It seems like every city wants to implement Internet access points in every nook and cranny, and Los Angeles is taking a step further toward that goal by being the first to deploy 100 units of Philips' SmartPoles — street lights fitted with Ericsson's 4G LTE wireless connectivity with small cell technology.
At first glance, it looks like some sort of tacky and futuristic street light. Well, it might as well be described as such because of the integrated 4G LTE wireless technology and grayish finish. It's the result of the collaboration between Ericsson and Philips.
Not only will the SmartPoles be smaller, but they will also deliver better connectivity than huge cell towers, not to mention that they're equipped with LED bulbs for energy efficiency. Think of them as mini cell towers everywhere that provide lighting to boot.
But that's not all that the SmartPoles are for, though, as President of Philips Lighting Americas Amy Huntington has a vision for the future, and it's full of possibilities.
"The Philips SmartPole 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," Huntington says in a statement.
With the ever-growing technology at hand, big cell towers just don't seem to cut it anymore because the number of users is steadily increasing, crowding them up. With the SmartPoles, the demand would be spread among them, resulting in a generally faster connectivity.
"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 [I]nternet 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," Hans Vestberg, Ericsson president and CEO, says in a blog post.
This is only the beginning for Los Angeles, as the city can potentially install the technology in 120,000 street lights in its vicinity.