March 6th, 2013

Reinvent Payphones Winner: Beacon - Best Visual Design



Gently rising out of the sidewalk and topping out at nearly 12 feet, BEACON is a slender concrete and stainless steel structure enclosing a stack of indestructible LED matrix screens, similar to those found on Times Square billboards.

The upper screens function as digital signage, creating an ad-supported revenue stream that allows Beacon to provide its other functions free of charge. These screens also adapt to public events throughout our city, from NYC marathon mileage markers to themed banners, celebrating with the city during its many parades.

The lower screens are dedicated to New York City¹s local street life and communities, with hyper local advertising, community message boards, and of course, the telephone functionality. Controlled by your voice and gestures, Beacon is touch-free and hygienic, and is highly accessible. It uses directional microphones and noise canceling speakers to create the right acoustic environment for making phone calls, and an array of sensors to track gestures. Fire, Police, and Taxi are physical buttons, always at the ready to signal our needs direct to the city and via the colored light crown.

Beacon is also there for us in times of emergency, such as when we experienced Superstorm Sandy. The upper digital signage and the light crown on top give us clear instructions on how to respond during these events. Beacon becomes an information kiosk during times of emergency, providing updates on critical services, evacuation instructions, and directions to local shelters in multiple languages. Beacon¹s solar cells trickle charge an integrated battery, creating an uninterruptible power supply to update the information on a regular and consistent basis, even during a blackout.

Beacon is New York City¹s next generation open communications platform, connecting the city and its services with our communities, businesses, residents, and visitors. Beacon makes New York City more accessible, safer, healthier, greener, and better informed in our best of times and our most challenging.

Beacon was designed to connect New York City with New Yorkers, businesses and visitors. Beacon takes everything chaotic, colorful & loud about New York City and connects it back to us in an intelligent, purposeful & familiar way.


  1. dare-to-push-yourself reblogged this from nycdigital
  2. angelab1022 reblogged this from nycdigital
  3. alf-eet-a-zen reblogged this from nycdigital
  4. barico8a reblogged this from nycdigital
  5. nyctrends reblogged this from nycdigital
  6. diplomatic-internet reblogged this from nycdigital
  7. absolution5558 reblogged this from nycdigital
  8. sanssocks reblogged this from nycdigital
  9. unthinkingly reblogged this from nycdigital and added:
    Sure the LED screen is unbreakable, but is this really a valuable and durable design? — Chris
  10. robinsblog reblogged this from nycdigital
  11. ceruleangalaxy reblogged this from headlessbutnotheartless
  12. naaivee reblogged this from nycdigital
  13. blamedenzel reblogged this from nycdigital
  14. interfaceaddict reblogged this from emergentfutures
  15. teekeeteekeetembo reblogged this from nycdigital
  16. nukilan reblogged this from nycdigital
  17. connoririshwright reblogged this from emergentfutures
  18. johnnyvonpop reblogged this from nycdigital
  19. headlessbutnotheartless reblogged this from nycdigital
Loading tweets...


Technology in the Public Service, from the City of New York. Learn more about NYC Digital and follow the City of New York on Tumblr.