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Solar-powered ‘palm trees’ for connecting to the Internet


Dubai is to host World Expo 2020, and its slogan of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ proclaims how smart cities will be taking pride of place in the pavilions of many countries. The Emirate is setting an example by rolling out a new innovation: ‘smart’ palm trees.

With their large leaves and at 6.5m tall, they look just like palm trees, apart from the shade that these ‘smart palms’ cast: that is as far as the likeness goes. Designed by the company D Idea Media, these high-tech fixtures are a foretaste of Dubai’s recently announced bid to become one of the most modern cities in the world.

Credits: Extract from

Each ‘tree’ has several functions. For a start, it provides a free Wi-Fi connection to the Internet at a range of up to 100m . A platform fitted at the base also allows users to charge up to eight smartphones or tablets at once; two and a half times faster than a standard charge, according to the company . On the ‘trunk’, some touchscreens provide access to apps whilst others broadcast local information (weather forecasts, leisure activities, public transport, city life, and more) and advertisements. Each tree is also fitted with a 360° infrared video surveillance camera and an emergency call button. Benches provide the finishing touch to a comfortable spot for surfing in the shade or waiting for your smartphone to charge.
What about sustainability? It’s nestling in the treetops. Each frond is fitted with solar panels. In all, a panel area of 13.8 m2supplies the electricity required, 24 hours a day and throughout the year, thereby making the most of the country’s intense sunlight. To date, two initial Smart Palm trees have been set up in a park and on a beach. Ultimately, the Emirate’s capital will have around a hundred palm trees.