Solar powered Wi-Fi stations shaped like palm trees are the latest innovation in Dubai’s quest to become one of the smartest cities in the world.
The Smart Palm’s fronds are topped with photovoltaic panels which take in and store energy from the sun during the day.
Each palm 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.
As well as powering its facilities each palm lights up at night. They also provide information on the weather, local attractions and have facilities for charging up mobile devices.
Dubai Municipality plans to install 103 of the six metre tall palms in across the city at popular outdoor locations. Umm Suqeim Beach and Za’abeel Park are the first two locations for the Smart Palms which provide free wireless internet access.
The initiative – part of the UAE Cabinet Year of Innovation project – has been jointly put together by Dubai Municipality, Smart Palm creators D Idea Media, Du, Sun Tab Solar Energy and Promo Tech Gulf Industry.
Hussain Lootah, the director general of Dubai Municipality, said: “Under the guidance of our leaders, Dubai has developed an international reputation as a place for technology and innovation.
“Through Smart Palm, the public will be able to benefit from free direct access to the internet while providing valuable public information covering a range of topics including weather forecasts and orientation guides.
“Most importantly, these structures are entirely self-sufficient thanks to their mono crystal solar panels, which provide up to 21 per cent efficiency.”
Two screens on each palm offer weather details, 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.