Network-connected lighting with embedded sensors dramatically reduces energy costs, enhances safety and enables a wide range of possibilities.
The ability to embed Internet connectivity into everyday objects has opened up limitless possibilities in virtually every industry sector. The Internet of Things (IoT) is already creating efficiencies, cost savings and competitive advantages that would not have been possible a few years ago.
LED lighting systems linked to the IoT are a case in point. In addition to reducing energy costs and driving sustainability, these systems have embedded sensors that can collect and transmit data to create smarter buildings. Not surprisingly, analysts with Navigant Research expect global market revenue for IoT lighting to grow from roughly $800 million in 2018 to $5.5 billion in 2026.
“IoT lighting is associated with smart cities initiatives, where it enables dramatic cost savings, increases public safety, and makes it possible to monitor everything from traffic patterns to air quality,” said Jeff Andrews, Executive Vice President, IPC. “However, smaller initiatives are also producing a multitude of benefits for organizations of all sizes across all industries.
“Fact is, lighting typically represents up to 60 percent of a company’s electric bill. Energy-efficient LED lights combined with automated lighting control systems have been shown to reduce those costs by up to 80 percent.”
IPC, through its IoT practice, offers proven lighting systems that not only save money but simplify facilities management. The IPC team has the expertise to help organizations develop an IoT lighting strategy, select and implement the right solutions, and ensure robust connectivity for lighting systems.
Much of the energy savings enabled by IoT lighting comes from the use of LED lamps. Traditional incandescent lamps convert just 4 percent of energy into light, which means that 96 percent of the electricity consumed is being used to heat the bulb. LEDs, meanwhile, typically convert 50 percent of energy into light. That results in lower energy costs, longer bulb life, reduced heat and lower HVAC costs.
However, organizations should not overlook the value of network-connected LED lighting systems. An IoT communication chip can be integrated directly into the bulb or driver and accessed via software. This enables organizations to set lighting schedules and automatically change lighting colors or intensity based upon ambient light conditions. It would also allow individual users to personalize the lighting in their workspace from a mobile app.
Lighting systems linked to cloud-based analytics can provide information about occupancy and usage patterns. Knowing how and when workspaces are being used can provide insight into workplace design and enable facilities managers to optimize HVAC scheduling. Public facilities can use this data to enhance the customer experience and streamline operations.
“IoT lighting’s data collection capabilities are of particular interest for retailers,” Andrews said. “LED fixtures with sensors can communicate with shoppers’ smartphones. Data about shoppers’ location and dwell time can be used optimize how products are presented. Connected lights can even scan shelves for real-time inventory management.”
Security and Emergency Applications
Sensor-embedded lights also can be used to boost security. In an emergency situation requiring an evacuation, for example, the lights can guide occupants to safety. Lights can be remotely turned on or dimmed as needed to assist emergency responders. Flashing or colored lights might be used to warn of a fire, intruder or other dangers.
IoT lighting solutions aren’t limited to indoor applications. Cities around the world are deploying connected LED luminaires to enable smarter public lighting that not only saves money but improves public safety. The extended lifespan of LED lighting is particularly beneficial in hard-to-access locations.
Again, the value of outdoor lighting systems isn’t limited to government applications. By centrally controlling an intelligent network of outdoor LEDs, organizations can dynamically adjust lighting in response to changing conditions, enhance security and dramatically lower operating costs.
The market for IoT lighting solutions should expand rapidly with the recent development of a universal specification that helps ensure all components will work together. The IoT-Ready Interface Specification V1.0 defines a socket that allows any type of IoT sensor or control module to connect seamlessly to a luminaire or other building system. The standard works with any network protocol including Ethernet, Wi-Fi, BLE, ZigBee and Z-Wave, and is backward compatible with legacy lighting controls.
“IoT lighting solutions offer exciting possibilities for offices, manufacturing plants, schools, healthcare facilities and more,” said Andrews. “However, a successful implementation will require significant upfront planning. IPC has built an IoT practice to enable our customers to take advantage of these opportunities.”