Smart benches in Canary Wharf soak up the sun and recharge your batteries
- Credit: CW Grp
Workers and shoppers in East London’s Canary Wharf business district will be the first in the world to use new “smart city” street benches where they can recharge their mobile phones free and get local information.
Four interactive solar-powered benches are being installed in late summer by Strawberry Energy technology innovation company, combining somewhere to rest while recharging—in more ways than one.
The benches give local information on air-quality and have an emergency call button, as well as provide phone charging with a range of connectors.
“We are experiencing a mobile revolution,” Strawberry Energy founder Milos Milisavljevic said. “But public spaces have remained largely unaltered and are not meeting our daily needs.
“We intend changing that by developing better street furniture to keep up with advances in technology.”
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The benches were developed during Canary Wharf Group’s recent Cognicity Challenge international competition to find ‘smart city’ start-up businesses to pilot new technologies to improve urban life.
East London will be the first location in the world to use the smart benches, as a springboard to roll out solar energy benches across Britain, Europe and the Middle East.
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Canary Wharf Group’s Camille Waxer said: “Strawberry Energy pitched an impressive concept of a sustainable, yet functional bench that uses solar energy to power mobile devices. Their innovation has led us to install four benches at Canary Wharf.”
Strawberry Energy’s network of public solar charging and WiFi stations, called Strawberry Trees, has reached 400,000 users so far. Strawberry Energy was the finalist in the 2013 World Technology awards, while Strawberry Tree was named “one of top 10 urban innovations that work” at last year’s New Cities Summit held in Dallas, Texas.