Text: Leena Koskenlaakso | Photos: Timo Porthan
The LuxTurrim5G project has developed the concept of a light pole equipped with smart IoT features that also doubles as a 5G mobile network base station. A 5G test network built with smart poles is being tested in Espoo.
High-speed 5G communications networks with enormous data transfer capacity require more base stations located closer to each other.
VTT is involved in the large LuxTurrim5G research project, where several companies and universities as well as the city of Espoo are studying the use of smart light poles as base stations in the new 5G networks to be built. The project is also investigating the smart city services and new business opportunities that can be created using smart poles.
Sensors attached to the smart light poles as well as surveillance and video cameras produce a wide range of data on the surrounding weather and road conditions, passing vehicles and pedestrians on the street. The data collected by the sensors and cameras can help improve traffic safety and the sense of security experienced by city residents. Drones using the smart poles as charging stations can aid in traffic surveillance.
Interactive info displays on the poles, equipped with cameras, can detect someone approaching the display and provide guidance for passers-by. They could be shown weather quality information, for instance, or the current location of an automated bus.
A 5G network built with smart poles is currently being tested in the Karaportti area in Espoo.
VTT is studying several topics in the LuxTurrim5G project, such as connecting large 5G network antenna groups to radio devices that can change the direction of the antennas as required for transferring growing amounts of data. Researchers are also studying the applicability of 5G network cells for the positioning required in robot cars, as well as the effect of different building materials and structures on the passage of 5G signals from the outdoors into buildings and vice versa. We are also working on the service platform needed for smart pole networks as well as storage, processing and distribution solutions for the data provided by various IoT devices.
VTT is also involved in investigating the service concepts and business opportunities that could be created with the 5G network. Constructing the communications infrastructure is very expensive, and creating a dense smart pole/base station network may require new business models and actors.
The smart light pole solution developed in the LuxTurrim5G project was presented at the VTT GrowthLab event in Helsinki in January.