How Our [the Soofa Bench] Sensors Work and What Information We Collect
- Product Health: Soofa products [benches] are solar-powered and have a backup battery. In order to measure the performance of our [Soofa’s] products, we monitor the energy input and output. This helps us [Soofa] understand when we need to replace a battery or change the location for increased sunlight exposure. It also supports determining which and how many sensors can be added depending on excess capacity.
- Product Usage Charging: Soofa products [benches] deliver services to the public such as providing power. When using our [Soofa’s] products to power mobile devices, we do not gather any information about the devices nor do we establish a communication with the devices. To know if our charging service is used, we monitor the voltage on our internal battery to calculate if and how long people are using our service.
- Activity Measurement: Soofa products [benches] measure activity scores for the locations they are placed at. The activity score is calculated based on the number of mobile devices within a limited range of Soofa products. Mobile devices with Wi-Fi enabled send out signals to nearby Wi-Fi networks. Soofa observes the information being sent by mobile devices, including the device’s MAC address, manufacturer, and signal strength. After receiving the non-identifiable data sent by mobile devices, Soofa applies a cryptographic function to the MAC addresses to further anonymize them. Soofa analyzes the data it observes and provides aggregated anonymous information to our customers, such as cities. For example, we [Soofa] may share information such as how many people visit a park, how long people stay, the retention rate, what sections of the park are popular. This non-identifiable information allows cities to improve experiences in public space, including managing maintenance and employee staffing to improve customer service, and measuring the effectiveness of programming efforts, campaigns or public displays.
Environment Measurement: Soofa may add environmental sensor(s) to all products. These sensors measure conditions like temperature and humidity, NO2 or CO levels. All environmental sensors added to our platform are used for R&D projects.
Who gets to see our [the Soofa Bench] data
At Soofa, we have dedicated researchers from Harvard and MIT who analyze data we collect. The analysis of this data is presented in an aggregated form on our custom dashboard Atlas which can only be accesses with two-way authentication login. Logins are granted to organizations who purchased the device. Organizations [NYC Parks] can only access aggregated data analysis based on data sensed by devices purchased directly by them.