Traditional digital out of home street furniture units – like transit shelters and free-standing digital kiosks – are increasingly becoming hubs for smart cities, and the biggest outdoor media company on the planet is making is adapting with a new initiative in its home country, France.
JCDecaux has announced that it is providing support for French telecoms operators to roll out small cell wireless network coverage boosters in around 10 French cities in 2019. The decision follows a set of pilot projects undertaken with operators in that country since 2016. The project found that small cells could triple download speeds and gave a positive opinion of the public’s exposure to radio waves, particularly due to their shorter distance to users and the reduction in smartphone power by between two and five times, which limits the exposure to radio waves at the same time as increasing battery life.
As connectivity is now accepted as essential to the development of smart cities, JCDecaux is committed to enabling the advance of this technology in France by installing small cells (boxes that boost network coverage in their vicinity) on its street furniture. The aim is to enable telecoms operators to improve the coverage and performance of their mobile networks for both voice and data traffic in the highly populated urban centres, greatly benefiting cities and their inhabitants.
The deployment of a high-quality network has become a major strategic advantage to cities looking to enhance their appeal and competitiveness. Thanks to an extensive and unrivalled network in France, and its unique international expertise JCDecaux offers aesthetically pleasing, integrated solutions that respect its advertising concession agreements, local urban environmental policies and levels of exposure to radio waves. This scalable technology platform is able to meet today’s connectivity needs and facilitate the services of the future:
– The density required for the 3G and 4G mobile networks;
– The availability of an efficient Wi-Fi network;
– The expansion of low bandwidth networks required for the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and related services.
The solutions offered by JCDecaux have been in place since 2014, with the installation of 200 small cells on bus shelters in Amsterdam for Vodafone, and make it possible to install up to 4 small cells on each item of street furniture with a limited visual impact, offering cities multi-operator deployment solutions that enable the perfect integration of these technologies in the urban environment.
In 2015, the Group created JCDecaux Link, a division dedicated to developing connectivity, which now operates in 10 countries (Germany, Brazil, Chile, Spain, France, Italy, Mongolia, Panama, the Netherlands and the USA), working for major groups such as Vodafone, Verizon, Orange, Telefónica and América Móvil.
Jean-Charles Decaux, Chairman of the Executive Board and Co-CEO, says his firm “is dedicated to help create cities that are increasingly open, accessible and attractive, and we believe that the deployment of a very advanced infrastructure is a pre-requisite to creating a smart city. This could well be the source of new products and services that benefit everyone and which create value, growth and jobs.”
Don’t really know what small cells are?
They are bundles of small radio equipment and antennas that are placed on structures such as bus shelters, poles, or the sides of buildings. They differ from the high-power cell towers on rooftops and along highways. You need more of them because they use different spectrums for transmission and those airwaves cannot travel as far.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.