Smart Poles – A chance or a must for the Smart City?
The development of Smart Cities is a major trend in City planning and management. According to IDC, the worldwide spending on Smart City Initiatives will grow to 158bln USD in 2022.
A Smart Cities is using intelligent, IoT based solutions to optimize the infrastructure and services for the benefit of the citizens, the environment and the generations to come. This might result in better intelligence about whats going on in the City, but also more direct and precise information to the citizens about whats going on and how the next traffic collaps can be avoided.
A Smart City is using all its sensors and data sources to make better decisions for the benefit of the citizens as well as for the environment and city resource usage.
Nowadays, most cities have some – mostly proprietary and vertical – sensor infrastructures in place. The respective Field- and Control-Infrastructure can in most of the cases hardly be integrated into a holistic City Management System, considering all sources of data to elaborate a powerful and real-time decision support platform. This is where modern, IoT based infrastructures unfold the potential. And it must be remembered: the technology driver is mainly in the software.
What is now a Smart Pole?
A Smart Pole is a Light, Sensor and Communication Hub, enriching the existing infrastructure. Based on its rich communication capabilities (like 4G LTE / 5G / LoRA / etc.) a Smart Pole supports a wide range of IoT base applications and is certainly also a source of street light.
The Pole is allowing to embed a rich variety of sensors, allowing the different data / information recipients to get a more comprehensive situational picture to make faster and more solid decisions. Some examples:
- the city-wide air pollution measuring network is providing important information to direct the traffic and to protect the citizens
- Emergency Response Units can get a real-time situation while rushing to the site, including Audio and Video information. It can include a pattern based triggering of alarming, as well as a lighting up of the scene and a start of a recording
- a radar sensor infrastructure can provide a situational impression of the nature of traffic, allowing a precise traffic control and direction
The Lighting Infrastructure of the Pole is fulfilling the normal requirements to a modern LED street light, as well as the provision of situational lighting as explained above.
The last element of the Smart Pole is the provision of information to Public (Broadcast) or to selective end devices (Unicast), either by devices mounted on the pole (i.e. screens / Intercom / etc.) or by triggering an device over wireless networking (NFC / Bluetooth / WiFi / etc.)
It’s all about Data
Smart Poles can add a lot of value to the growing Smart City Infrastructure. But all of this value is directly dependent on the quality of the Data Model and subsequent software infrastructure: what is the reason and the targets for building the infrastructure and who is contributing / profiting in what way from the gained data and information?
if these fundamental points have been clarified, then the Smart Pole Infrastructure will only its real value.