If 5G-powered smart cities are to become a reality, there will need to be a significant investment in 5G small cells, which help deliver last-yards connectivity, either into homes or businesses, or into vehicles travelling on our urban highways.
Governments around the world are currently trialling the best ways to implement 5G small cells, and in Belgium, the city of Leuven has been chosen to play host to The Digital City Pole project, a Flemish Government-backed enterprise between Nokia and a consortium of local businesses, called TRES.
“Strong, effective and aligned partnerships are key to project success and Nokia’s involvement is central to achieving Leuven’s vision for the future,” said Jan Callewaert, CEO of TRES, the body overseeing the project. “Not only does Nokia bring world-class networking expertise to this collective effort but also deep understanding of what it takes to deliver closely integrated and interconnected smart city solutions.”
European Capital of Innovation
The city of Leuven has about 100,000 inhabitants and is home to the oldest university in north-west Europe, which has 50,000 students. Leuven is also located just 20 km east of the Brussels, making it an ideal location for a tech projects. Leuven was also awarded European Capital of Innovation 2020, and the The Digital City Pole project will bolster the city’s commitment to new technologies.
“The City of Leuven is fully supportive of the project,” said Mohamed Ridouani, Mayor of Leuven. “With Leuven recently selected as the European Capital of Innovation 2020, this is another great example of how we bring ideas to life. We have the necessary framework to transform ideas into reality, with an extensive ecosystem of talented partners and innovative business models. Leuven will promote the construction of new infrastructure, in order to make Leuven and the Flanders region more intelligent and digitalized.”
Nokia will provide a 5G-ready private wireless for the Leuven Digital City Pole project, which will provide IoT intelligent urban infrastructure, enhance road and street safety, whilst also aiding business development. Initially, the Digital City Pole project will provide a platform to host high performance connectivity and sensors, as a precursor to the introduction of ubiquitous smart city services.
“This ambitious project is a great example of the innovation potential that can be realized by connecting smart infrastructure over private wireless networking,” said Suparno Banerjee, head of government and cities at Nokia Enterprise. “In Leuven, the traditional streetlight now has the potential to transform into smart infrastructure – improving not only its own performance, but also enabling future city public utilities and services that contribute to a sustainable digital society.”
In addition to Nokia delivering a 5G-ready network with local service provider, Citymesh, it will also supply its Gigabit Passive Optical Networks technology over an end-to-end broadband network.