Ericsson, leading provider of communications technology and services, has joined forces with Royal Philips, the global leader in lighting, to launch a new connected LED street lighting model. Ericsson says the partnership will solve two major issues that cities are facing today: improving network performance in dense urban areas while providing high-quality, energy-efficient public lighting.
Philips and Ericsson combine the benefits of mobile connectivity and LED lighting in a ''lighting-as-a-service'' model for cities. It allows city authorities to offer space within their connected lightpoles to network service providers for mobile broadband infrastructure.
Through the Zero Site initiative, unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Philips will now offer cities LED street lighting that can include mobile telecoms equipment from Ericsson; mobile operators working with Ericsson for broadband infrastructure will be able to rent space inside the poles. This will enable mobile network operators to improve data coverage and capacity for citizens, resulting in enhanced mobile broadband services. The model also accelerates the payback time for city infrastructure, by reducing the up-front costs of installing and managing these systems, thereby reducing the strain on city budgets.
"This is a tremendous solution using ICT and partnerships to address the megatrend of urbanization," said Ericsson president and CEO Hans Vestberg. "City populations are increasing at the rate of 7,500 people per hour, but our world is not geographically expanding. Meanwhile, our ConsumerLab research shows that Internet connectivity is one of the top five factors for satisfaction in city life. This Zero Site solution is the kind of innovation that offers a way for people to succeed in the Networked Society."
Philips’ LED street lighting can generate energy savings of 50 to 70 percent, with savings reaching 80 percent when coupled with smart controls, according to a study conducted by The Climate Group in 12 of the world's largest cities. The study also showed that citizens prefer the white light of LED lighting, citing a greater sense of safety and improved visibility compared to the orange glow of traditional high-pressure sodium systems.
Frans van Houten, president and CEO of Philips, says: "This new connected LED street lighting model is another example of us bringing the Internet of Things to life and demonstrates the capabilities of light beyond illumination. We are offering lighting as a service that scales with a city's needs and enables city officials to offer their citizens a more connected, energy efficient and safer urban environment, while preserving existing budgets and resources to improve the livability of their city."
To meet the demand for coverage and capacity, mobile operators need to improve, densify and add many more radio cell sites in dense areas. The new connected street light pole, designed to house Ericsson's suite of small cell products, offers network operators new possibilities to find the right site location. It will also help to scale the deployment of mobile broadband technology beyond traditional sites — a key enabler for evolving heterogeneous networks.
At SB '13 last June, Philips Lighting's Natasha Davidson detailed the company's initiative to create "community light centers," which illuminate 1,000 square miles of parts of rural Africa without electricity via high-powered LED lamps powered by solar panels and batteries, providing evening lighting some 560 million African citizens who live in these off-grid areas.
Speaking of the Internet of Things — in January, German electronics giant Bosch announced it has expanded its offering beyond the design of home appliances to form a new company, Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions GmbH, for the Internet of Things and services. The company said it will supply compact electronic products and software expertise designed to make devices and objects intelligent and web-enabled across a broad range of applications. It will initially focus on sensor-based applications for intelligently networked homes, or “smart homes,” as well as for activities in the fields of traffic, transportation and logistics.