A ‘smart’ bench that allows people to charge their phones and use the internet could be seen across London following a pilot project later this summer.
Public space technology firm Strawberry Energy is to premier the product in Canary Wharf in September and is talking to other interested parties across the capital.
Strawberry Benches use solar panels to generate electricity to charge mobile devices via cables, wireless pads and USB plugs. They can also include wifi hubs, although these won’t be necessary at Canary Wharf, which has its own internet coverage.
An app produced by the same company as the benches will allow people to browse local information from air quality data to shopping discounts.
Strawberry Energy chief executive Milos Milisavljevic said the benches were generating plenty of interest.
“We see a huge amount of innovation going into home and car connectivity but people seem to miss the opportunity to bring the internet of things and other technology into public spaces,” he said.
“There are 10,000 benches in London and they are not hugely useful at the moment. We are talking to a range of owners of public spaces about smart benches. We hope to roll them out after the trial at Canary Wharf.”
Milisavljevic said the bench was developed to be part of a smart city.
“It enhances people’s experience in public spaces and motivates them to enjoy hands-on experience of renewable energy,’ he said. “Strawberry Benches will help to make London a smart city for smart people.”
The product was developed during the Cognicity Challenge, which was set up by Canary Wharf Group 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 now been selected to pilot the smart benches.