The City of Sunny Isles Beach is Soofa's first city in Florida. We interviewed Derrick Arias, our extremely forward thinking partner from the City. See what he had to say about the benefits of being an early adopter and what it's been like to work with Soofa.
What inspired you to take on your role as CIO at the City of Sunny Isles Beach? What do you like most about it?
I was inspired by the leadership team at the City, which is very supportive of technology and motivated to use the City’s resources to improve the lives of our residents and the community. The best part of my job is working with people that are highly motivated, capable, and supportive of our goals.
Tell us about Sunny Isles Beach. What do you love about it? What is one thing everyone should know about it?
It is an international community, family oriented and growing younger.
If you have a free afternoon in Sunny Isles Beach what do you like to do?
The only answer is spend time on the beach! We have an amazing strip of beach, fully accessible to the public via our beach access paths every couple of blocks. Whether it is summer or winter, spending time by the ocean is a wonderful experience!
Why did you choose Soofa? What does it mean for you and for the City?
We chose Soofa because these benches are a highly visible, easily recognizable element representing not only sustainability initiatives, but smart technology that directly touches our residents.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome to get Soofa Benches installed?
The toughest challenge to overcome was definitely being on the “bleeding edge”. In general, government does not like to be at the forefront. They much prefer what has been proven and is “known”. Being an early adopter has its drawbacks – dealing with quality control issues, things may not quite work as planned, the resulting impact is unproven, etc. But it also has it’s advantages – the opportunity to be a leader and help define the future, and the opportunity to help determine the direction of the products and services in question!
What was the experience like when you told community members about their new benches?
We did not go “all out” in publicizing the benches, it was more of a “soft launch”. We did a press release and an article in our community paper, and announced it via social media. The response we received far surpassed our expectations – the comments and likes on social media were the highest ever on our accounts!
What do the residents in Sunny Isles Beach like the most about Soofa?
It is convenient to their “stay connected” lifestyle. They can watch their children at play while powering up their devices!
If you had one wish to improve Sunny Isles Beach or cities in general, what would it be?
Less traffic, more bicycles!
The Soofa Bench is used by everyone from business men and women to tourists and families. Everyone loves to stay charged and connected in Sunny Isles Beach!
Do you want to innovate the outdoor spaces in your city or community? We're happy to help.