February 19, 2010 12:41
Paper subway maps and cut-out coupons are about to become things of the past on the Seoul Subway.
Seoul Metro has introduced a new multi-function machine called "Digital View" that offers services including top news headlines, information about popular tourist spots and stock and weather updates. It may look like an ordinary screen but it is actually an internet phone.
What sets it apart from other public phones is that commuters can dial anywhere within Korea free of charge, while a square touch-screen beside the dial acts as a notepad.
Users begin by opening a digital map of the station where they are located. Once they decide where to go, they touch the logo of the cafe or shopping mall they wish to visit and the screen pops open another window that shows how far it is and how long it takes to get there as well as general information such as the store's phone number and address.
Another special feature is the "road view." It allows users to search the exact distance from the station to their destination using a 3D road map. Unlike the previous map, this one can navigate through streets and show a 360 degree view of anywhere in Seoul.
Aside from the more basic functions, with the Digital View users can also purchase movie tickets with their public transport cards, and take snapshots of digital coupons with their cell phones to get discounts at nearby stores.
More than 900 of these machines have already been installed at over 100 subway stations around Seoul with more than 15 of those units being set up at some of the city's busiest sites.
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