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LuxTurrim5G ecosystem builds the smart city of the future

Nokia Bell Labs-driven industry group is building key enablers for fast 5G network based on smart light poles, which will form the digital backbone of future smart cities.

The LuxTurrim5G ecosystem project has developed the 5G smart pole concept where 5G base stations, a variety of different sensors, video cameras, displays and other devices have been integrated to light poles. This creates a novel platform providing fast, low latency mobile communications and possibilities to exploit a huge amount of data to make new digital services for smart cities. The solutions have been piloted already during the last two years at Nokia Campus in Espoo, Finland, and now the plans are to expand the piloting to the real environment in Kera region of Espoo.

Our society and cities face great challenges to improve safety, energy efficiency, air quality, the effectivity of transportation and quality of living. There is a growing need for a new generation digital service infrastructure for smart cities which enables improved data capacity for citizens and new service and business opportunities for companies. However, the capacity of mobile networks will be far too insufficient already in a few years due to the increased number of users and new digital services built and planned. This creates a serious bottleneck and threatens the realisation of the important smart city digital services which will be vital only if they are connected and distributed through an effective and reliable telecommunications network. This problem can be solved only by taking into use small cell radio frequency (RF) technologies and higher frequencies. This needs dense networks of antennas setting new requirements for the network infrastructure.

LuxTurrim5G offers a solution to this critical problem. Small cell radio network technology and higher frequencies are a prerequisite for significant improvement in data transmission capacity. The smart light poles with integrated small 5G base stations and sensors developed in the project enable implementation of a smart pole infrastructure, such as the current street lighting network, which provides high data transfer capacity, a lot of new data available and a variety of new smart city services available for all users.

“The communications network based on 5G smart light pole concept creates a platform for a variety of smart city digital services, bringing new business opportunities to many actors. The pilot environment created by the LuxTurrim5G ecosystem makes it possible to test them in practice already now, which will significantly speed up the development of the 5G smart city”, says Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks business group and Finland Country Senior Officer at Nokia.

The highly multidisciplinary joint development of 10 companies and three research institutes co-funded by the companies and Business Finland has quickly advanced from research to practice. The project has developed and piloted both innovative smart pole structures, 5G radio network technology, new antenna materials, various sensor solutions as well as several new service and business concepts. Intensive ecosystem collaboration has been done by Nokia Bell Labs, Sitowise, Exel Composites, Premix, Lammin Windows and Doors, Vaisala, Teleste, Indagon, Ensto, Rumble Tools, VTT, University of Tampere, Aalto University and Spinverse as the project coordinator. At the first two-year project period, at the end of May, the LuxTurrim5G consortium organised an Impact Day, a showcase event, at Nokia Campus, presenting further plans and key results in the form of numerous practical demos to around 200 invited guests.

Nokia Bell Labs has developed a 5G radio concept based on millimetre technology integrated to the smart poles and implemented a 5G smart pole test network at Nokia Campus, Espoo, where new digital city services have been piloted with other partners. Since the light poles are usually owned by the city, the needs of the 5G poles must be taken into account in the city infrastructure planning. Through its expertise in planning and construction processes in urban environments, Sitowise has responded to this and developed new 3D design tools for smart city planning. Piloting of new services has been done by Vaisala (weather and air quality), Teleste (video surveillance solutions, information displays), Indagon (positioning, autonomous traffic), Ensto (lighting) and Rumble Tools (drone services).

“The LuxTurrim5G ecosystem has made it possible for Vaisala to collaborate with a broad innovation network to develop and integrate measurement technologies needed for smart cities to create sustainable, safe and efficient environments for citizens and businesses. The smart 5G light poles offer an efficient way to roll out dense observation networks to monitor air quality, forecast urban weather and maintain street networks. In the future, autonomous vehicles and drones will require even more environmental information to navigate safely around urban environments,” says Erik Sucksdorff, Head of Business Development for Vaisala’s Weather and Environment business area.

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