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US firms partner on 4G-5G LED ‘smart poles’ to accelerate cities digital transformation

US wireless infrastructure provider American Tower Corporation and Philips Lighting have formally announced that they will collaborate and combine their expertise in an effort to co-develop a 'smart light pole' - that will improve wireless connectivity in dense urban areas.

4G/5G enabled LED 'smart light poles' would likely be erected on roadways, streets and parking lots in urban areas all across the US - and has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of cities on a nationwide scale once commercially deployed.

It has been disclosed that the 4G/5G LED 'smart light poles' has a mini cell tower with built-in telecommunication equipment, antennas and radio with a connected street lights, and the pole can also be equipped with sensors.

Research which was conducted by Strategies Unlimited has found that less than 1% of the 44 million light poles on US streets and roadways are 'connected'. So there is a massive gap in the market for the introduction of 4G/5G LED 'smart light poles'. A spokesman for Strategies Unlimited said a new 'smart pole' was specifically designed to take advantage and exploit the city's existing real estate and collocate services from multiple wireless carriers in a single pole.

Smart Poles have been designed in order to deliver new digital applications included enhanced first responder and emergency services, acoustic sensing, air quality monitoring and autonomous vehicle navigation. Steven Marshall, President of US Tower, which is a division of American Tower Corporation expressed his excitement at the partnership between his firm and Philips Lighting and said the 'smart light poles' will deliver new wireless solutions and applications to urban areas all over the US.

Marshall said, "As the demand for wireless broadband continues to grow in urban centers, wireless carriers need a repeatable, scalable way to densify networks fast. Our alliance with Philips Lighting brings wireless carriers access to premium pre-approved sites, with a smart pole that aesthetically blends into urban locations, delivering wireless broadband hidden in plain sight."

It has been disclosed by manufacturers of the innovative product that the new 'smart pole' will incorporate a range of technological capabilities into a form factor that will blend into a variety of different cityscapes. In addition to this, it has been claimed that multiple wireless carriers can install radio equipment including 4G and 5G small cell radio equipment with the plug-and-play design.

The 'Philips City-Touch' connected street lighting management system allows the lighting on each 'smart pole' to be monitored and managed in a bid to optimize energy savings and reduce costs. Chief Innovation Officer at Philips Lighting, Olivia Qiu also expressed her delight at the new collaboration and reiterated that 'smart lighting' is a critical part of the new urban landscape and said the market represented huge opportunities for growth.

She said: "Lighting is an essential part of the urban landscape and one of the most valuable assets to help accelerate cities' digital transformation. Our alliance with the largest provider of wireless infrastructure in the US will support the growth of our street lighting business in this important market."