Bigbelly, a waste management company from Massachusetts, has teamed up with Downtown Alliance to turn bins in New York City into Wi-Fi hotspots.
We are a smart solar-powered, connected technology platform that is literally sitting in the streets of New York. We are exactly where the people are– Leila Dillon, Bigbelly
Bigbelly has already installed the technology into two "smart" bins, where they allowed connectivity with a bandwidth of between 50 and 75MB a second – enough to support a small business.
The bins have been tested to measure how many people could connect to the network and the strength of the signal.
The proposal has the advantage that, as the bins are street level, the Wi-Fi signal is not blocked by New York’s towering buildings.
Bigbelly has already installed 170 other kinds of smart bins in the city. These have chips that detect whether a unit is overflowing or smells.
As well as providing continuous internet access, future bins could be fitted with screens that display alerts and public announcements.
They could also collect data such as foot traffic and recognise the brands of litter inside the bin.
Leila Dillon, Bigbelly’s vice president of global marketing, is quoted by CityLab, as saying: "We are a smart solar-powered, connected technology platform that is literally sitting in the streets of New York. We are exactly where the people are."
More tests are due to be carried out, with the aim of expanding the project. Funding could come from advertising and grants.
Image: A bin overflowing in New York (Wikimedia Commons)