The bench, which has received a lot of media coverage, has been well-used since it was installed in March.
“Don’t be alarmed, the bench will pop-up soon,” says Isabelo Smart Technology managing director Louise Meek. She came up with the idea two years ago while studying for a Master’s Degree in Urban Infrastructure Design and Management, as a way to bridge the digital divide and help everyone to feel connected.
The bench is being moved to a new location within the CBD, and is expected to be in place by November. The innovative design is entirely solar-powered, and comes complete with USB charging points, night lighting and easy seating. New users have unlimited access. The bench has a WiFi range of 15 metres with internet connectivity speeds of up to 10mbps.
Data shows that the bench has been well used, with a total of 7 800 connections. Many of these were by regulars, with 602 unique users. “This means that, on average, each user has returned to the bench 13 times since it was installed, with some ‘super users’ logging on as much as 4 times a day,” says Meek.
She explains that the idea was always to move it to different sites that are easily accessible to the public 24 hours a day. However, because it is installed within a public space, the City of Cape Town’s approval is needed and this is causing a delay.
The bench is a pilot project between Wesgro, Isabelo Smart Technology and the Cape Town Partnership. An Isabelo smart bench was recently installed in Stellenbosch, on the corner of Merriman and Bird streets, adjacent to the busy taxi rank.