By Stu Robarts
People out and about in Dubai can now use palm trees to get online and recharge their phones. The Smart Palm is hi-tech version of the date palm tree and is being rolled out by D-Idea Media. In addition to Wi-Fi and device charging, it provides local info, directions, seating and shade.
The first Smart Palm was installed in Dubai’s Zabeel Park in April and now a second, located on the beach near to the Burj Al Arab, was opened last Thursday. The trees are 6.5 m (21.3 ft) tall and are reminiscent of Sologic’s eTrees. The date palm shape was chosen as a symbol of sustainability, with it historically having been harvested for food and materials.
The Smart Palms are powered by 13.8 sq m (148.5 sq ft) of photovoltaic panels that are specially designed to fit the shape of the “leaves.” According to D-Idea Media, the panels have an efficiency of over 21 percent and are built to provide all of the required power for each Smart Palm.
The trees provide free Wi-Fi with a range of over 100 m (328 ft) and have eight charging ports each. Selfie cameras allow users to take self-portrait photos at the Smart Palm locations.
Touchscreen monitors on the Smart Palms provide information on local news, weather, services and businesses and can also provide directions to local places, as well as public transport options. The screens also provide space for public information messages, government notices and adverts.
The Smart Palms are monitored around the clock, each featuring a 360-degree infrared CCTV camera and an emergency button. In addition to the wealth of technology that each tree has, they also provide seating and shade.
There are plans to roll out a further 103 Smart Palm trees across Dubai.