The Fate Of The Smart Lamp Pole Industry Should Not Be Tied To 5G

- May 06, 2019-

In 2019, 5G has become an indispensable place for all countries in the world to compete for the competition of science and technology. As a new generation of urban information infrastructure including charging piles, video surveillance, environmental protection monitoring, lamp pole screen and other modules, smart lamp pole not only shoulders the breakthrough of smart city construction, but also will become an important part of the future 5G base station construction.


Because 5G base stations have the need to use high frequency communication and support large capacity and high speed, the 5G era will require a large number of small base stations to complete more intensive network coverage.


From the objective point of view, whether the promotion of smart city is successful or not is closely related to the popularity of Internet of Things devices, the maturity of broadband network deployment, and the data transmission capacity and operation capacity of cloud data center. Therefore, the deployment of 5G base station through street lamp pole will hopefully lead to the accelerated landing of smart city, and will also be closely related to the transformation and development of 5G era.


Internet of Things Boosts the Wave of Intelligent City Construction


Take Barcelona, Spain, as an example, which is a model of European smart cities, as early as 2008, it began its early planning of smart cities, including urban planning and infrastructure construction to promote the wisdom of infrastructure; monitoring technology is applied to waste disposal and smart street lighting to improve treatment efficiency and achieve energy efficiency.


Many Asian countries have further constructed the blueprint of "Smart City" through information development policies, such as "U-City Smart City" in South Korea, "I-Japan Smart City" in Japan, MSC (Multimedia Super Corridor) promoted by Malaysia, and "Smart Nation" in Singapore. Among them, Singapore has improved traffic congestion and traffic congestion through a number of intelligent transportation systems. Flow problem ranks among the top smart cities in the world.


On the other hand, the pace of development of China's smart cities is accelerating.


Since the 12th Five-Year Plan, China has made the construction of new urbanization a key development project, and encouraged cities to speed up the construction of smart city management systems, including the establishment of pilot subsidy schemes for smart cities, and to make every effort to promote smart transportation, energy and monitoring applications.


For example, Taipei and Taoyuan will promote the introduction of smart street lights in 2019. Among them, Taoyuan plans Qingpu as a test site for smart city, while Taipei uses the smart street lamp network as a powerful Internet of Things platform to import smart lighting, safety warning, traffic and flow counting, parking space monitoring, environmental monitoring and digital billboard information broadcasting functions.


According to the plan, Taipei will build 12,600 intelligent street lamps in five administrative regions in 2019, and it is expected to gradually expand to the whole of Taipei in three years, with a total of more than 110,000 intelligent street lamps.


Smart light pole 5G networked outpost


In the blueprint for the development of smart cities, street lights will be the central nerve for the city to transmit information. According to a report released by the American Wireless Communications and International Network Association (CTIA) in 2017, urban street lights will be an important infrastructure in the 5G era.


However, it is understood that the current range of urban street lights is about 20 to 30 meters, and the spacing of 5G base stations is about 100 to 200 meters. In other words, not every street light needs to be mounted on the base station, and it needs to be adjusted according to the coverage requirements.


In addition, the government owns the property of the lamppost. When the base station is placed on the pole, due to the increase of the current, the old pole must be subjected to cable reforming, power system configuration, etc., while the load capacity, wind resistance and mechanical structure are stable. Content must also be taken into account.


When the streetlight poles start to hang various monitoring devices, such as environmental monitoring, monitoring equipment and IoT devices, if there is no perfect integration plan, the scenes of various "hermit crabs" attached to the poles will appear. Taking into account the urban landscape will also become an important issue.


The more practical problem is that the funds and budget are limited. In recent years, the local governments have been encouraged to adopt a "multiple-in-one" social resource to build and share. However, relevant industry officials admit that although the government has specific targets for the promotion of 5G and has pilot programs in many cities, it is still difficult to apply a large number of applications in the short term. The reason is that the smart light poles used in the pilot are expensive, so the basis The re-construction of the construction will inevitably involve huge expenditures. It is estimated that about 240,000 streetlight poles in Shenzhen will be transformed into "multi-bar integration", and the initial calculation cost will be as high as RMB 50 billion.


The infrastructure is expensive. The business model needs to be established.


It is worth exploring that the promotion of smart cities does not have to pass 5G. Although the basic functions of smart street lights need to be connected to the network, whether it is real-time traffic flow or security monitoring, environmental monitoring and other functions, through 4G LTE with NB-IoT ( Narrowband Internet of Things technology is still available. In other words, the smart city landing and 5G can't just be taken for granted. The biggest problem in implementing 5G is still whether the image transmission speed can be greatly improved, but if it is difficult to find a suitable business model, it will be difficult to recover huge amounts of money.


Although the outside world is full of good ideas for 5G and smart cities, the reality is that government funds and budgets are limited. After a small-scale pilot introduction, if you want to carry out large-scale and comprehensive promotion, you must first solve who pays and How to recover the cost problem. What kind of substantial benefits can be added by urban intelligence, and how much money the government can save is also a problem at this stage.


Perhaps the government, manufacturers and civilian funds through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) or Private Finance Initiative (PFI) model will have the opportunity to bring a win-win solution, but participants or only It is a small number of financially healthy companies: they must be able to support the transition phase of “investing first and then recycling” and then profit from energy efficiency and performance services.


In addition, the key to 5G promotion lies in the attitude of telecom operators. The dilemma facing operators today is that the 4G penetration rate has entered saturation, and as smartphone growth slows down, voice calls or networked charges are unlikely to bring revenue growth momentum, and a new wave of replacement is brought about by the 5G effect. The tide and application demand are regarded as market special effects drugs, but the 5G investment is huge, and the recovery period is unpredictable in the future. When the infrastructure construction is completed, what kind of business model should be used to make a profit. It seems that the prospect is still ambiguous.


Smart cities can't just be castles in the air or limited to small-scale test scenarios. The benefits of 5G bringing smart networking and urban transformation are visible and can be expected. However, the transformation of smart light poles must first solve the problem of the era of infrastructure construction. It also needs to be paired with 5G technology and mature commercial operation environment to get rich returns.