Singapore’s main downtown shopping street, Orchard Road, now has high-tech trash bins with Wi-Fi.
You may recognise the solar-powered trash-compacting bins from the Massachusetts-based maker Bigbelly — the company has been selling them for the past decade — and the bins are in 45 cities around the world.
However, the Wi-Fi capability is a relatively new add-on for shoppers on Orchard Road. They’ll now be able to log onto ten different bins along a 500m (1,640 ft) stretch.
Connectivity is provided by local phone company StarHub. Inexplicably, it’s only available between 11am and 9pm each day, according to the Straits Times.
Additionally, users will get kicked off after 15 minutes of connectivity, and they’ll have to log in again. This is probably to ensure people don’t hog the network.
Ads from nearby stores will pop up on users’ mobile phones — which could be considered useful or annoying. Conceivably, these ads would help pay for the project, since each Bigbelly bin costs around $4,000 (that figure is based on other projects in the U.S.)
Bigbelly has been exploring adding digital advertising, to help make the initial capital more affordable for cash-crunched municipalities who’d like to offload some cost to private businesses.
Besides the hotspot function, the bins’ connectivity will also allow them to send email or SMS alerts to cleaners when they’re reaching capacity.But the Singapore bins are only around for a three-month trial. The project is run by the Orchard Road Business Association, a trade group under the Singapore Tourism Board.