept, such as Motorola's Iridium Satellite phone, a debacle costing them billions.
A myriad of other reasons have been responsible for the failure of products and/or services which seemed like a great idea. Wrong time, wrong place, not enough support services, not enough content, not scalable, not monetizable, too expensive or other competing technologies. Betamax, Apple Newton, Qube, ebook readers, Urbanfetch and other dot com failures.
I don't wish them ill, but the Internet phone (on the streets here since 2002) which I saw recently on West Broadway in SoHo seems like something that for many would only be useful in an absolutely desperate situation. Of course, that does not doom them to failure. Many a business model has been built around urgent needs. However, handheld Internet-capable devices are ubiquitous and may have the impact on this technology that cell phones have had on regular payphones themselves.
The Internet phone, the Neptune 800 web phone, was developed by Marconi Corp. a London based company (now owned by Ericsson). Initially, over 100 phones were installed city wide for the NYC payphone company, TCC Teleplex, headed by Dennis Novick. Starting in 2002, British Telecom had very ambitious plans to roll out tens of thousands of these internet phone kiosks in the UK.
As I have written before, anything on the streets of New York City will be subjected to wartime conditions - various combinations of vandalism, abuse and misuse. The Neptune phone has a die-cast aluminum chassis, 10 millimeter toughened-glass touchscreen, armored cash box and a metallic, sealed keyboard to withstand vandalism and tolerate adverse weather conditions and humidity. It has a trackball and colour touch-sensitive screen.
Services include email, video email, picture postcards, high-speed web browsing or local information. Hot buttons give access to news, sports, shopping, games, weather forecasts, local maps and information about shops and restaurants.
Ready or not for wide adoption, it has come ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting story!