Why Smart Street Furniture is the Choice for Smart City Connectivity

Next week we’ll be at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It’s a major international city known for its architecture.  Governments and service providers today are now also innovating with street furniture.  There’s a trend that more is less. Railings and signage are disappearing to be replaced with fittings like smart benches, smart bus shelters, digital kiosks, lampposts and electric vehicle (EV) charging points. Within this street architecture, we’re seeing high demand to add public Wi-Fi.


The Business Case for Street Furniture Wi-Fi

A recent report from IndustryArc, found the smart street furniture market will reach $365.5 million by 2027, at a CAGR of 12.4% between 2022-2027. Smart benches hold the largest street furniture market share of 36%. Growth is driven by the goals of improving inner-city safety, the efficiency of city resources, better productivity and reducing carbon footprint.  


An Integrated Wi-Fi Solution

Street furniture service providers are typically contractually obliged to provide public Wi-Fi – which will also support city services. The connectivity business model is simple. Wi-Fi access points are housed within street furniture. A supporting captive portal provides public access, branded to the city or town. Users are typically ‘on the pause’, waiting for public transport, or charging their vehicle (or phone in the case of digital kiosks like Links).  GlobalReach’s captive portal services are supported by a Wi-Fi management dashboard. This provides network management and real-time user presence analytics and detail about the health of the network.


Out-of-Home Advertising Wi-Fi Use Cases

The case for public Wi-Fi is compelling when you also consider its importance to the global outdoor advertising market (OOH). This sector is projected for CAGR growth of 6.4% between 2022-2032 (Fact.MR research: Outdoor Advertising Market Analysis By Type – Global Market Insights 2032).

Recently released industry data from PosterScope, ClearChannel and JCDecaux, shows how high-quality connectivity is critical to ad success. Mobile searches in OOH locations are 38% more likely to lead to purchases than searches from home. Yet where the user does not have a strong connection, the advert is less effective.


Smart City Revenue Models

Additional revenue opportunities can be explored when Wi-Fi is in a built-up area with high demand for mobile phone coverage. Environmental challenges like network interference or building materials can make decent cellular coverage difficult, so a robust public Wi-Fi network can be offered to mobile operators for carrier offload.  Other hybrid connectivity models can also be used such as the converged cellular 5G / Wi-Fi network we operate with our partner Ontix in central London.


GlobalReach Technology already operates live public Wi-Fi services with street furniture providers and cities in Europe and North America.  Contact our team to find out more about our services.