Take a seat on Joburg’s smart bench

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The first pro­to­type of Jo­han­nes­burg’s so­lar­pow­ered Wi-Fi hot spot fur­ni­ture was un­veiled in Mabo­neng, Joburg, last week.

The bench/charg­ing sta­tion/free in­ter­net ac­cess point is the first of the in­tended roll­out by Public Ac­cess Con­sult­ing, a win­ner of the Green City Startup ini­tia­tive.

The bench is called the Is­abelo, which means “to share” in isiZulu, and with good rea­son. “The smart bench is all about shar­ing: shar­ing a seat, shar­ing public spa­ces and shar­ing con­tent. What we love about it is that peo­ple can sit down, charge up, and freely ac­cess in­for­ma­tion and share ideas on­line,” says Louise Meek, the found­ing direc­tor of Public Ac­cess Con­sult­ing.

Meek’s bench will do more than just bring free Face­book to the in­ner city: “The beauty of this bench is that it is in a public space. We aim to re­duce the dig­i­tal divide in South African cities, one bench at a time,” says Meek. – Gar­reth van Niek­erk

PHOTO:

SIT­TING PRETTY

The Is­abelo

smart bench in Mabo­neng

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