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Smart furniture changing the way we collect municipal data

Presented by Kaylynn Mele
in Technology
February, 2024

Sponsored by Canavisia

Smart urban furniture has become an integral piece of the emerging smart cities movement.

Internet of Things (IoT) technology is transforming how cities are collecting and monitoring their data. Many companies are incorporating these technologies into everyday municipal equipment.

Public seating has been reimagined in the last decade with the introduction of solar-powered smart furniture. Park benches, for example, are becoming charging stations, Wi-Fi hotspots, informational hubs, and centers for monitoring pedestrian traffic and local environmental data.

Data collection and analysis has become vital to the success of smart cities.

Why Monitor Data?

Public spaces are becoming “alive.” Technology is now capable of collecting data, delivering information, improving the environment, and providing services for the smart model city.

Monitoring data through IoT technologies helps ensure municipal operations are running smoothly and to the benefit of both the city and the citizen. Smart solar-powered furniture is capable of monitoring parameters in real time. These include pedestrian traffic, weather and temperature, and air quality and CO2 levels.

Monitoring these parameters with a technology like a smart bench allows cities and towns to:

  • lower operational costs by streamlining municipal services based on need
  • dispatch, increase, or even decrease services in a certain area
  • access information in real time in some of the busiest areas of the city
  • have a clearer picture of what areas in the city are being most frequented
  • provide free resources for the community such as Wi-Fi and device charging

Placement Matters

Deploying smart solar furniture in the right places is important.

Strategic placement of smart benches and other data collection technologies gives municipalities the most return on their investment and collects the data that most impacts their community planning. The most beneficial deployment locations for these types of technologies include:

  • city centres
  • main streets
  • tourist areas
  • shopping centres
  • parks and greenspaces

Canavisia is an Italian IoT company designing and manufacturing smart benches. It has partnered with cities across Italy to strategically place smart benches.

For example, a bench was placed at the Courmayeur Municipality and Secure Mountain Foundation’s “La Casermetta” in the Italian Alps. This enabled the municipality and foundation to:

  • monitor and record hiker visitation and environmental conditions
  • deploy volunteers as necessary
  • provide hikers with free Wi-Fi to access safe communication in the case of an emergency

Beyond the Data

Smart solar furniture also has benefits for the citizens that use them. Residents and tourists alike have access to free Wi-Fi and device charging. Also, certain models can even relay municipal information using digital signage.

Having access to these free services helps to close the digital gap. It also promotes digital inclusivity while also adding seating in public spaces.

To learn more about the dual benefits of smart furniture, visit

Municipal World Executive and Essentials Plus Members: You might also be interested in Jon Linton’s article: Smart cities, technology, and the pursuit of urban utopias.

Kaylynn Mele handles sales and marketing for Canavisia in their Massachusetts office.

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