Street Furniture can be smart, really SMART!
Posted on 16th December 2020
As we know in excess of 50% of the world's population now lives in our cities with this trend set to increase year on year. So how can we make these overpopulated urban areas more attractive?
Self-powered street furniture could be one of the solutions of the horizon. Public spaces could be made to be more attractive, not just visually. These areas could offer a public service relevant to the local communities. Information and connectivity could be readily available and incorporated cleverly into our everyday street furniture.
Cities worldwide are adopting this approach, with the introduction of digital signage, smart benches, fully integrated bus stops and more. All offering an easier life for citizens and visitors. Some of the benefits include, free solar powered device charging points, Wi-Fi connectivity wherever you are, clear and up to date digital information screens, the collection of vital data and of course the ability to advertise.
Smart benches can be harnessed with solar power, data on the go, they can even collect rainwater which could be used to irrigate vital planting and green areas. Each piece of furniture could be placed in relevant areas like university campus’, city squares, bus stops and near office blocks to allow increased outside working.
Smart bins are even available. The smart box enables the amount of waste in the bin to be measured, allowing cities to monitor and pay for waste and disposal by weight. The intelligent bins are also capable of sending the temperature, monitoring fire risk and smells via the cloud.
Obviously advertising boards are not a new concept but the traditional is now being superseded with advanced features. The digitalisation of advertising allows the city to be more connected, more fluid and increasingly intelligent in the way we offer advertising to the consumer. Brazil even has advertising boards that capture water from the atmosphere, each board has the capacity to harvest 96 litres of water from 98% humid air. The water is then stored and distributed when and where needed.
Attractive furniture is always beneficial in enhancing the atmosphere of an area but why not have our seating areas working harder for us. Smart furniture is not just a pretty face, it opens so many new possibilities for accessible and responsive public spaces. For visually impaired people moving around a city can be nothing but daunting or even impossible. Responsive Smart furniture can be a lifeline.
British designers Ross Atkins and Jon Scott have recognised the need for a smart city that is inclusive. One that helps people move around their environments safely and independently. People with different impairments can utilise our streets more successfully. The concept “Responsive street furniture” is one that adapts to the pedestrians needs. An App cleverly helps the user respond and interact with the infrastructure surrounding them. For example, a visually impaired person could brighten the lights as he passes a streetlamp or he could choose to receive audio from a digital board. The cleverly designed furniture will respond to the user whilst synchronising with his smart phone or a low-cost key fob as he passes. The user can request helpful services. The system can also be used for foreign visitors providing audio information in foreign languages. Responsive street furniture can allow our cities to be more accessible for anyone and everyone.
The Bailey Street Furniture Group has an innovatively designed range, Plateau Sunhub. Sunhub adds a new level to street furniture and enables new technical features and application possibilities. Street furniture now becomes a social hub offering users the ability to listen to music via the built in speakers and Bluetooth connection, charge their phones and devices wirelessly. The Sunhub is 100% solar powered, environmentally friendly and weather resistant. It is intelligently controlled and importantly CO2 neutral.
With the combination of innovative design, clever planting and smart technologies, our cities' streets are shaping up to become like never before, a place to be where almost anything is possible!
The Bailey Street Furniture Group is a privately owned collection of individual companies serving the construction sector, providing a wide range of street furniture, playground elements and associated services to the public realm, commercial and educational schemes throughout the UK. Find out more visit the BSFG Website