Don Bishop 2018-02-03 04:19:50
LED street lighting manufacturer Philips makes use of its trade with city governments to extend mobile and other wireless connectivity by integrating Ericsson small cell equipment with light poles. Not only is society changing, but so is technology, Bill McShane, national director of the Philips Connected City Experience lighting venture, said. Technology is rapidly advancing, and the period between one generation of technology and the next is narrowing, he said. A collaboration between Philips and Ericsson is delivering street lighting equipment that contains 4G LTE wireless technology intended to support the internet of things while providing energy-efficient public lighting and improved mobile network performance in dense urban areas. Phillips is a branch of Royal Philips Electronics, a Dutch technology company with a focus on health care, lifestyle and lighting. Ericsson is a Swedish company that makes information communications technology (ICT) equipment that carries 40 percent of the world’s mobile traffic, according to the company’s statistics. Speaking at the AGL Local Summit in Boston, McShane mentioned that operators are pursuing ways to offload communications traffic from their mobile networks and instead carry the traffic using alternative technologies in the 3.5-GHz band. In support of the operators, he said Philips has taken a unique approach. “The Philips Connected City Experience technology infrastructure is funded through a public-private partnership that we deliver to municipalities across the country as a service,” he commented. “We believe that this drives innovation, it creates jobs, it promotes economic development, and it also accelerates the LED technology that Philips brings to all the cities.” Philips calls the light poles that integrate lighting with communications equipment SmartPoles. The company’s first examples of integrated lighting appeared last year in Los Angeles, where the mayor said the city took advantage of previously untapped real estate to give its streets better broadband connectivity and future-ready infrastructure while generating revenue for the city. The project expanded Philips’ relationship Los Angeles, which became the first city in North America to monitor and control its street lighting through Philips CityTouch, an advanced Philips streetlight asset management system that uses mobile and cloud-based technologies. The idea is that streets with better lighting have vehicle collisions and less crime, and connected management of street lighting reduces the amount of energy used and simplifies maintenance. “Poles are reducing in size,” McShane said. “Poles are having a different aesthetic form factor. This evolution of the street poles, making them digital real estate, will continue.” Some municipalities have been extremely receptive, McShane said. “They’re looking for someone to bring financing. They’re looking for a partnership. They’re looking for a trusted advisor. And that’s what we bring when we talk to a city. We take the word partnership seriously. We negotiate permitting and work with the zoning, and then we bring our customers into the fold.” Other municipalities are seemingly incredulous about the possibilities, however. McShane said they don’t believe this wave of technology is coming, and they have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. In such instances, he said Philips brings experts with them to talk with city representatives. They try to educate municipal leaders and become a resource to help them meet the needs of residents, businesses and visitors who demand advanced mobile and interconnected wireless communications. He said cities are looking that wireless communications more as a utility. Cities embrace the Philips Connected City Experience lighting venture, McShane said, because of funding, aesthetics and wireless technology. “One thing that Philips is able to do is to bring capital,” he said. “We also bring an aesthetically- pleasing way to deploy wireless communications to meet the needs of the residents, businesses, and visitors. And then we’re also bringing LED technology, so it becomes almost a triple win for the cities. That’s why they embrace what we’re doing.” In developing its integrated lighting and communications products, Philips works with the wireless carriers, Ericsson and another electronics manufacturer, Nokia. Philips shows them its designs and works with them on radio-frequency (RF) planning. McShane said the process includes input from the carriers about the amount of equipment that needs to go into the light poles and the form factor that Philips is trying to bring to the cities. The proliferation of small cells throughout communities is building the backbone smart cities, McShane mentioned. He said it will lead to the internet of things and whatever that becomes. “That’s why, when you’re developing small cell solutions, they have to be future-proofed to take smaller equipment, more equipment and a variety of equipment within them,” he said. “This is going to keep evolving rapidly. We’re talking about 5G by 2020 or 2021. If you think about it, it’s not that far away.” McShane said Philips doesn’t become an infrastructure owner when it installs integrated lighting and wireless communications poles. “Once we install one of these stealth poles, the title goes back to the city, so we’re not in the business of owning poles,” he said. “We retain the right to lease the poles out. That’s our model, but it’s very possible that there could be other business models as this moves forward.” "Cities are looking for someone to bring financing. They’re looking for a partnership. They’re looking for a trusted advisor. And that’s what we bring when we talk to a city." — Bill McShane, national director of the Philips Connected City Experience lighting venture As for helping to shape the regulatory environment for small cells, McShane said Philips doesn’t get involved. “We leave legislations in the hands of the legislators,” he said “We believe that communities should have the right to have something that’s aesthetically-pleasing for them. So we’ll let this whole situation just kind of work its way through the process. We’ll see what comes out and we’ll adapt to that.”
Published by AGL Media Group LLC. View All Articles.