Sustainable connectivity

Visitors can enjoy free connectivity and charging points for smartphones and tabs.

Staying connected and in touch with your work, friends and kin need not put a strain on the environment if you are in Dubai. The smart city is making the most of the sunshine it receives for a good part of the year to take technology to the masses.

WiFi in parks and beaches are part of the emirate’s plan to boost connectivity in public spaces. It was announced last year at the Gitex technology exhibition and the rollout has begun in phases. On Wednesday, Dubai went a step further and brought in an element of sustainability with the launch of the Smart Palm project at Zabeel Park, one of the major hangouts for families on weekends.

Visitors can enjoy free connectivity and charging points for smartphones and tabs. This is a first-of-a-kind project in the Middle East and is piloted by the Dubai Municipality. The energy source is clean because it’s solar-powered, and has panels fixed on top of a frond-shaped roof. Officials said they plan to instal 52 more facilities this year on public beaches and parks like the Dubai Creek Park, Al Mamzar and Al Barsha Pond Park.

The recharging facility for gadgets promises to be two-and-half times more efficient than your regular plug. More importantly, mono-crystal solar panels derive their power from the sun and are 21 times more efficient as they save more energy.

Residents are pleased with the development, but many prefer coming to a park to enjoy some fresh air, take in the greenery or bask in the sunshine — solar powered panels or not. But the Smart Palms have shown than Dubai can stay one step ahead by factoring in the environment. This is not just about WiFI and a mobile chargers as promised by officials last year,  this is about innovation, or a tech hub right in the middle of nature where you can plan your trip around the city, read local news, find a bus route, or even catch up on the weather. More importantly, parks and beaches will stay green by gaining from power the sun.

Dubai is keen on developing alternative sources of energy. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority recently announced the 800MW third phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and the emirate has set a renewable energy target of seven per cent by 2020, and 15 per cent by 2030.

Park lightings, bus shelters and traffic lights are opting for solar energy. Awareness is growing among the population but more needs to be done.

So, take a stroll in the park and get charged by the sun.


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