Free Wi-Fi at Orchard Rd 'smart' bins

These bins are unlike any you have seen.

They are "smart", act as Wi-Fi spots, send alerts when they need to be cleared and can show you where to shop.

Ten of them have been placed along a 500m outdoor pedestrian walkway between Wisma Atria and Mandarin Gallery on Orchard Road, in a three-month pilot trial launched yesterday by technology firm Terra Sol and the Orchard Road Business Association (Orba).

The 1.3m-tall Bigbelly smart bins will be up and fully running by the end of the week.

Each has a compactor that can crunch rubbish, giving it eight times the capacity of a normal bin.

And when these bins start to fill up, their sensors can detect it and send e-mail or text message alerts to their cleaners' mobile phones.

Imported from the United States, the bins are also solar powered and self-sufficient when it comes to energy. They can store power for periods when there is no sunlight.

Shoppers will be able to log on to the bins' Wi-Fi network, which is provided by StarHub, using their Facebook or Weibo accounts.

A bin's Wi-Fi has a coverage radius of 30m and surfing speeds of between 10Mbps and 20Mbps. This is faster than Wireless@SG, which has a surfing speed of up to 5Mbps.

The bins let you surf the Web for 15 minutes after which you must log in again.

The free Wi-Fi will be available from 11am to 9pm daily.

Those logged on to the Wi-Fi network may see advertisements from retailers located close by popping up on their screens.

Steven Goh, executive director of Orba, said these higher-capacity bins could reduce litter on the floor while providing retailers another way to promote their brands.

"The hot spots will improve the visitor experience, especially for tourists using Wi-Fi," he added.

Thanks to compacting, these bins may need to be cleared just once a day, said Jason Kumar, co-founder of Terra Sol.

A 125l Bigbelly smart bin with sensors costs around $3,000 - not including other features like Wi-Fi.

samboh@sph.com.sg


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