July 23, 2015 | 2 minutes

Innovation: Turning Garbage Cans Into Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

By Nathan Strum

It is amazing to see how fellow entrepreneurs turn something so ordinary into a big idea. That is the case with Bigbelly’s solar powered “smart” bins. They have innovated the way we look at trash cans in not one but kuvg9k-b78586103z.120091218153532000gg7lfld6.2two ways.

First, their smart containers are equipped with a chip that picks up on when there is too much of a bad odor or if the bin is full. Stop right there. That is a huge revolution in its own. Not only is it smart, but it is solar powered, so they are helping the environment at the same time. If that isn’t cool enough, last winter the team got together with the team of New York’s Downtown Alliance to install hotspot networks in their units.

The Huffington Post reports that both teams tested the bins for a couple of hours a day to see how well the quality of the signal was and the amount of people that could be on the network at the same time. Jeremy Schneider, Chief Technology Officer of Downtown Alliance, reported his findings, “At 50 to 75 megabits per second, the bandwidth will be more than enough to run a small business. Being nestled inside the Bigbelly didn’t compromise the quality of the signal: Since Bigbellies are on street level, the signal didn’t receive any interference from towering skyscrapers.”

Also, it seems like BigBelly applied for a grant from the Mayor’s Office so that they can have the ability to turn their units into this hotspot powerhouse. What is also very appealing is that these garbage cans can display advertisements or public service announcements. Here is what Engadget has to say, “Chances are they’ll serve as digital billboards, as well, just NYC’s payphone hot-spots, since they need money to continue running. BigBelly plans to conduct more tests in the near future, and if it gets the government’s support, it aims to begin equipping containers with Wi-Fi connections as soon as this fall.

According to their website Bigbelly currently has 52 employees and they plan to move their headquarters in Needham which is double the size of what they have now.

Do not get discouraged, innovation is everywhere… even in the trash.

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