Cancer Research Smart Benches Offer Londoners Wi-Fi in Exchange for Contactless Donations

Cancer Research UK is tapping into the smart device and Internet of Things trend by rolling out ten benches in London providing solar powered charging for smartphones and free Wi-Fi connectivity. The smart benches come with contactless payment tech to enable people to make small on-the-fly donations.

Working in partnership with smart city companies Strawberry Energy and MKTG, Cancer Research UK will provide the charging and connectivity for free, but contactless payment tech in the benches will enable people using them to donate £2 to the charity and research organisation.

The pilot of the ten benches went live in February and will cover high footfall areas in the boroughs of Lewisham and Islington, and a further ten benches will be installed in London by the end of February, with an additional 80 planned for placement across the British capital over the course of the year.

Michael Docherty, director of digital at Cancer Research UK, said:

“The charity was always looking for new opportunities to incorporate contactless technology and make it easier for supporters to donate.

“These Smart Benches seemed like the next step in our use of contactless technology to bring charitable giving closer to our supporters, integrating it seamlessly into cutting-edge street furniture,” he said.

But the benches are more than just donation collecting, charge and Wi-Fi points; sensors are built into the benches which provide real-time data on the air quality around them. This could come in handy once the benches reach parts of central London where pollution and air quality is a genuine concern and a health risk. The air quality data can also be piped to the Strawberry Energy smartphone app so that people can check on how clean or dirty the air is around them.

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