Northern Ireland firm making connected street furniture expands to US
Smart range made by Newtownabbey company ESF includes wifi-connected bench
ESF’s Stellar Solar Smart Bench in New York, launched as part of a Smart Cities initiative
A Northern Ireland company which has developed a smart bench with a range of wifi, USB charging and data gathering features is to expand its operations to the United States and open its first office in Washington.
ESF (Environmental Street Furniture) designs and manufactures street and themed products for the both the public and private sectors and currently exports to 22 countries from its headquarters in Newtownabbey.
Its urban furniture products are in daily use at entertainment locations across the globe but after clinching a number of new “contracts in the themed entertainment industry in North America” – which it cannot elaborate on because of confidentiality clauses – ESF has decided to open a new base in the US.
Alan Lowry, the company’s managing director, said it had focused solely on the UK market when he first started the business five years ago, but since then ESF has expanded “from Malta to Miami and Azerbaijan to Astana providing street, themed and solar products across many industries”.
Mr Lowry said the decision to establish a US office was the next step for the growing business.
“We have experienced significant growth, our export sales increased to 30 per cent in 2016-2017. There is a lot of potential within the American market, especially for our themed and solar powered products and we felt this was the right time to build this market,” he said.
The Northern Ireland company also recently launched its Stellar Solar Smart Bench in New York as part of a Smart Cities initiative.
The innovative outdoor bench, which was designed and manufactured by ESF in the North, allows solar energy to be collected and stored to power mobile device charging and provide temperature-controlled ventilated seating.