LEDs and small cells have come together in a cutting-edge, yet commonplace, component of everyday city life: streetlights. Two technology giants, Ericsson and Philips, are creating the next generation of energy-efficient street lighting, which also provides connections to wireless networks.
The combo light pole/small cell is the cornerstone of the “networked society,” according to Cecilia de Leeuw, product line site, Ericsson.
“We are turning the infrastructure of the city into a digital device,” de Leeuw said. “You can use the pole for powering your electric car, for example, or embed sensors into the pole, as well as connecting your smart phone or other digital device. There are a lot of things you can do going forward.”
The connected lighting solution, known as Zero Site, integrates telecom equipment into light poles enabling carriers to stealthily deploy small cells in an urban setting. In a lighting-as-a-service model, the municipality will be able to offer space within its connected lighting poles to network service providers for mobile broadband infrastructure. Carriers, working with Ericsson, will be able to rent space in the poles.
The small cells as a service model accelerates the payback time for city infrastructure by making the up-front costs of installing and managing the systems more affordable. Additionally, the city can see energy savings of up to 70 percent using the Philips LED street lighting.
“We are offering lighting as a service that scales with a city’s needs and enables city officials to offer residents a more connected, energy-efficient and safer urban environment, while preserving existing budgets and resources to improve the livability of their city,” Frans van Houten, president and CEO of Philips, said in a statement.