- American Tower Corporation (ATC) and Philips Lighting have partnered to develop Smart Fusion Poles, which will soon be rolled out in 200 existing light pole locations across Huntington Beach, CA.
- The Smart Fusion Poles act as high-quality LED light posts as well as concealed integrated antennas for increased wireless broadband connectivity. The poles were aesthetically designed to blend "seamlessly into the urban landscape," according to a press statement.
- The poles are optimized for small cell deployment and will enable Huntington Beach to support 5G connectivity and various IoT applications.
As local governments develop plans to make their cities smarter, many are focusing on lighting fixtures as a starting point. Navigant Research reports that the global market for smart street lighting will grow to $6.9 billion by 2026, and cities including Washington, DC and Portland, ME have already begun to transform lighting as a way to push their cities toward a more sustainable future.
Adding broadband connectivity to these lighting fixtures is the next step in smart lighting development, especially as cities begin to prepare for 5G deployment. Philips and ATC have strived to do this in a way that can be ubiquitously rolled out. In a September 2017 interview with Smart Cities Dive, Philips executive Bill McShane explained, "The big thing is removing urban clutter and not changing the cities' landscapes. Keeping the aesthetics of the neighborhood and yet providing all the services that the residents, businesses and visitors are demanding."
Huntington Beach is an interesting selection for the inaugural roll out of the poles; however due to the city's inherent attractiveness, it's a prime test bed to collect reaction from the public — if the public even notices the new poles. In a statement, Huntington Beach Mayor Mike Posey explained he is excited to "maintain the aesthetics of this beautiful seaside city," and praised the opportunity to push the city toward a smart future "without sacrificing [its] beauty and vista."
ATC and Philips have touted their strong alliance for delivering smart city solutions, noting that ATC brings strategic real estate and financial strength while Philips is a leader in connected lighting and in government relationships. Assuming a successful roll out in Huntington Beach, the Smart Fusion Poles are likely to pop up in more cities nationwide.