New York City’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee (FCRC) has finalized its proposal for ad-subsidized Wi-Fi terminals, which it hopes to blanket the city with”LinkNYC”. These “phone booths of the future” is expected to replace the city’s aging payphone network.
The terminals themselves are pretty impressive. They offer:
- Free phone calls to anywhere in the U.S.
- Easy access to 311/911
- An embedded touchscreen tablet with information on the city, sites, and directions (powered by Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android OS)
- Wireless device charging stations (free chargin)
- Gigabit Wi-Fi internet (free)
The city also boasts that the terminals will create a number of construction jobs. Construction could begin as early as 2015, if voters approve of the plan at a public hearing that will be held shortly. If approved, the first terminals would be active by the end of 2015.
In the longer run, New York City hopes to cover the five burroughs with a whopping 10,000 of the stations. That would help it meet is revenue goals ad-wise, and would create 750 long term jobs (650 in support/maintenance, 100-150 in advertising and manufacturing).
New York City has partnered with Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), Control Group (an NYC startup), Titan360 (a digital advertising agency), and JMC Capital Partners subsidiary Comark Corp. Together Qualcomm, the Control Group, and Comark will look to engineer and manufacture the terminals, while Titan360 will work to get the ball roling on the ad sales side.
The project could become a billion dollar a huge waste for the city, if it is not very carefully managed.
The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) plans to deliver the specifications for free data flow between devices, regardless of the OS, device type or wireless communication technology. The new consortium, includes chipmakers Broadcom and Atmel. The consortium will rival the Qualcomm-supported AllSeen Alliance, which last week welcomed Microsoft as its 51st member, among Sharp and others. Apple and Google are also pursuing their own ways of interconnecting household devices. In June, Apple announced HomeKit, which will integrate control of devices like lights and thermostats.
Google’s Nest has also partnered with companies including Whirlpool Corp and light bulb maker LIFX to integrate their products with its thermostats and smoke detectors.
Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) has announced that from now on, they will work together, on a universal wireless charging standard.
The wireless charging industry is severely fragmented, with rival groups all vying to make their standard, the standard. In doing so, they have only served to divide the industry and thereby dissuading the manufacturers from investing in wireless charging technology. As a result, very few smartphones have wireless charging technology incorporated into their designs and even fewer tablets have the technology.
If they want to convince big-name mobile device manufacturers to commit to wireless charging, they will have to create a universal standard. In 2012, Qualcomm and Samsung paired up to consolidate their two standards and several other smaller groups joined them to form the A4WP. Now PMA has joined up with the A4WP. The last big group in wireless charging to join the fray is the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), the group responsible for Qi charging, which is found on Nokia smartphones and a few Google Nexus devices. It is unknown whether the WPC will join in on the agreement, but leaders in the field are optimistic that things will eventually change.
All the players in the industry all seem to hesitantly agree that there should be a universal wireless charging standard, it’s just getting them all to agree on one that is the problem. While consumers eagerly wait patiently