Earlier this month, a concept utility pole dubbed as V-Pole (V for Vancouver) was unveiled at the New Cities Summit in Paris. The V-Pole is the brainchild of Douglas Coupland, a Canadian writer and artist who is known for writing about the intersection of culture and technology. Essentially, the V-Pole concept hopes to introduce the future of urban utility poles. The V-Pole is a slim, modular utility pole connected to underground optical wiring. It can be installed in urban settings and it promises to provide neighborhoods with WiFi access, LED street lighting, electric vehicle charging, parking transactions and can reportedly act as an electronic neighborhood bulletin board.
“The wireless data game has changed. Data transmission is no longer something scary you don’t want in your back yard. Now you want it directly in front of your house,” Coupland said. Coupland began investigating over a year ago and encountered a technology called lightRadio while doing research for a book at Bell Labs in New Jersey. lightRadio is a reduced-wattage device that has the size and shape of a Rubik’s cube. He apparently used lightRadio inside the V-Pole to eliminate the need for huge outdated boxes filled with wires and switching equipment.
In spite of the promising technology behind the concept, Coupland said that he is not interested in commercializing it. “I’m not interested in this as a personal business venture. I’m presenting this only to get people thinking about the future. The V-Pole is a whole new way of approaching how we develop and democratize what can only be described as an inevitable force that’s headed towards us like an asteroid at full speed. And we can turn it into art,” he concluded.
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