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Smart pole lights the way

Smart pole will enable a wide range of evolving smart city applications that harness the potential of the Internet of Things




A CAD rendering of the smart pole on to an image of the New York skyline
A CAD rendering of the smart pole on to an image of the New York skyline

American Tower Corporation, a wireless infrastructure provider, and Philips Lighting, has forged an alliance to co-develop a smart light pole that will also improve wireless broadband access in dense urban areas.


The collocation ready, 4G/5G enabled LED smart light pole for use in roadways, streets and parking lots, combines a mini cell tower with built-in telecommunication equipment, antennas and radios with a connected street light. The pole can also be equipped with sensors.


According to market research firm, Strategies Unlimited, less than 1 per cent of around 44 million light poles on US streets and roadways, are connected. The new smart pole is designed to take advantage of a city’s existing real estate and collocate services from multiple wireless carriers in a single pole, the companies said.


Smart poles are designed to help them deliver new and future digital applications including enhanced emergency services, acoustic sensing, air quality monitoring and autonomous vehicle navigation.


“As the demand for wireless broadband continues to grow in urban centres, wireless carriers need a repeatable, scalable way to densify networks fast,” said Steven Marshall, president US Tower, a division of American Tower Corporation.


“Our alliance with Philips Lighting brings wireless carriers access to premium pre-approved sites, with a smart pole that aesthetically blends into urban locations, delivering wireless broadband hidden in plain sight.”


The design of the new smart pole will incorporate a range of technological capabilities into a form factor that will blend into a variety of different cityscapes.


Equipped with a fully integrated antenna, the new smart pole will collocate multiple wireless carriers in a single structure and can accommodate a variety of radio configurations from various major OEMs, the companies report.


Multiple wireless carriers can install radio equipment including 4G and 5G small cell radio equipment with the plug-and-play design.


Additionally, the lighting on each smart pole can be monitored and managed remotely to optimise energy savings and reduce maintenance costs using Philips’ CityTouch connected street lighting management system.


“Lighting is an essential part of the urban landscape and one of the most valuable assets to help accelerate cities’ digital transformation,” added Olivia Qiu, chief innovation officer at Philips Lighting.


“Our alliance with the largest provider of wireless infrastructure in the US will support the growth of our street lighting business in this important market.”


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