Smart bench

Croatian smart bench maker launches in UK

Include has opened its first office overseas with the ambition of becoming the UK’s biggest supplier within five years.

Ivan Mrvos created his first smart bench in 2014 while still a teenager at high school. Now 24, Mrvos has sold more than 1,300 items of smart street furniture around the world – but only three so far in the UK, to Conwy County Council in Wales. Fingal County Council in Ireland and Dublin Smart Docklands have also bought Include benches.

Smart Bench 2

In its home market, Include has a long-term partnership with Croatian Telecom (owned by Deutsche Telecom), and is being used for the roll-out of 5G technology in Croatia and development of the first 5G smart bench. Include’s private sector customers include international brands Coca Cola, Red Bull, BP, Nokia and Kia.

Mrvos raised €1m though crowdfunding in 2019 and was named one to watch in a list of 30 under 30 in Forbes.

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Smart, wi-fi enabled street furniture is expected to be a huge global growth market over the new decade as towns and cities upgrade their high streets and parks to make them more attractive, increase dwell time and move to creating more connected, better informed smart cities.

Ivan Mrvos, CEO of Include, said: “High streets across Britain and the rest of the world are changing as more and more people choose to shop online rather than in physical stores. At the same time towns and cities across the world need to become better places for people to live, work and travel across. Include’s smart street benches help to solve all of these problems by increasing dwell time in towns and cities, and creating better, more connected places and communities.”

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From its new office in London’s Finsbury Circus, Include will introduce two main product lines of smart benches, Steora and Monna.

Both can be solar powered or plug into the AC power grid. Steora has built-in LCD displays for advertising. Monna includes bike racks for cyclists. There are further options for charging smart devices, Wi-Fi, street light, digital advertising, sensors, data collecting.

The prices start from €3,000 for Steora Standard model and go up to €6,900 for the most advanced street bench model Steora Urban+ which is equipped with 19” super-bright LCD display.

Include has sold 1,300 benches which are now in 260 cities in 51 countries.

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