How communities stayed connected

An unprecedented breakthrough. A ground-breaking leap in communications. A technological development that changed the way people lived their everyday lives. Long before the internet and mobile phones radically transformed the way we connect, socialise and work, the public phone box brought a communications revolution to our streets.

Officially known as kiosks, the first standardised phone boxes arrived in London in 1920. The beloved red telephone box – voted the greatest British design of all time in a 2015 poll – first appeared in 1924, but it didn’t spread across the country until it was decided that every town or village with a Post Office would get a phone box as part of the celebrations for King George V’s silver jubilee in 1935.

Throughout much of the middle part of the 20th-century phone boxes provided lifelines for families and communities where phones inside people’s homes and businesses were still a rarity. In 1999, even when landline phones were commonplace and mobiles were becoming popular, there was still a network of over 140,000 public phones across the UK helping keep everyone connected while they were away from home.

Holding onto a valued focal point

Over the last two decades, demand for traditional public phones has understandably dipped, side-lined by the meteoric rise of mobiles. Many iconic red phone boxes that haven’t been snapped up by nostalgic collectors have been adopted by their communities and repurposed.

Some have been converted into mini-libraries, museums, art galleries or coffee kiosks. One even claims to be the world’s tiniest nightclub. So, it would seem that although their original use has become virtually obsolete, the value that phone kiosks represent around connection, creativity and community remains woven into their story.

Key role for kiosks going forward

If the pandemic and its fallout have taught us anything, it’s that community still matters. Enforced isolation has shown us just how much we really do need the touchpoints in our neighbourhoods that we know we can rely on no matter what.

Even if there’s a mobile phone in your pocket, what happens if the battery dies when you need to send an urgent message? Or if your data allowance hits zero just as you need to get a vital download? There will always be situations when people are out and about that call for more help than personal devices alone can give and that’s where Amscreen’s kiosks come in – the modern evolution of the classic red phone box.

Alternatively, there are thousands of phone booths throughout Europe that are currently unused, run-down or outdated that could provide valuable benefits to local communities by undergoing an Amscreen transformation. Often, councils are legally required to keep these kiosks in the ground, but they aren’t earning revenue, which can be easily rectified by working with us.

Smart kiosks for smart cities

Just as phone boxes opened up new possibilities when they arrived in communities in the 1920s, our smart kiosks are a valuable part of the ecosystem needed to ensure sustainable cities far into the future both here in the UK and throughout Europe.

Alongside a 75” advertising screen, touchscreen wayfinder, phone, and public wifi, each unit can bring even more value with bespoke modular accessories. From practical additions like small cells, charging points, hand sanitiser dispensers and defibrillator pods to environmental sensors that record traffic, pollution, pollen and noise levels – here’s a focal point that really earns its space in the heart of the community.

To find out more about how Amscreen’s bespoke kiosks are rolling out smart solutions across Europe, get in touch.