Smart bench comes to náměstí Míru

The city has been installing benches with WiFi and phone chargers

Prague has been installing smart benches across the city, and the latest one is at náměstí Míru, located between the flower stand and the statue of the young woman releasing a bird.

It is part of a pilot project by the City of Prague and the company Ability Group s.r.o. The bench is owned by the city and operated by the city-owned company Operátor ICT, which is overseeing the city's high-tech Smart City projects as well as administering the Lítačka public transit cards.

The bulk of the top of the bench is covered in solar panels, which powers the bench's features.

The bench has two spots for wireless charging of smartphones. A micro USB connector and an Apple connecter to charge phones and similar devices, and four USB ports that can take cables for charging devices.

The bench also is a WiFi hotspot, offering a high-speed LTE connection under the name Smart-Prague-FREE.

There are also two red emergency buttons on the bench to contact emergency services. The bench also collects data on air quality, temperature and pressure. The popularity of the bench will be evaluated in approximately six months.

While people can sit on the bench, there are two standard concrete benches nearby that might be more comfortable. The smart bench can get hot in the sunlight due to its metal construction. Also, sitting on it blocks sunlight from reaching the solar panels.

Batteries in the bench store the solar energy so the bench can function at night.

The bench is not the first, but it is one of the most centrally located so far. The initiative was announced in December 2016. The smart benches will go to Žižkov, Vinohrady and Holešovice. The city has been placing them since May, and similar benches are now in 14 countries.

The first smart benches in the Czech Republic was installed in May 2016 in Václav Havel Park in Litoměřice, north Bohemia.

Prague is also placing smart trash cans, which automatically contact the trash collection service when it is full. This makes emptying the cans more efficient and ensures that people are not forced to litter due to cans being overflowing. A smart trash can just went into service in front of Obecní dům.

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