What started as a single product company focused on creating a smart canopy solution—a shading structure that provides weather protection, harvests rainwater, generates clean energy and even powers its own lighting—has pivoted into a Smart Cities technology company that has shown success in activating the outdoors and creating user engagement in these spaces. ThinkPhi’s smart canopies not only provide the sustainable infrastructure to promote utilisation but also encourage user engagement, thereby creating connected and safe communities.
Priya Vakil, co-founder, ThinkPhi, says, “Outdoor spaces are an important part of the Smart Cities agenda. In fact, data proves that the more livable cities in the world are also the ones that allow communities to thrive in outdoor spaces. It is estimated that 30-40% of open spaces in cities lack function and are under-utilised. Furthermore, the under-utilisation of outdoor spaces is even more evident in large business parks and education campuses across all scales.”
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Where human engagement is possible, more advanced versions of the canopy that are Wi-Fi enabled and have integrated touchscreens provide a complete off-grid solution to harness the user-base under these structures and connect them to service providers.
In addition, an integrated touchscreen will soon have algorithms capable of mashing micro-climate data with
third-party messaging to push more context-aware messages which are personalised to the needs of the visitor within that space.
ThinkPhi has 300 installations across Singapore and India. Its canopies have been deployed across all scales in public and private areas of cities—consisting of walkways, outdoor landscaped areas, parking, to name a few.
“As a result, the spaces are now better utilised and monetised. For IT parks and business campuses, the developers have been able to significantly monetise residual spaces as a result of creating functions and integration of technology. The off-grid nature of these deployments means that the operational costs of these spaces is almost negligible.
“The pricing model for building these off-grid spaces is simple,” says Vakil. “The space owner can purchase the space module outright from ThinkPhi or tap into the annuity model which offers a revenue sharing arrangement through a network of food and beverages, mobility, lifestyle, and other service providers who can serve up content and promotion coupons on the ThinkPhi workspace screens.”
The company has received early rounds of funding of about $2 million for product development and pilot deployments through a group of angel investors and Singapore-based Khattar Holdings. It has secured some large customers like Ascendas (now Capitaland), JLL, GIC, Gardens by the Bay, Tata and Unilever. With over 10 global patents filed and four granted, the company is close to securing its next round of funding to accelerate business growth.
Through a partner network established across the country, ThinkPhi is one of the fastest growing outdoor space technology companies. “ThinkPhi’s focus on product solutions that integrate technology, design and sustainability may just have the answer to the shifting needs of the way people choose to live, work and play in cities,” Vakil concludes.