Serbian Start-up’s smart benches taking over EU cities

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Cities have evolved into the busiest places on the planet. People may be found at squares, bus stops, parks, and other public places at all hours of the day. As European cities are increasingly making a shift towards smart city development, smart furniture is becoming a common sight around the old continent. The smart city furniture includes smart benches, modern bus stops, digital sign boards, waste bins, signal control boxes, advertising boards etc. 

Danish capital Copenhagen previously announced plans to become carbon-neutral by 2025. Similarly, more cities in Denmark are now also trying to improve their sustainability agenda. Recently, the Danish cities of Abenra, Sonderborg and Haderslev were supported in their endeavors by a young and aspiring start-up coming from outside the EU – Strawberry Energy. This smart technology company is committed to developing solar urban furniture for smart cities. In the last eight years, this ambitious Serbian start-up has delivered smart city solutions in 37 cities in 18 countries across Europe and North America. 

Smart Benches made by Strawberry energy are solar-powered street furniture that provide charging for mobile devices, WiFi, air quality monitoring and local information in different types of public areas. They increase the utilization of limited public space by providing a variety of services and responding to the growing needs urban residents have in the 21st century. 

Company’s initial innovation named Strawberry tree won first place at the European Commission’s Sustainable Energy Week in Brussels in 2011 and was designated one of the “top ten urban ideas that work ” at the New Cities Summit in Dallas in 2014. In San Francisco, Strawberry energy won Verge Accelerate 2014 and was a nominee for the World Technology Award 2013. Additionally, Strawberry Smart Benches were also shortlisted for A Smarter City’s ‘Smart Green Spaces’ competition, which was organized by The City Centre in collaboration with the City of London Corporation and Brookfield. 

Strawberry energy is specialized in making different types of smart city benches. One of the solutions is ideal for streets, squares, parks and promenades. The futuristic and colossal design of these benches easily attracts the attention of passers-by. This park bench is slightly larger than a standard one and can therefore easily accommodate larger crowds of people. Furthermore, they are easily maintained and use a 100% standalone system that works 24/7, under all weather conditions. 

The other type of Strawberry energy benches is more suitable for old bench replacement, as well as all high-footfall spaces and urban business areas. They feature a modern appearance and elegant form and are very easy to install. Additionally, this type of smart furniture is equipped with advanced environmental and gas sensors. Optionally, particle monitors and people counters can also be installed. 

Mini smart benches require no maintenance and are designed with a purpose to easily fit any location. As such, they are a perfect solution for parks, playgrounds, shopping centers, campus or retail parks. Ultimately, Strawberry energy came up with an artificial solar-powered tree that is said to be evoking people’s everyday habits such as sitting under the tree and using nature as a shelter from the sun. Its modern design envisions creation of new social hubs and meeting points in cities. 

Just like people always use appealing furniture to improve the atmosphere in their homes, smart city furniture can also assist cities and individuals in improving the attractiveness of public spaces by providing public services, real-time information, connectivity, and other features. With the idea of smart furniture becoming increasingly popular, it remains to be seen which European city will be the next one to incorporate this concept and significantly improve its residents’ quality of life.


Photo credit: Strawberry Energy official website