Connected lighting refers to the lighting that eventually will be a major player in the smart technology that will be associated with the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is the fast-evolving technology involving the working of devices, vehicles, buildings and other things, through the internet, which are embedded with technology that allows the collection and exchange of data among connected devices. This platform creates an infrastructure that allows things to be remotely controlled through computer-based systems which will be able to determine the most efficient path to follow for whatever devices are connected. This ability to take in data and make decisions as to the smart application of energy will result in improved efficiency and the subsequent economic advantage, as well as much less human intervention. Connected things will be uniquely identified by imbedded control systems and the interconnection of these will bring the possibility of smart automation to just about every field one can imagine. Current use of the technology exists in home automation involving the control of lighting, heating and air conditioning, whole house ventilation, and appliances of all sorts. Future use of the technology is expected to penetrate many fields that might be unexpected, such as health monitoring devices in humans and transponders in farm animals. It is estimated that by the year 2020, the IoT will consist of about 30 billion ‘things’.
The potential of connected lighting systems allows for numerous advances that will decrease the use of energy in homes, buildings and cities. It is expected that connected lighting will have the possibility of becoming the ‘backbone’ of the IoT. The future of the connected lighting technology is just beginning and the ability to assure that light is delivered only when and where it’s needed will enable great savings in lighting energy consumption. The LED technology is the platform that is spurring the connected lighting system ideas. Since the LED lighting technology is still, in all reality, in beginning stages, the potential of such systems is still basically dialog, as developers work to agree on many different issues such as how to achieve interoperations among devices and systems that will need to have the ability to share data, along with determining the ability to record and report key performance statistics such as energy usage. The idea that all must agree on platforms and protocols which will facilitate the transfer of useable data among lighting, other systems and the cloud. The necessary order for all this to happen is starting to take shape and meeting that challenge is a giant step in right direction.
The current issue with lighting controls, that needs to be overcome, is that lighting control systems have seen little distribution and have not always met the expected energy savings. The fact that standardization has not occurred has led to complexity and the fact that there are no standards leaves the industry with different designs to deal with and contractors who may lack the proper knowledge to design, install, and operate systems. This combination can, and certainly does, lead to contractors bidding up projects to cover potential unknown circumstances. Since it is not possible to properly manage what can’t be measured, in the future, it is speculated that every luminary and all other devices that will be connected will contain the sort of standardized artificial intelligence which will permit communication and immensely improve energy savings and installation costs. Due to the numerous lighting metrics that LED lighting has to offer, it is quite feasible that lighting will even be able to be customized and offered with available options.
One of the notable companies at the forefront of some of the future technology in the connected lighting advancements is Google. The lighting in the company’s facilities is automatically dimmed to 20% when spaces are not occupied. They are also working on a plan to optimize building space utilization in which the energy consumption will be monitored and occupancy sensors will be employed. By doing this, it will determine which entrances and exits are used the most and be able to more accurately control lighting and HVAC.
The future of connected lighting is multidimensional with enormous potential but to realize the potential, collaboration within the industry is a must. The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) is at the forefront of the LED lighting revolution and the meetings and collaborations with the industry are an ongoing effort to discuss, exchange information, and come to standardize the LED lighting industry. The meetings they host have and will provide necessary technical support in regard to numerous industry groups efforts, in both lighting and IT. They will also conduct studies and testing involving the various aspects of installed connected lighting systems. The goal is to provide manufacturers, specifiers, and end-users with critical information on emerging products.
The real key to the future of connected lighting systems will be collaboration among all involved, but the promise of connected systems will eventually be realized and it will prove to be well worth the effort as the end results will not only bring about great energy savings but the potential to positively impact the way we live.
As always, if you have questions in regard to any of your lighting projects, please feel free to call Polar-Ray at 303-494-5773 to speak with a lighting consultant. Thank you for perusing our web site.