Solar-powered ‘smart benches’ re-energise London’s public spaces

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Solar-powered 'smart benches' re-energise London’s public spaces

Workers and visitors to London’s Canary Wharf will be the world’s first to enjoy the benefits of a new kind of smart street furniture designed to relieve some of modern life’s daily frustrations and make our cities ‘smarter’.

Four interactive solar-powered benches by smart city innovator Strawberry energy, combining somewhere pleasant to sit with phone charging points ‘on the go’ and local information, will premiere in London, Canary Wharf, late summer 2015.

These smart benches were developed during real estate company’s Cognicity Challenge, which was set up to identify smart cities start-up businesses from around the world, and pilot their technologies on the estate.

Strawberry energy was given a special award and has been selected by Group to implement its new technology, an addition to its solar street furniture portfolio.

“We developed the Strawberry Bench as part of a modern smart city that cares for its residents, commuters and visitors. It enhances people’s experience in public spaces and motivates them to enjoy hands-on experience of renewable energy,’ said Milos Milisavljevic, founder and CEO of Strawberry energy.

“Strawberry Benches will help to make London a smart city for smart people.”

As well as free mobile phone charging via a range of connectors, strikingly sculpted Strawberry energy’s solar-powered smart benches will provide multiple services such as relevant local information, air quality levels, and an emergency call button.

By offering a place for a lunchtime break or a rest from shopping, a Strawberry Bench will encourage people to sit and socialise while charging their batteries – in more than one sense.

“London will be the first city to use these smart benches. Success here will be a springboard to roll out solar energy units across cities and business zones in Britain, Europe and the Middle East, where innovative technology is being used to build more sustainable, smart urban spaces that support people’s diverse needs,’ said Milos Milisavljevic.

“Our everyday needs are changing at an incredible rate to keep up with advances in technology. We are experiencing the mobile revolution, but public spaces have remained largely unaltered and our not meeting our daily needs. We intend to change that by developing better street furniture that will make life easier.”

Camille Waxer, Chief Administrative Officer of Canary Wharf Group said: “We were introduced to Strawberry Energy through their involvement with the Cognicity Challenge.  They pitched an impressive concept of a sustainable, yet functional bench that uses solar energy to power mobile devices.  Their innovative design has led us to install four of these benches across the Canary Wharf Estate and we’re pretty excited to see the interaction and look forward to working with Strawberry Energy.”

Stephen Andrews, Project Design Executive for Canary Wharf, was sufficiently impressed by how the team from Strawberry energy shaped their smart city technology to suit the needs of the East London business and retail space that he backed the purchase of four smart benches, to be distributed strategically around Canary Wharf.

“This is not just about technology nor is it just a product,” said Stephen Andrews. “Strawberry energy was very receptive to the idea of modifying their technological solution to suit our particular needs and presented us with a number of variations on the theme. In my view it will be an interesting and ultimately very flexible piece of street furniture that provides a service to the tech mobile consumers of today. Solar powered connectivity and amenity in a Smart City environment – what’s not to like.”

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