Cape Town - Futuristic-looking smart palm trees have been installed in Dubai to provide beach goers and park visitors to have limitless power and internet access on their mobile phones at night.
The Smart Palm, as the devise is called, is hi-tech version of the date palm tree and is being 'planted' by advertising company, D-Idea Media. The "trees" soak up the sun during the day, then store solar energy that is discharged in the evening.
On each solar powered palm tree, there are eight charging points.
The Wi-Fi range stretches for 100 meters in any direction.
Hussain Lootah, Director-General, Dubai Municipality, said the initiative is in line with the transformation of Dubai into a Smart City. The initiative also comes in line with the UAE Cabinet’s decision to make 2015 the Year of Innovation.
In addition to Wi-Fi and device charging, it provides local info, directions, seating and shade for users during the day.
Over the past year, the municipality has spent almost Dh100 million on beach and shoreline development projects.
Smart Palms are the latest service to be added to a list of amenities for beachgoers. The Smart Palms can also display updates on events and activities on the beach and serve as a public announcement system. They also show beach rules, guidelines, tips, and sea conditions.
The first Smart Palm was installed in Dubai's Zabeel Park in April and the second, located on the beach near to the Burj Al Arab, was opened last Thursday, 16 July. The trees stand 6.5 meters tall and represent the date palm - a symbol of sustainability, with it historically having been harvested for food and materials.
Dubai plans to 'plant' a further 103 Smart Palm trees across the city.