Blog Post

Introducing the V-Pole, a connectivity, electricity, utility pole mashup

The idea behind the V-Pole — a concept utility pole and art project from the brain of Vancouver-based writer Douglas Coupland — is basically: make it transparent, design it well and it put it all in one place. Earlier this month Coupland and the Mayor of Vancouver Gregor Robertson, showed off mockups of the V-Pole (V for Vancouver), which contains multi-colored units of wireless connectivity stacked on a utility pole that’s connected to optical underground wiring, and paired with electric car charging outlets and an LED street light.

Coupland, who is famous for writing about the intersection of culture and technology, said in a statement: “data transmission is no longer something scary you don’t want in your backyard. Now you want it directly in front of your house.” The device is just in the concept stage, and Coupland doesn’t plan to try to turn it into a commercial business.

But parts of the technology seem real enough. The stackable wireless tech is based on a Bell Labs design called lightRadio, which are compact, low-power cubes that have squeezed a radio and amplifier into the small space. Vancouver’s Mayor wanted to show off the design to show that Vancouver is future-forward and tech-friendly.

Ignoring all the obvious hurdles that would turn this into something real — like cost of the pole or why a carrier would provide connectivity access for the pole — I like the fact that V-Pole is looking to make the source of connectivity transparent, more colorful and more fun.

2 Responses to “Introducing the V-Pole, a connectivity, electricity, utility pole mashup”