We wanted to take a minute to share a cool industry story we’re following that involves the internet of things, LEDs, and Europe. Have we piqued your interest? It’s definitely an initiative we thought worth sharing. So without any further delay, here’s something game-changing to look for in the near future: 4G and LTE network capability on your street lights. According to LEDInside.com, the new LED light poles called “smart poles” are being brought to market in a joint effort by Philips Lighting and Ericsson. The technology combines LED lighting expertise from Philips with the “small cell,” “high-speed broadband” network capability from Ericsson. The design involves an integrated antenna and is driven by an expected increase in mobile device use. The companies are focusing on the European market but the first city to actually adopt the technology is Los Angeles. If initial roll out is successful, there’s little doubt you could see the new smart poles being adopted in other major metropolitan areas around the United States and the world.
Combining LED pole lights with smart technology and access to benefit consumers
The technology features the ability to adjust pole height, color, and luminaire style providing significant flexibility to suit a wide variety of tastes and to suit currently installed footprints. Perhaps the most important advance, however, is that the smart pole offers current mobile network providers a solution for increasingly difficult to acquire cell sites in congested areas. With demand for cellular data expected to increase nine times by 2020, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report, the smart pole could become a major medium to meet the growing demand. In general the smart pole is likely to expand and improve broadband coverage and capacity in the typically highly trafficked areas in which it is likely to be adopted.
Here’s what two leaders from the various companies involved had to say:
According to LEDInside.com: Nishant Batra, Head of Network Infrastructure Products at Ericsson says: “Philips lightpole site, with fully integrated Ericsson small cells, enables mobile operators to deploy dozens or hundreds of cell sites quickly and easily, making it possible to upgrade large areas with minimal disruption while delivering superior outdoor connectivity and app coverage to their subscribers.”
Christoph Herzig, Head of Venture at Philips Lighting states, “the digital transformation of public spaces is accelerating rapidly – from historic town centers to neighborhoods to large urban areas. Today’s civic leaders want to meet the needs of the people they serve by creating connected, protected environments that are smart and efficient today, and that take advantage of all emerging technologies in the future.”
According to Philips: 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 SmartPoles 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.”
Why have innovators chosen LED pole lights for the SmartPoles?
When creating new technology (or using older technology in newer ways), it’s important to incorporate the best elements that you can. In addition to the increased mobile network and ability to make customized adjustments, the bulbs themselves use LED technology - not conventional lighting like you typically see for street lighting. So what’s the difference?
Read our popular LED versus High Pressure Sodium Lights blog
Many previous street lighting applications used high pressure sodium (HPS) pole lights. These are generally recognizable by the yellow light they give off (to learn more about color rendering, read here), and they are very common. Some of the most tangible drawbacks to HPS lights, however, are that they have flickering failure characteristics and impede color vision at night. Both of these scenarios can have negative impacts on drivers, so the switch to LED pole lights is not just based on efficiency, reduced maintenance, and higher quality lighting, but safety as well.
How do LED pole lights perform in terms of efficiency and maintenance?
One of the greatest drawbacks to the current HPS street lighting situation that many cities have in place is that a lot of the energy produced is wasted, resulting in higher costs. This is because a lot of conventional lighting technologies emit light in 360 degrees. Fixtures are then used to direct or reflect the light to where it is desired or needed, but there is still light being produced in all directions. Moreover, much of the energy created with conventional lighting is wasted as heat emissions instead of light emissions. Differences in the way LED pole lights generate and distribute light makes them more efficient, which is why they’re a great choice for cities looking to become more sustainable and energy conscious.
LED pole lights also require less maintenance, and trust us, this is a money-saver as well! The lifetime of LED bulbs is four to forty times longer than conventional bulbs, so right off the bat there are realized maintenance savings. Not only that, but consider the expense involved in changing pole lights, which are often in excess of 15 feet high. Even simple maintenance changes usually require the use of a bucket truck or hydraulic lift. Even if SmartPoles will descend to a height that does not require a bucket truck, the reduced maintenance required based on lifespan alone makes LED pole lights a good solution for every municipality.
It makes perfect sense to be utilizing LED technology in SmartPoles that also incorporate access to mobile networks and customizable lighting solutions. LED lighting is especially appropriate for applications where pole lights are utilized because of their energy efficiency and reduced maintenance requirements.
It’s great to see some really innovative stuff happening in the world of lighting. We’re happy to be your source of LED expertise in the eastern United States. If there is an opportunity to improve your lighting please reach out to Stouch Lighting for a complimentary consultation.