Smart Benches offer Londoners chance to make contactless charity donations

Cancer Research
STREET SMART: Londoners can now give to charity by tapping at solar-powered benches

Ten Smart Benches have been installed across London to enable passersby to donate £2 (US$3) to Cancer Research UK with a tap of their contactless debit or credit card. The Smart Bench network is currently being piloted in two boroughs in the city, with a further 90 benches to be permanently rolled out later this year.

The solar-powered Smart Benches in the boroughs of Islington and Lewisham also include Wifi access and mobile phone charging ports and have been designed by smart city technology provider Strawberry Energy in collaboration with Urban Partnerships, a division of MKTG. The British charity is the first brand to sign up to the scheme.

“This pilot of 10 Smart Benches is live today, with full support from both boroughs, and features a number of contactless payment locations including Islington Green and Lewisham High Street,” Cancer Research UK says.

“Following the pilot, a further 10 will be installed by the end of February, with an additional 80 to be installed this year.”

New opportunities

“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,” says Michael Docherty, director of digital at Cancer Research UK.

“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.”

“A lot has been said about smart cities — the coming together of technology, city infrastructure and big data to enhance the citizen experience of urban life,” adds Michael Brown, managing director of MKTG. “But, up until now with the launch of Smart Benches, there has been no genuinely city-wide permanent smart city initiative in London.”