Soofa solar-powered benches

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Municipal Office

395 Mulock Drive P.O. Box 328 Station Main, Newmarket, Ontario
L3Y 4X7
905-895-5193

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Newmarket is proud to lead the way in innovative technologies by being the first community in Canada to introduce a network of Soofa solar-powered smart benches. These benches are not only environmentally-friendly, they also gather valuable information that will help the Town use data-driven technology to improve quality of life in the community. This program enables Newmarket to join the Soofa Beta Cities network, in the company of a number of major cities in the US including New York, Boston, Austin and Los Angeles. This is a big step forward towards Newmarket being recognized as a Smart City.

Soofa bench Q and A

What is a Soofa bench?

The Soofa Bench is an innovative bench that charges mobile devices using solar power, while creating a social space for neighbours to gather. The Town unveiled its first Soofa bench in Riverwalk Commons in 2016. Soofa is a leading innovative design firm, previously featured as one of the up and coming technologies at Barak Obama's Maker Faire White House Maker Faire in 2014.

Where are the Soofa benches located?
Ten Soofa units are located throughout downtown Newmarket, Riverwalk Commons and the Main Street area.

How long does it take to charge a phone?
The same time as through a normal outlet. Don't forget to #BYOC (Bring your own cord)

 How many people can charge on one Soofa at the same time?
 Two.

Can people charge during a cloudy or rainy day or even at night?
Yes, Soofa stores the energy that it collects during daylight hours and makes it available at any time.

How many hours can people charge? 
An average of ten hours per day, meaning continuous charging from each port for ten total hours. 

 Will the Soofa Bench work during the winter? 
 Yes, it is extremely weather resistant. However, it will collect less sunlight so it will provide less energy. But from in person observations and analysis of usage data, people tend to charge for shorter periods when it is cold.

How do the Soofa benches work?
The Soofa Pro Benches include sensors that passively listen for wi-fi enabled devices (like smart phones and tablets), allowing the town to gather analytics without infringing on privacy.

 What does the Town do with the information?

The important data collected will allow the Town to better monitor how public spaces are being used. For example, the pedestrian trends in the downtown area could help to understand how many people are visiting certain areas, how long they are staying, how often they return and how people are moving around throughout the downtown area. This will help the Town to make data-driven decisions around waste collection, capital investments, maintenance, parking, and event logistics, just to name a few. This info will help info will help to improve quality of life and make Newmarket even better.

How is my privacy protected?

No personal information is collected. Any data gathered is encrypted and remains completely anonymous. If you do not want your phone to be accessed through Soofa, simply turn off your Wi-Fi. For more information, check out the Soofa Privacy Policy.