Smart Street Lighting Pole: A Platform for Smart City Applications

Smart street lighting pole

The world is rapidly moving towards massive urbanisation, which will create a huge socio-economic and environmental challenge for urban planners to create sustainable and resilient smart cities. Furthermore, the civic authorities across the globe are grappling with the metabolism of urbanisation, which has created an urban heat island, solid waste management and air pollution problems. And increased frequencies of climate change-related extreme weather events (urban flood) have exacerbated the vulnerability of existing urban infrastructure. In that sense, the world needs disaster-proof physical and digital civic infrastructure to provide uninterrupted civic services to the citizen all the time.

Began as a tool to reduce energy cost, fight light pollution, and enhance the safety of motorist and pedestrians, smart street light (infrastructure) pole has now become a stepping stone for a future-proof digital infrastructure to deliver all the smart city applications (such as smart traffic management, smart parking, smart waste management services, and smart security) on a single platform. As integrated concealed antennas offer 4G/ 5G services from multiple carriers, the smart poles can act as IT service nodes to augment and strengthen mobile broadband connectivity, ensure 100% coverage in the dense urban setting where cellular technology is often unavailable, reduce operational costs, improve service reliability and function as a platform for future IoT applications. It can also upgrade Wi-Fi connectivity to improve wireless connectivity in the interiors of urban centres eliminating potential dead zones, meet capacity, demands driven by rapidly evolving consumer data consumption.

The street pole can measure water level in a nearby gully in case of a flood. By providing Wi-Fi connectivity to dustbins located nearby the street light pole, it enhances the efficiency of the smart waste management system. The smart pole can also display advertisements and a citizen-centred interactive kiosk to provide civic centric information on digital billboards.

#Smart poles can also accommodate sensors, CCTV cameras and microphones to prevent burglary, petty crime and enhance citizen security. The microphones could detect sounds such as a gunshot or car crash and promptly alert the relevant authorities, saving precious time for first responders.

A citywide intelligent lighting network can feed local information to the smartphones of citizens and visitors via Bluetooth. By using a downloadable app, smartphone users can access location-based services, such as smart parking (guiding drivers for vacant parking), smart navigation(diverting drivers from slow-moving traffic to fast-moving traffic) and commercial information about local retailers. It can also act as a smart EV electric vehicle charging point using solar panels. By monitoring environmental indicators such as temperature, humidity, emission of greenhouse gases (such as CO2, NO2, SO2), PM 2.5(Particulate Matter)and PM 10, Smart pole can monitor the urban heat island effect and ambient air quality.

As the world is moving from the IT Age to the IoT age, huge digital infrastructure is needed to address last-mile connectivity and a huge flow of heterogeneous IoT data. In that context, a smart pole can be a boon for civic authority to roll out relevant civic service on these platforms, provided that it overcome interoperability challenges to integrate heterogeneous systems, technology, networks and devices.

By  Nikson Mogaria   |  March 23, 2021