Cellular data traffic is growing at a heck of a rate. Indeed, Philips expects it to increase 900 percent by 2020 – and so the infrastructure to handle it must grow too. With street lights being ubiquitous in towns and cities, they provide a good basis for that infrastructure.
Philips developed the SmartPoles in partnership with Ericsson, which provides the small cell technology for the 4G LTE output. In LA, they will be connected to a core network via a fiber link. The poles will work with any mobile operator. Operators can rent space in the poles for installing radio and antenna gear to either ‘densify’ their network or increase the data capacity of their networks in certain areas.
Not only will LA become the first city in the world to make use of the technology, but it had already become the first city in North America to monitor and control its street lighting using Philips CityTouch. CityTouch allows users to monitor and control a city's lighting, showing how much energy is being used by certain lights or groups of lights and what their remaining lifespans are, as well as allowing lighting to be brightened and scheduled to turn on and off.
"LA is a world leader in LED street lights and has more poles than any other city in America," says city mayor Eric Garcetti. "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."
In addition to providing improved connectivity, the SmartPoles will help to deliver 70 percent energy savings over traditional street lights, along with cost savings through improved monitoring and maintenance capabilities.
Three quarters of the planned SmartPoles in LA are scheduled to be rolled out in the next 3-4 months, with the remainder to follow later.