Serbia’s solar pioneers make London smarter

Strawberry Smart Bench Canary WharfLondon’s streets have been made a little smarter, thanks to a young team of solar pioneers from Belgrade.

Strawberry Energy has brought its award-winning range of smart street furniture to the capital, with visitors to the Canary Wharf business park being first to enjoy the benefits of free solar energy to charge their mobile phones and devices.

Four of the benches have been installed at Jubilee Park, Cabot Square, Westferry Circus, and in front of Crossrail Station at Canary Wharf.

As well as powering-up mobiles, tablets and portable music players, the Strawberry Smart Benches track air quality and noise levels in the area and include an emergency call button linked to the Canary Wharf security team.

Clear benefits, elegant design

The practical benefits are clear, but this pioneering street furniture looks great, too, thanks to an elegant and striking design by Belgrade-based architect Miloš Milivojević.

This first for London comes in the wake of Strawberry Energy’s success at the recent Cognicity Challenge, Canary Wharf’s leg-up to new businesses in the development of smart city technologies.

Strawberry smart bench 1

If all goes well, it should be just the start of a roll-out that could see the Serbian company’s benches installed across London.

“We are in negotiations with real estate companies and boroughs in London, so we expect that at least ten more smart benches will be on service before the end of this year,’ said Miloš Milisavljević, founding CEO of Strawberry Energy.

Londoners tweet to ask for a smart bench

“We invite Londoners to suggest locations where they would like a Strawberry Smart Bench to be installed by tweeting the location with the hashtag #SEBenchLDN, and we will do our best to make it happen.”

Strawberry Energy’s network of public solar chargers and Wifi stations has reached 400.000 users in Europe so far. The business won the Verge Accelerate 2014 in San Francisco and was a finalist for the World Technology Award 2013, while the Strawberry Tree was named among the ‘top ten urban innovations that work’ at the New Cities Summit in Dallas in 2014.

The value of the bench has already been recognised by local authorities and developers, as evidenced by Strawberry Energy’s recent win in the ‘Connecting people and creating communities’ competition, organized by the Institute for Sustainability, in partnership with the Mayor of London’s Office.

Camille Waxer, Chief Administration Officer of Canary Wharf Group, said: “Strawberry Energy’s innovative concept of a sustainable and functional bench immediately caught our attention. These solar powered benches will create a platform for people to interact with new and inventive technology.”

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