Smart Palms: WiFi Palm Trees in Dubai, UAE

Each solar powered tree is a sustainable recharge station with eight access points.  It provides complimentary WiFi out to 100 meters. In addition to being a hotspot, the Smart Palm displays security and emergency features and is completely powered by leaf-shaped photovoltaic solar panels.  Public information and government notices are displayed on digital outdoor screens with an opportunity for paid advertisements as well.  Users are encouraged to sit and relax while using the high-speed recharging stations (2.5 times faster) and free internet.

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Smart Palm Features

Technology

  • Provides internet to beachgoers and park visitors
  • Currently installed at Zabeel Park and at the beach near Burj Al Arab in Dubai (with plans for expansion)
  • About 260 people use the wifi service each day, with 31 devices recharged daily
  • UAE has a high smartphone concentration; connectivity in demand
  • Fits Smart City plan as build up to hosting next “World Expo 2020” (held every 5 years)
  • Establishes valuable network for mobile data capture

Sustainability Problem

  • Clean and green approach to power supply
  • Renewable form of energy; stores power for later use
  • Keeps citizens and visitors connected
  • Reduces demand on traditional power grid
  • Dubai is most populous city in UAE
  • Uses resources from the natural world
  • Future application: Smart Palm technology can expand to more cities/locations

Technology Stakeholders

  • D Idea Media, founding company/creators
  • Local government and agencies that disseminate public information (Dubai Municipality, etc.)
  • City planners and managers who access data (usage, mobility, etc.)
  • Suppliers of component parts
  • Individual smartphone users/passersby who access or view touch screens
  • Retailers, service providers and researchers who value collected data

Technology Implementation

  • Determine economic efficiency/profitability; cost of Smart Palm tech vs ROI (value of data collected)
  • Start with pilot project, monitor results
  • Adjust locations as necessary; replicate in desirable areas
  • Share new technology and best practices

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