San Jose, California Deploys Smart Lighting Pilot


The city of San Jose, California has launched a new pilot for smart lighting in partnership with Philips. The pilot will include the deployment of 50 smart streetlights that have two-way communicating broadband capability. The broadband technology is provided by Ericsson.

The pilot was initiated through the City’s Demonstration Partnership Policy which finds partnerships that support economic development and improvements to city operations. Philips will have a 10-year lease on the initial 50 poles, which are deployed throughout the city.  San Jose also has an RFP out for additional and innovative streetlight replacement bids. The next award is expected to be announced in 2016.

San Jose is moving to a broader smart city framework that will result in many more municipal assets being connected wirelessly. This pilot will test the broadband backbone already in place to determine what potential improvements may be needed. The broadband capability included in the streetlights is 4G/LTE and will be available to citizens as well to improve local network broadband coverage.

Philips SmartPoles were specifically designed and tested to accept FCC licensed wireless mobile network operator equipment. In the future, this may mean that mobile network operators will have an expanded list of site options for network infrastructure if streetlights are available for use.

In addition to broadband improvements, the streetlights will include white LED lights which are more energy efficient and will be monitored in conjunction with the city’s “Vision Zero” initiative. The Vision Zero project is meant to reduce traffic deaths to zero. The white light provided by LEDs are said to improve visibility for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

For the pilot, Philips is working with local utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). The lights will include a smart meter that will enable the utility company to change settings remotely and monitor how well they function. The meter is on top of the pole itself instead of nearby on the ground, and measures the amount of electricity used by the mobile network and transmits the data transmitted directly back to PG&E.