MWC 2018: World’s first streetlight powered smart cell lights up

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Lighting up the IoT: Connected technology firm Ubicquia has shown off what it claims is the world’s first streetlight-powered smart cell, ahead of MWC 2018 in Barcelona.

The device, called Ubimetro, allows streetlights to become integrated components within a variety of IoT networks, using them both as power sources and transmission towers. It forms part of the company’s strategy to bring smart-city technology to the masses.

Ubimetro consists of an omni-directional antenna and NEMA socket plug. Ubicquia said the device can work with an estimated 300 million streetlights across the globe.

Revolutionary tech

Using the new system, technology companies and city officials alike will be able to expand their IoT infrastructures using street furniture that is already integrated into the built environment worldwide. It can also improve the overall capacity and efficiency of these networks, claimed the company, and be used in a number of vertical applications.

Under the hood is an FSM-based architecture developed by American chipmaker, Qualcomm. This can support mobile broadband, fibre, ethernet, broadband power line, and wireless backhaul.

The Florida-based tech firm said the device also comes with LAA and V-RAN technologies. These will be paramount in the development of 5G networks, they said.

In the US last year, AT&T struck a deal with GE to begin installing its Current CityIQ sensors in streetlights around the US. The aim was not just to provide smart lighting, but also to monitor traffic, parking, air quality, and extreme weather, and even listen for gunshots.

Transforming smart cities

Ubicquia CEO, Ian Aaron, said the firm is on a mission to revolutionise networking technology. “Our goal was to bring Ubimetro to market at a price point that would make it more attractive for operators, utilities, municipalities, and tower companies to create ultra-dense small cell networks,” he said.

“By leveraging the streetlight infrastructure and our plug-and-play installation, Ubimetro is able to give mobile operators a dedicated host and self-managed network with one of the industry’s lowest total cost of ownership and fastest times to market.”

Tre Zimmerman, CTO of Ubicquia, added that the company wants the device to become a core part of smart city developments all over the world. “We have overcome numerous design challenges to bring to market the first NEMA-socket-powered small cell that plugs into the top of a streetlight,” he said.

Zimmerman added: “Integrating fibre, ethernet, PLC, and wireless backhaul into Ubimetro means operators can deploy more quickly by leveraging a municipality’s or utility’s existing infrastructure.

“Ubimetro incorporates HeMS (HeNB Management System) software that provides operational, administration, maintenance, and provisioning [OAM & P] for the distributed HeNB devices.”

• Ubicquia will demonstrate the device at Mobile World Congress 2018, which takes place from 26 February 26th to 1 March, in Barcelona.

Internet of Business says

The race to turn existing infrastructure assets into components of a variety of different IoT networks is on. Streetlights no longer just light up our cities and road networks more efficiently, but may soon also provide illuminating data and monitoring facilities. By seeing them as powered towers that are located in every town across the globe, Ubicquia and others are helping to make our cities smarter and more efficient. Plus, the plug-and-play aspect of this new technology means that new types of network could be created on demand.

 

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