Dubai: Smart Palms have started providing beachgoers free wireless internet access for the first time in Dubai.
The stations, shaped like palm trees, also display information on Dubai’s attractions, weather and other topics.
They can be used to quickly charge mobile phones and tablet computers as well.
Dubai Municipality recently installed them on the beach next to Burj Al Arab Hotel and plans to cover all open public beaches in Al Mamzar, Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim.
In April, the stations started sprouting in public parks.
Hussain Lootah, Director-General, Dubai Municipality, said the initiative is in line with the transformation of Dubai into a Smart City.
Alya Harmoudi, Director, Environment Department, Dubai Municipality, said each Smart Palm can support 50 users at a time over a radius of 53 metres.
She added that the stations 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.
Each Smart Palm runs entirely on its own solar power source and lights up at night for an aesthetic look.
Alya said public beaches have become a major destination for hundreds of thousands of people each year.
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 UAE-made stations, standing six metres tall, are the result of a collaboration between Dubai Municipality, Smart Palm creators D Idea Media, du, Sun Tab Solar Energy and Promo Tech Gulf Industry.
The initiative also comes in line with the UAE Cabinet’s decision to make 2015 the Year of Innovation.
The project took just ten months from conception to delivering the finished product. After receiving its patent, Smart Palm began working with its partners who each contributed towards the overall functionality of the product.
Lootah had said during last month’s unveiling of the Smart Palm: “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.”