As reported by Reuters, AT&T has sponsored the installation of the first 25 solar powered mobile device charging stations in New York. This is a rare but growing phenomenon - public demand to resolve an issue results in a 'green' solution, rather than a knee-jerk partisan political reaction.
Super Storm Sandy passed through several North East States, including New York, thrashing the region severely and leaving millions without power - almost a million in New York alone. The October 2012 storm delivered a record setting 14 foot sea surge into downtown Manhattan, causing billions of dollars in damage, and would be responsible for taking over 130 lives.
In such extreme circumstances, communication is vital. Today's reality is that our mobile devices have become an intricate part of our daily lives, so to suddenly not be able to charge them in order to make an urgent phone call was a huge issue for many. People were walking long distances and waiting in long queues just to charge a cell phone.
The city of New York responded quickly, setting up temporary street-based charging systems in key locations badly affected by the storm. This relatively simple act has developed into the addition of permanent outdoor charging stations.
Each system is powered by a large battery bank which is charged every day using solar power. Sponsored by AT&T, each station has six docks with a selection of power outlet options to charge phones, tablets and even laptops. The clever design will reserve enough power to keep charging mobile devices on shady days and at night.
AT&T is footing the bill entirely for the setup and maintenance, the city of New York is simply providing the locations, another coup for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a nice advertising opportunity for AT&T!
The first 25 stations will be distributed around the city's 5 burroughs, an idea that is sure to spread to other cities in the near future, so watch out for a mobile charging station near you soon.