- Published: 30 January 2023
Western Cape’s Saldanha Bay Municipality (SBM) is trialling smart poles to provide smart lighting and WiFi connectivity in localised areas near the poles.
This move forms part of the municipality’s ongoing efforts to turn SBM into a smart city, according to a statement.
The municipality, together with its private sector partner Zoom Fibre, installed the smart poles in various sites in Saldanha Bay.
They have been installed in Langebaan, Saldanha and Vredenburg. The poles operate via wind and PV solar power generation, allowing energy to be stored and used later.
Zoom Fibre, which is part of the Baobab project alongside the SBM municipality and Amoeba TSC, is managing the fibre network infrastructure.
Fibre is about more than just connecting to the internet, says Zoom Fibre MD Mohamed Asmal.
“Imagine smart poles that run off their own renewable energy with a brain so powerful that they can adjust their brightness if there is no one in the streets, they can proactively reduce crime and reactively lead to the capture and arrest of criminals, proactively manage traffic volumes, provide WiFi hotspots and so much more.”
While the current phase in Saldanha Bay Municipality is a pilot, Asmal states the idea is to rollout the smart poles across the entire municipality and eventually in other regions of the country. “We foresee smart poles wherever Zoom Fibre has a fibre network that can enable them.”
Beyond working towards the ability to recognise faces and people without capturing personal information, the smart poles would eventually have the functionality to be able to be proactive. They would raise alerts if suspicious people are seen gathering in the vicinity of a business or school, for example, and deploy security and alert the police, notes the statement.
“The internet of things and smart cities, in general, are changing the face of our world, and the analytical ability of these smart poles, which is enabled by our fibre, means SBM is leading the pack in South Africa,” adds Asmal.
The smart poles can also help solve the loss of cellphone coverage during load-shedding in the region.
“These smart towers could form bases for LTE providers to deliver connectivity to their customers without the fear of power cuts, as the poles themselves would be powered by solar panels and bi-directional turbines.”
Amid escalated power cuts by power utility Eskom, local municipalities are exploring alternative energy sources to keep the lights on.
Last week, City Power revealed it plans to deploy solar-powered street lights, to mitigate some of the challenges of load-shedding.
Eyewitness News reported that City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena stated the solar-powered street lights will contribute to keeping Joburg residents safe during evening load-shedding.
Quelle/Source: IT Web, 23.01.2023