Sprint’s Magic Box small cell is being deployed into about 100 buildings in Pittsburgh to provide connectivity to an energy-as-a-service offering.

The city has issued an “intent to award contract” to BOSS Controls. The company is working with Sprint, other companies and the city’s Sustainability and Resilience Division, Facilities Bureau and Department of Innovation and Performance on the project.

“This is a great example of how Sprint Magic Box is making a difference for our customers with a data connectivity solution that’s so simple to use,” Scott Santi, the Head of Network Deployment & Operations at Sprint said in a press release. “We’re proud to play a part in launching this innovative program to increase energy efficiencies and lower costs with the City of Pittsburgh.”

Energy-as-a-Service
Sprint’s all-wireless small cell platform provides data coverage and faster upload and download capabilities. Those devices, combined with Sprint LTE modems and Wi-Fi, will connect BOSS Smart Plugs that can be “[a]dded to any electrical device that simply needs to be scheduled off when the buildings are unoccupied, ultimately netting meaningful cost savings and granting the city a reduced carbon footprint.”

Sprint says that the Magic Box small cells improve data coverage and increase upload speeds by an average of 200%. One can provide coverage to a 30,000 square foot room and reach nearby buildings.

sprint magic box

Sprint Magic Box (Source: PRNewsfoto/Sprint)

This service will provide immediate energy savings at the plug load for the City, and vendor partner BOSS says it “[i]s the first partnership of its kind, and is elevating Pittsburgh as the national model for clean energy innovation.”

Energy savings is one of the significant opportunities of smart cities and similar initiatives. The potential savings are great and many best practices are relatively easy to implement. A basic example is sensor networks that shut off lights in restrooms when no motion is detected for a certain amount of time and the room is judged to be empty.

Automating this process and linking it via IoT sensors can quickly create far more extensive savings. Buildings can be “tuned” to be less wasteful in their heating and cooling practices and careful study of use patterns can determine areas in which heat and air conditioning can be shut off completely.