Smart cities are under development, and there are a lot of fun and exciting announcements being made for them. You may not be so keen to hear about how street lights are getting smart, but the truth is, these might be the key to connecting entire cities!
How Street Lamps May Help
As an Antenna
Imagine this: what if we make street lamps antenna for other services? They’re tall and placed on every main road, so they’re fantastic choices for carrying signals. This is exactly how street lamps may get smarter in the future.
Smart Cities World reported on the Signify BrightSites IoT Pole, a new design that allows the mundane street lamps to become a key part of connecting smart cities together. These posts can carry 4G, 5G, and/or Wi-Fi signals to help people on the street connect to the Internet.
That’s not all, however; imagine how houses next to an IoT pole can benefit from these. Not only will the home have a strong external signal to the Internet, but smart devices within the home can also piggyback off these poles in order to upload their data.
As an Environmental Detector
But why stop at turning our street lamps into signal boosters? Why not also make them smarter by giving them a job to do: namely, detecting what’s going on around it?
Add some environmental sensors to detect air quality, and cameras to monitor pedestrian and vehicle traffic. You can even add microphones to listen for potentially anti-social behavior to help law enforcement.
“We’ve significantly upgraded our smart pole’s connectivity capabilities, including digital sensors and stronger Wi-Fi for local connectivity. Concealed integrated antennas offer 4G and 5G services from multiple carriers,” said Musa Unmehopa, a manager of BrightSites.
“This delivers on the promise of the smart city of the future – transforming the humble streetlight into a platform for delivering smart city services.”
How Smart Street Lamps Will Help Smart Cities
One of the bigger challenges for building the smart city is getting the foundations set for transmitting all the data being sent. It’s all well and good if you have smart traffic lights detecting the road traffic, but if it can’t beam its information back home, what good is its data?
By using the normally-mundane street lamps as a hotspot for connections, it changes them from a money-draining necessity to a skeleton for a larger network. Not only will these lights illuminate the way, but they can also support all the devices that require a connection to talk to a home server.
As such, this could be a great way to solve many problems in one go. Instead of simply rolling out more cables or antennas dedicated to IoT devices, cities can update their street lights to also monitor their surroundings and supply pedestrians with an Internet connection.
Walk this Way
The idea of “smart street lights” may seem like a strange novelty at first, but they’re anything but. If done well, they can be the backbone of a larger world of IoT. Whether it’s transmitting Wi-Fi and 4/5G signals or monitoring the area around it, these smart poles are anything but boring!
Do you think these smart street lights are the future? Let us know below.