What Services Will Become Possible with Connected LED Lighting?17/10/2016 / Categories : News
The possibilities of connected LED lighting go far beyond energy savings. In fact, lighting fixtures are expected to become the platform for a wide variety of services and applications, just like it has happened with smartphones. Once all fixtures “speak” a common language, any company or developer will be able to design and program applications for lighting systems.
Lighting is everywhere in buildings, and using fixtures as the backbone of a building automation system is now possible:
- All fixtures can be interconnected with each other through Wi-Fi or Power over Ethernet. The concept of visible light communication (VLC) is now becoming feasible as well, offering a speed orders of magnitude higher than that of Wi-Fi.
- Office appliances, HVAC systems and other installations can be equipped with sensors and emitters compatible with those on lighting systems.
- With these two upgrades, it becomes possible to monitor and control energy consumption in the entire building through the lighting system.
- The same system can be used for surveillance and security, further consolidating the total number of physical installations.
The use of connected lighting for building automation is especially promising in new constructions, where PoE makes it possible to consolidate lighting circuits and IT infrastructure. Fixtures can assume the role of cameras, occupancy sensors and wireless routers, just to name a few examples, greatly reducing the upfront cost of electrical and IT systems.
Indoor Navigation Systems
Lighting fixtures that are capable of interacting with smartphones can be used to pinpoint the location of a person with respect to other building areas. This concept is especially promising for retail applications, where it can be used to guide customers to specific products and discounts.
Of course, retail is not the only area where indoor navigation systems can be deployed successfully. They have potential applications in all buildings with complex layouts, including business centers and healthcare facilities.
Keeping track of inventory is a critical activity for any retailer, and also one that generates significant expenses. A warehouse with connected lighting can use the fixtures themselves to keep track of SKUs, as well as the movement of forklifts and personnel within the facility. Such a system would not only make warehouses safer, but also more efficient.
Drones have also been proposed for inventory control applications, but smart LED fixtures offer the advantage of not requiring extra hardware and having a lower maintenance cost.
The latest LED products have wireless capabilities, can be controlled through a smartphone application, and allow their lighting output to adjusted at any color temperature or lighting intensity. Two notable product lines that are built around this concept are Sylvania Lightify and Philips Hue.
The concept of personal lighting can be applied in residential or hospitality applications to give occupants greater comfort, but it has applications in business as well. For example, smart LED fixtures can be deployed in an office building, and every employee can be granted control over the lighting conditions over his or her desk, improving productivity by enhancing comfort for each individual employee.
Smart lighting will bring forth technological revolution similar to that of smartphones, offering a broad range of services to improve indoor spaces. This will also open up a completely new field of specialization for lighting professionals.
The trend towards interconnectedness is not exclusive for lighting fixtures: industry talent itself has also become global, and there are now freelancing portals such as LightPro, where clients can get in touch will lighting professionals of any specialization.