LaaS: Lighting as a Service Offers the Benefits of LED at Zero Upfront Cost

31/10/2016   /   Categories :  News

The performance of LED lighting has been field-proven time and time again, but the upfront cost of the technology remains as a barrier that prevents widespread adoption. For large companies who have access to capital and low-interest loans, upgrading to LED is like any other project in their portfolio. However, the financial impact can be significantly higher for small- and medium-sized companies, as well as for residential consumers.

LaaS: Making LED Lighting More Affordable

The solar power and IT industries have created innovative business models that allow their clients to use photovoltaic arrays or datacenter infrastructure without assuming the full upfront cost of these systems:

  • In many countries, it is now possible for energy consumers to go solar at zero upfront cost: a third party installs, owns and services the solar PV system, while the homeowner or company using it pays a monthly fee that is lower than the energy savings achieved. The monthly fee can have a fixed value, or can be calculated based on total energy output.
  • The IT industry has introduced the concept of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), where the service provider owns and operates large data centers, and clients pay for the use of infrastructure depending on their needs. There are also companies offering Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS), allowing customers to achieve significant savings in development and licensing.

When these two concepts are merged, and applied to lighting installations, the result is Lighting as a Service. Here, the company providing the service installs the lighting system and provides maintenance, while billing a monthly fee. The result is not very different from leasing a solar array: the end user pays a monthly fee to save even more on energy bills, with the difference that LED lighting can serve as a platform for IT services.

LaaS can Deliver More than Just Lighting

LED fixtures are more like electronic gadgets than like other types of lighting. After all, the basic building block of both technologies is a diode. Internet communications will soon be carried out through light pulses, achieving a speed orders of magnitude higher than that of Wi-Fi signals.

Lighting installations with communication capabilities will be able to provide a wide variety of services, and the LaaS business model can be applied for all of them:

  • Building Management Systems – If a building has light-based communications, lighting fixtures can be used to monitor indoor conditions and provide instructions to devices such as air conditioners, heaters and water pumps. A BMS can greatly improve indoor comfort and energy efficiency.
  • Security – A lighting installation equipped with cameras and sensors has the potential to be a powerful surveillance system, especially when you consider that lighting fixtures are everywhere.
  • Positioning Systems – The applications of positioning systems can range from directing customers to specific stores in shopping malls, to enhancing the efficiency of warehouses.

Lighting systems are becoming increasingly complex, but industry talent has also become more connected and global. There are now freelancing platforms like LightPro, where you can get in touch with lighting professionals of all specializations, including complementary areas to lighting design, such as marketing and business development.

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