By Anders Lorenzen
Islington, a central-London borough, has become one of the first in the UK capital to trial an innovative smart bench. Not only would it allow you to charge your mobile phone on the go, entirely through solar power, it also records critical air quality data to deal with the capitals growing air pollution problem.
This will undoubtedly delight London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has led the war on air pollution in the capital, rolling through policies to clean up London’s air.
An asset for charities
The tech device is also equipped with another feature, a simple charity donation function. In this case, the developer Strawberry Energy UK, have teamed up with Islington Council and Cancer Research UK, very fitting some might say as we talk of air pollution. So while you charge your phone you can swipe your credit or debit card and a donation to the charity worth £2 will have been processed.
Free solar powered electricity and WiFi
The 90Watt device, which also provides free WiFi access, supplies you with two USB ports and charging cables. If your phone has a wireless charging function it can do that too. The smart functions of the device don’t stop at measuring air quality either, but also records the temperature, humidity, air pressure and local noise levels. Sensors built into the smart benches monitor the environmental data in real-time, which users can check via the Strawberry Energy smartphone app. The app not only provides a valuable lifestyle tool for the community but also feeds important data to local boroughs. It is 100% powered by solar power and it’s inbuilt battery stores the excess solar power generated on sunny days, so it can be used on more cloudy and rainy days.
Bringing people together
Strawberry Energy UK hopes the smart bench will further help to move London towards being a smart city. CEO and founder, Miloš Milisavljević, commented “we have been working with London boroughs to breathe life into our dream of a network of solar-powered Smart Benches, making energy free for all Londoners. Our charging stations bring people together, motivate them to spend more time outdoors, and enhance their enjoyment of the environment with information such as pollution sensors.” While Islington Councillor Claudia Webbe, who is Islington Council’s executive member for environment and transport, said: “we are committed to making Islington a place where everyone can enjoy an excellent quality of life. These pioneering Smart Benches offer the best advances in smart technology and we are very pleased Islington is one of the first places in London to trial Smart Benches, and look forward to seeing how they benefit residents, workers and visitors alike.”
Outside the borders of Islington
Strawberry Energy offered it to all London councils free of charge. Islington was one of the UK councils to jump on the opportunity, but it was also embraced by Lewisham, the economic area of Canary Wharf and outside London Milton Keynes and the Oxfordshire town of Banbury. In Europe, the highest density of installations is in the UK and Serbia. Globally they have been installed in 41 countries so far.