The Virginia Smart Community Testbed, the state’s “living laboratory” to test new smart technology, recently launched an energy efficient, broadband connectivity smart pole as a new pilot project for smart community solutions. The first phase installation, which includes the BrightSites Smart Pole and Broadband Luminaires by Signify was completed on April 23 and is located on the Stafford County Government Center campus.
The broadband solution, BrightSites Smart Poles and Broadband Luminaires, lets communities deploy a next-generation smart city connectivity grid with smart lighting that comprises gigabit technology, streamlined broadband fiber and wireless technologies that show how cities can expand internet access quickly and improve public services and safety.
The smart poles have a single high-intensity, energy efficient LED light, unlike a standard wooden utility pole. Netherlands-based company Signify, one of the project partners, manufactured the light, which provides high-quality nighttime visibility and security, the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reports. There’s also a device midway up the pole that carries a Wi-Fi signal to let people access high-speed internet in areas they might not normally have a signal.
“It makes a whole Wi-Fi network out of all the poles in an area,” David Ihrie, CTO and Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC), told the Free Lance-Star. “It can provide access to the Internet outside, or in a parking lot, in parks, that kind of thing.”
“Stafford is proud to be the home of the testbed for the Commonwealth and to be the host for this exciting pilot project,” said John Holden, director of economic development and tourism for Stafford County.
Virginia Smart Community Testbed and VIPC picked the smart pole pilot project to test innovative approaches to energy efficiency, while extending broadband solutions. The project shows how to deploy broadband in urban, suburban and rural regions of Stafford County and Virginia.
The smart community solution will also support Internet of Things (IoT) applications such as cameras, environmental sensors, intelligent lighting and traffic-congestion monitors. The testbed’s broadband project validates solutions that help bridge the digital divide, foster economic growth, conserve energy, save taxpayer dollars, and accelerate broadband access and modernize government services.
“Fostering innovation and improving secure public internet access is important to enhancing the lives of Virginians,” Ihrie said. “This innovative smart city technology will give cities and rural communities throughout Virginia the opportunity to stay connected, be safer, and work smarter.”
Cisco, Express-Tek, NFF and TRAXyL are also among the project partners that participated in the project’s deployment.
“We’re honored to be part of this historic evolution and have the testbed as our first deployment of Broadband Luminaires in North America,” said Malik Ishak, Director, Smart City Connectivity at Signify North America. “Our solution provides scalable gigabit speed connectivity in an aesthetic manner through existing lighting grids which both extend and complement physical fiber wirelessly in the last mile of cities for broadband and IoT.”
The Virginia Smart Community Testbed is the first smart city testbed involving an IoT platform fully integrated with 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and other new and emerging technologies. It is a “shared knowledge platform” to develop practical and relevant smart technologies solutions.