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BrightRidge presents BMA with ‘smart poles’ idea

By SERINA MARSHALL

Staff Writer

[email protected]

A presentation from BrightRidge’s Broadband division shed some light on potential downtown additions at the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting Monday night.

The addition, proposed by BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes and Chief Broadband Officer Stacy Evans, is a part of a design called Smart City.

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Smart poles don’t just give off light, Dykes explained. They give out information and other features.

“The person that builds these smart poles, they do the programming, but it’s exciting because they do this at Disney World,” Dykes said. “If you go to Disney World and you hear all the music playing going through there, he did all that.”

According to officials, smart poles work by using small cell base stations that are housed within the pole. Since they work within a city’s street lighting infrastructure, smart poles make it possible for city planners to expand urban network capacity and coverage at their own pace with minimal disruption.

“Our goal at BrightRidge is to make it so when people look at our community, they want to come here to live,” Dykes said. “We have opportunities we have to impact our community, and one way is these smart poles.”

Dykes believes this is something Jonesborough should consider, especially with the festivals downtown.

“Some of the things you can do with these smart poles is have public wi-fi, smart lighting that dims during the day to save energy, environmental and traffic monitoring, facial recognition, loitering detection, electronic message boards, EV charging, 360 music and emergency broadcasting,” Dykes said. “It’s amazing what you can do today. But these are some things we wanted to get in front of you for your consideration.”

There is also a pedestrian counter on the pole that Dykes says can help the city know how many people came through the town at any given time of day.

“It’s really a great thing for a city or town to really monitor and know what’s going on in the festivals or just in their day to day living,” Dykes said. “And businesses would like to know during the day how many people that passed on the street looked in the window of their business? There are so many things you can do.”

Administrators can control the music that is playing through their office, as well as send out evacuation messages if needed as a safety measure, Dykes added.

“Are the (poles) retrofit, existing poles? Are they existing poles or is this all-new construction?” asked Jonesborough Mayor Chuck Vest.

Dykes replied.

“We have found with the technology and the stuff that needs to go inside of the poles to provide the different things, from the music and all that, that this guy has designed the poles and it really requires the new poles,” he said. “We could look at existing poles, but because of the technology it really needs the new poles.”

The BMA took no action on the BrightRidge proposal, but Dykes agreed to provide the board with more data on the project so it could be discussed more thoroughly at a later date.