A street bench is the latest object to be transformed into a contactless giving opportunity. Cancer Research is introducing 100 ‘smart benches’ in London in time for World Cancer Day today, 4th February.
Developed in partnership with Strawberry Energy and MKTG, the solar-powered benches “enhance public spaces” by providing mobile device charging ports and free wi-fi access, as well as, you’ll be pleased to hear, a place to sit and socialise.
CRUK is claiming that this is “the world’s first use of contactless payment on the Smart Bench”. The public can use their contactless debit or credit card on the bench to tap and donate £2 to the cancer charity.
Cancer Research UK is the first brand to partner on the Smart Bench scheme. The locations in Islington and Lewisham were selected because of their high-footfall.
Strawberry Energy built the benches. It develops solar-powered street furniture for smart cities to enhance the outdoor experience of the 21st century mobile generation. Urban Partnerships, a division of MKTG, delivers projects within the public space that are mutually beneficial for both brands and non-profit organisations.
The first benches in London will not cost taxpayers a penny. Strawberry has taken on production and installation as part of its commitment to London as a smart city.
The benches are indeed smart. Sensors built into them monitor real-time environmental data including air quality, which users can check via the Strawberry Energy smart phone app. The data is fed to local boroughs to help monitor the capital’s air quality.
More contactless benches to come
Following this pilot, a further 10 benches will be installed by the end of February, with an additional 80 to be installed this year.
Michael Docherty, director of digital at Cancer Research UK, said:
“Having used contactless technology in innovative ways in the past to engage the public in the work we do, we are always looking for new opportunities to incorporate contactless technology further throughout the charity and make it even easier for our supporters to help us beat cancer sooner. 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.”
Miloš Milisavljević, founder and CEO of Strawberry Energy, developers and owners of the Smart Bench network, said that he was proud that they had worked with CRUK on a fundraising innovation, saying:
“Our charging stations bring people together, motivate them to spend more time outdoors, and enhance their enjoyment of the environment with information such as pollution sensors.”
World Cancer Day 2017
As well as making donations via these smart benches, Cancer Research UK is also urging the nation to wear a Unity Band® on 4 February 2017, World Cancer Day, to create an #ActofUnity that will help beat cancer sooner. The charity suggests a donation of £2 per band.
Where to sit and donate
If you want to try out a Smart Bench you will find them at the following locations, with map co-ordinates in brackets.
· Contactless Essex Road (51.538116, -0.099604)
· Contactless: Islington Green (51.535865, -0.103000)
· Essex Road (51.540730, -0.095340)
· Old Street (51.525104, -0.092511)
· Newington Road (51.551009, -0.085991)
· Contactless: Albion Way- Lewisham High Street (51.462605, -0.010379)
· Contactless: Lewis Grove- Albion Way (51.461434, -0.010507)
· Near the model market (51.4598471,-0.0114373)
· Brookmill Road (51.473093, -0.023598)
Charities and contactless giving
- CRUK uses contactless giving via their charity shop windows (January 2015)
- CRUK trials contactless collections for World Cancer Day 2016 (February 2016)
- Comic Relief to raise contactless donations via comedian statues (February 2015)
- Blue Cross uses dogs for mobile contactless fundraising (May 2016)