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More solar-powered ‘smart benches’ appear on SE1 streets

More 'smart benches' offering free wifi and phone charging are appearing on the streets of SE1 as part of a partnership between a Serbia-based company and Southwark Council.

More solar-powered ‘smart benches’ appear on SE1 streets
Peter John and Milos Milisavljevic unveil the new smart bench outside Guy's Cancer Centre on Snowsfields

We first reported on the arrival of smart benches in Southwark in May 2017 and since then 10 have been installed.

Each solar-powered bench offers free wifi, USB charging ports and air quality monitoring.

Londoners can download a Strawberry app to see the latest readings from the sensors on the smart benches, including temperature, humidity, noise and air pressure.

Strawberry has recently come up with a new design that takes up less space on the pavement, has more advanced monitoring technology and an option to tailor what is being monitored.

Southwark Council leader Peter John joined Milos Milisavljevic, founder and CEO of Strawberry Energy, to unveil a new smart bench in Snowsfields on Tuesday.

29 benches are proposed in Southwark – at no cost to the council – as part of a London-wide scheme that also includes Lewisham and Islington.

Strawberry Energy has already broken its 300,000 crowdfunding target to continue installing smart benches in the capital.

Cllr Peter John said: "I welcome the arrival of these new Strawberry smart benches, they will help us to offer people in Southwark modern technology that responds to today's needs."

"Whenever I pass the benches they are busy with people resting, charging their phones and using the free wifi.

"Additionally, council officers have started to collect air quality data from the benches; this will help us to build a picture of the air pollution problem and inform our way forward."

Milos Milisavljevic said: "Our commitment to healthier streets adapted to modern citizens' needs continues with this new launch of Smart Benches.

"We designed the benches with today's Londoner in mind – providing free, solar-powered phone charging, wifi and air quality monitoring in a single, sleek piece of street furniture.

"We're delighted to be working in partnership with Southwark Council to extend the network of smart benches in the borough and hope the addition of new sensors will help the council and local residents have a better picture of air quality down to a street level."

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