A new bundled energy system was unveiled by Totem Power that aims to give smart cities a suite of location-based energy services through cyborg palm trees.

Greentech Media reported on the recent emergence of the Bedford, N.Y.-based startup from stealth mode.

Key to Totem’s vision is its 18-foot solar-powered poles festooned with technology to boost smart city energy access and communications.

Totem towers include smart lighting, electric vehicle charging, 4G and Wi-Fi communication capabilities powered by solar energy and battery storage.

While other firms currently provide all of these services separately, Totem’s platform aims to increase value to smart cities by offering them as a holistic system.

“The combination of communications infrastructure and energy infrastructure provides the foundation for smart city services, and provides a platform for long-term growth and evolution of a whole host of capabilities that will become really important for the cities of tomorrow,” said Totem CEO Brian Lakamp.

Raises public awareness of clean energy

Not only are the towers jam-packed with technology related to communications and energy but its intriguing design is meant to raise public awareness about clean energy issues. Each pole is capped with a solar canopy designed to emulate the shape of a palm tree.

“We’ve had the same utility poles for 50 years, and we think that there’s an opportunity to bring that type of infrastructure forward by applying our product design and making something beautiful that inspires people and engages them,” said Lakamp. “It drives energy literacy and, of course, provides a whole host of services.”

Totem Power’s electrified stanchions arrive just as the industry experts try to wrap their heads around what electrical systems will be needed to power the smart cities of the future.

Indeed some pundits are suggesting microgrids are an important energy innovation that could become vital to the growth of smart cities.

In particular it is microgrids’ ability to operate autonomously from larger grids that could prove to be a major driver of IoT adoption in smart cities of the future.