Philips Lighting has a new Smart Fusion Pole. It's being installed in Huntington Beach, California and it will provide both LED lighting and mobile connectivity. Bill McShane talked to TechRepublic Senior Writer Teena Maddox about this new concept stealth street pole.
Teena Maddox: How does the Smart Fusion Pole work?
Bill McShane: For Philips Lighting, it's about the acceleration of LED lighting, controls and connectivity. The concept is to help municipal customers realize sustainability- and energy-efficient goals and bringing connectivity to cities. This Smart Fusion Pole is a new concept developed by Philips and American Tower, and contains telecom equipment but it's dual tenancy, so it's a shared infrastructure. This is a brand new, state-of-the-art technology. An integrated antenna is included in the pole, as part of the pole structure, not mounted on the exterior, and it's another exciting piece of IP developed by Philips Lightning. We're bringing this new business model and value creation to our municipal customers.
Teena Maddox: Is Huntington Beach the first installation for the Smart Fusion Pole?
Bill McShane: Well first of all, Huntington Beach is a dynamic city, right? Located in Southern California, right by the coast, and it's moving into the technology world. If you step back and look at Huntington Beach, more than seven-million people visit during popular surfing and airplane shows. The city wanted to bring the LED technology, and make sure citizens, visitors and residents had connectivity during these large events, and, when events are over.
Teena Maddox: Are there other cities where the pole might be installed in the near future?
Bill McShane: Oh, absolutely. We are working with cities up and down the East Coast, the West Coast and the middle of the country. More installations are planned. The poles will be installed in Huntington Beach, around a September/October timeframe and continue to roll out this technology across the United States.
Teena Maddox: What are some of the advantages of the Smart Fusion Pole?
Bill McShane: Well, the main advantage is the combination, the integration of the LED lighting with new technology. Cities are changing. In fact, our whole society is changing. Look at this interview; we're doing it via wireless technology. Mobile data traffic is increasing. In fact, it's doubling every year. Cities are grappling with how to bring this technology to their residents and businesses but still being able to maintain their aesthetics. And this is what the Smart Fusion Pole allows is a combination of the city maintaining its aesthetics, being able to integrate the Philips LEDs and control technology and offering 4G, and eventually 5G, service to their residents.
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Teena Maddox: Can space on the pole be leased to cell service providers?
Bill McShane: Yes, that's one of the key components here. American Tower Corporation will lease the interior of the pole to the wireless carriers. Again, this pole is unique that it will have carrier A, carrier B, so this is dual or shared infrastructure, which again, lessens the amount of antennas and radio equipment that has to be installed throughout any city.
Teena Maddox: When will the poles be installed in Huntington Beach?
Bill McShane: Right now, they're being developed by Philips. The development process will end around the September timeframe. At that time, the American Tower Corporation will start to deploy the poles and they will deployed over a period 18 to 24 months throughout the city.
Teena Maddox: What will the cost savings be for the city?
Bill McShane: Well, for cities around the country, the cost savings is with the reduction in energy spending, when the LED lighting is installed. When LED lighting is installed, there's 50% cost reduction. And then when our state-of-the-art controls are installed, another 20%. So up to 70% energy savings with the LED lighting. With the Smart Poles, there are a lot of soft benefits to a city. There's reduced staff time to approve these installations and there's benefits that go beyond that for the cities.
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Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including People, W and Women's Wear Daily.