Hotspot in city a good stop

2016-03-29 06:00
A new Wi-Fi hotspot in the city centre offers plenty.

A new Wi-Fi hotspot in the city centre offers plenty.

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When you find yourself on Adderley Street in the city centre, be sure to make a stop at the new “smart bench” on the corner of Wale Street.

In its pilot phase, the smart bench is a stand-alone, entirely solar-powered free Wi-Fi hotspot for public use, complete with USB charging points, night lighting and easy seating.

This is another boost for Cape Town as a world-class tech hub, following significant investment by the provincial government in fibre and wireless connectivity, as well as the City of Cape Town in investment in Africa’s largest open access fibre network and free Wi-Fi in sites like the nearby Company Gardens

A new user of the smart bench can connect to the “Isabelo Free Wi-Fi” network to enjoy free, unlimited internet with their smartphone or another device, and charge their batteries at the power point.

The Isabelo smart bench was invented by Louise Meek two years ago while she was studying for a Master’s degree in Urban Infrastructure Design and Management.

Isabelo has joined the Cape Town Partnership and Wesgro to provide a Wi-Fi range of 15m around the bench with connection speeds of up to 10MBPS.

Adriaan Hugo, lead industrial designer of the Isabelo smart bench and co-founder of the award-winning Johannesburg design company Dokter and Misses, sees the bench as a ground-breaking “plug and play solution for public spaces”.

“It is a first for Africa. These different technologies have been available on our continent for some time and Isabelo brings them all together into one incredible user-friendly smart bench,” says Hugo.

Bulelwa Makalima-Ngwewana, CEO of Cape Town Partnership, believes that busier spaces are often safer and provide more opportunities for relationship building.

“The space where it’s placed suddenly becomes more: a place to meet people, find out information or just relax.”

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