It does kind of makes your legs ache having to read people offering their regurgitated views on the role smart phones play in watering down human interaction, but with the introduction of the Dubai Smart Palm initiative, it would appear that not even going the beach is sacred anymore.
Dubai Municipality launched the first of over 100 Smart Palm’s on Umm Suqeim Beach on Thursday. These palm tree-type-things will offer Wi-Fi and charging facilities to people on the beach while they catch some rays. They also include interactive touch screens which are installed so people can interactively touch them, and find out more information about the beach on which they are sat (it’s sand and sea by the way, that should save everyone some time). And all of this is FREE would you believe? How wonderful.
Unwind, Tan & Surf (Facebook)
But surely a trip to the beach represents a time to relax, unwind, maybe even have a paddle, surf or whatever else people do in the sea? To what degree is a smart phone integral to beach life? Well apparently for Dubai residents – completely.
It’s not just important to remain connected to the internet on your smart device when you are driving at 120kph down a seven lane motorway, walking into people in a crowded mall, working, drinking in a bar, eating in a restaurant, watching(filming) the fountains, jumping out of an airplane strapped to another grown man etc, etc, etc… It’s also important that you are connected when you are on the beach.
The Smart Palm was initially installed in Zabeel Park to great acclaim, and the Municipality have decided to extend the venture to include the beaches at JBR, Al Mamzar Corniche, Umm Suqeim 1 & 2, Jumeirah 1 & 2, Dubai Marina Beach and Jumeirah Beach Rd.
50 at a Time
But, just in case you get too excited, each Wi-Fi station is only capable of servicing 50 connections at a time, which if you’ve ever been to any beach in Dubai ever, falls some way short of the capacity needed to keep every phone/beach user on Facebook for the entirety of their visit.
It’s not yet known exactly how the connection speed performs on these Smart Palms, but if it’s as lacklustre as the connection which was briefly made available on the metro for a month last year, it’s not likely to impress too many. Still, Dubai edges closer to its goal of becoming a smart city by 2020, and good luck to it…