Dubai is taking advantage of its sunshine and clear blue skies to provide WIFI in fake date palms.
Beaches and streets will be locations for the solar-powered Smart Palm stations which provide free wireless internet access. They will also give information on local attractions and have facilities for charging up mobile devices.
Standing six metres tall in the shape of a palm tree the first Smart Palm was installed at gate six of Zabeel Park and there are plans to establish over 50 more of them over the course of the year.
The initiative has been jointly put together by Dubai Municipality, Smart Palm creators D Idea Media, Du, Sun Tab Solar Energy and Promo Tech Gulf Industry.
It is part of the UAE Cabinet Year of Innovation project. Each Smart Palm runs entirely on solar power and offers high-speed Wi-Fi up to a range of 53 metres, supporting up to 50 users at a time. It also has phone and tablet charging points offering two-and-a-half times faster charging speeds than a regular plug.
Tow screens on each palm offer weather information, local news, a navigation application, general Dubai information — and even a selfie camera.
Other venues soon be included in the scheme include Dubai Creek Park, Al Mamzar Park and Al Barsha Pond Park.
The Smart Palm’s fronds are topped with photovoltaic panels which take in and store energy from the sun. The trunk and platform are composed of white-metal and wood.
Other cities have also ventured into the realm of public solar-energy charging stations.
In 2013, New York City collaborated with AT&T to install 25 free, solar-powered charging poles around the city, while San Francisco now has its own solar energy stations.