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Los Angeles is the World’s First City to Deploy Smart Pole Street Lighting; Smart Lighting Includes Cell Tower Functionality PDF Print E-mail

We drive past them and rarely pay them any mind but they are everywhere. They are bright and now they are quickly getting smarter. They are light poles.


You may not think about it but light poles have been evolving since the 1400’s, from simple candles to gas lamps to incandescent bulbs to high-intensity sodium lamps.


We talk a lot about the Internet of Things and smart cities but, even as you are reading this post, the building blocks of these terms are becoming a reality. The Mayor of Los Angeles announced the Philips/Ericsson solution to smart lighting in a much-awaited press release. Being home to more streetlights than any other city in the US, LA was a perfect place to launch the new technology.


So now the streets will be brighter and the lamps will use less electricity. Now, the networks that transmit our texts, photos, videos, and phone calls will be more reliable and will carry more information. Is this what we call the smart city? Hardly. It’s just a start.


The true smart city will come when we take the near-term next step in leveraging the ubiquity of small cell integrated light poles and use these networks for self-driving cars and smart traffic, weather and air quality sensing, next gen alarms and emergency help signals, city monitoring and support, and of course 5G connectivity, which will accommodate 9X data traffic growth by 2020, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report. Our future is looking bright, yes, pun intended.


The City of Los Angeles (LA) will be the first city in the world to deploy 100 Philips Smart Poles which includes connected LED street lighting that includes fully integrated 4G LTE wireless telecommunications technology by Ericsson. The collaboration between Philips and Ericsson delivers on the latest Internet of Things (IoT) innovation and provides a double benefit to LA citizens: high quality, public lighting that is energy efficient as well as improved network performance in dense urban areas.

"The analog light pole has evolved right here in Los Angeles,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “L.A. is a world leader in LED street lights and has more poles than any other city in America. We are now taking advantage of previously untapped real estate to give our streets better broadband connectivity and future-ready infrastructure, while generating revenue for the city. This project shows what smart infrastructure can do for Los Angeles: create jobs, save tax payer dollars, and improve our environment."


This project expands on Philips’ existing relationship with the City of LA. Earlier this year, LA became the first city in North America to monitor and control its street lighting through Philips CityTouch, an advanced Philips streetlight asset management system that uses mobile and cloud-based technologies. Better lit streets contribute to safer streets, less accidents and deter crime while connected management of street lighting reduces further the amount of energy used and simplifies maintenance.


Amy Huntington, President of Philips Lighting Americas said: “The Philips Smart Pole technology proves its role as the backbone in an outdoor Internet of Things platform capable of delivering new services and value.  This is also fully aligned with many of Mayor Garcetti’s key priorities and outcomes by taking LED street lighting and turning it into a services hub that can adapt to the changing needs of a particular neighborhood over time.”


LED Lights

Everyday street lamps use a lot of power. In New York City, lighting uses approximately 295.5 million kWh, which costs $50 million a year. More and more cities are starting to retrofit street lights with energy-efficient LEDs.


The new lighting can save cities millions in energy and maintenance per year. LEDs also provide better light—a crisp white light that helps people to see more clearly at night. Compared to high-pressure sodium and metal-halide fixtures, LEDs are a more sustainable choice. LEDs last longer, which means fewer outages and lower maintenance costs. The wattage per bulb is also lower, so it costs less to run.


But better, cheaper lighting isn’t the whole story. LEDs are essentially electronic devices, so you can connect them to control systems.  With new integrated technologies infrastructure can be more than a wattage saver. It’s a gateway that can connect many Internet of Things technology solutions. These solutions can help municipalities provide a safer environment for its citizens.


Cell Traffic

With cellular data traffic expected to grow 9 times by 2020, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report, and current telecoms infrastructure struggling to respond to this demand, Philips Smart Poles are enabling seamless mobile wireless 4G/LTE connectivity, with the small cell technology from Ericsson housed in the poles to enable increased data capacity in the telecoms network.  Philips Smart Poles were specifically designed and tested to accept FCC licensed wireless mobile network operator equipment. This enables an alternative deployment methodology for 4G LTE broadband services which will connect each pole through a fiber link to its core network.


Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Unit Radio, Ericsson, said: “LA will be a role model for other smart cities that place sustainability and connectivity high on their agenda. As citizens, businesses and industries transform through mobility, cities have an increasingly important role to play as eco-system partners enabling the next wave of innovations that will bring us to 5G in 2020. Innovative solutions like Philips Smart Poles and Ericsson Zero Site that efficiently improve the performance of mobile networks will be necessary to address the growing demand from both smartphone users and the Internet of Things.”


Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg says: "This is a tremendous solution using ICT and partnerships to address the megatrend of urbanization. City populations are increasing at the rate of 7,500 people per hour, but our world is not geographically expanding. Meanwhile, our ConsumerLab research shows that internet connectivity is one of the top five factors for satisfaction in city life. This Zero Site solution is the kind of innovation that offers a way for people to succeed in the Networked Society."


For mobile network operators this innovation offers new possibilities to find the right site location. It also helps scale mobile wireless 4G/LTE infrastructure deployment beyond traditional sites. As a result operators can improve data coverage and capacity for citizens so there are no more signal dropouts.