The gap between the digital and physical worlds has gotten a lot smaller, thanks to the work of N.Y.-based technology design firm Control Group. Under the leadership of COO Colin O’Donnell (left) and CTO Toby Boudreaux, the company recently conceived an impressive way to upcycle old payphones. Answering a challenge from New York City to reinvent the obsolete call centers, Control Group re-envisioned them as sensor and touch-screen-equipped data hubs whereby city dwellers can do everything from pay a parking fee to locate a local eatery.
The firm also is now helping to alleviate commuter confusion in N.Y. and created the city’s new interactive wayfinding kiosks that provide travelers with real-time information and alerts while giving the MTA a new, interactive platform for developing new ad revenue models. But the company’s innovation, said Mr. Boudreaux, is not necessarily in invention. “Instead, we’re innovating by finding new uses and architectures for existing technologies,” he said. “The real fun is in applying technology, rather than creating a whole new science.”