When in 1800, Alessandro Volta connected a copper wire between the two ends of his groundbreaking pile of alternating discs of zinc and copper — interspersed with layers of cardboards soaked in salt water, the copper wire started glowing, the history of science recorded the phenomenon as the first indication of electric current generation in laboratory. However, a little consideration makes us understand that it was also the first ancestor of the incandescent bulbs, which were much improved – and later in 1879 patented by Thomas Alva Edison as the first commercially successful electric bulb.
Although it was an epoch-making invention at that point of time, perhaps not even the wisest of the scientists then could even dream of a lamp that could communicate with users, other equipment in the circuit and the devices or actuators around – that too without a connection established through a conducting wire. But today it has been possible.
Smart Lighting Systems (SLSs)
I believe it will not be an exaggeration to say that we live in the Smart Age, because now literally everything is smart around us. We are planning for Smart Cities, where Smart Buildings will be equipped with Smart Gadgets, in which Smart Lighting will play a leading role. Then we all need to know what exactly Smart Lighting means.
To put it in the simplest way: a smart light is an LED lamp having an embedded software to help it connect to an app or smart home assistant or other smart accessory, so that it can be operated remotely. Now the question arises, what can be done through such remote control?
As two or more such bulbs are connected to a Network, they can be switched on /off, dimmed or colour-changed remotely – no wall mounted switches are required. They can be operated with the help of a computer or a hand-held device like a smartphone
Contextually, it must be understood that Smart Lighting Systems can be deployed at indoor as well as outdoor areas. They may be used to make a saloon colourful, at the same time their application is possible on a road – (say) for example when traffic is there the intensity of illumination increases and vice versa. However, as Will Gibson; Founder and Chief Commercial Officer at Telensa, a technology company delivering the world’s largest smart streetlight control systems; rightly points out, “The outdoor lighting controls market is fragmented, with many vendors having a limited deployment footprint. We know the industry is looking for resilient turnkey solutions that are proven at scale and with the largest city and utility lighting networks.”
IoT- backed SLSs
Nowadays, we all are aware of the latest market buzz IoT (Internet of Things). As per Wikipedia IoT refers to: “A system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines provided with unique identifiers – and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.”
Obviously, such a system is a boon to the Smart Lighting Systems, because it can be a great source of data collection and action. For example: if a speaker (night) lamp is connected through IoT; depending on the number of people in the room, their average distance from the speaker and (say) the time in the clock or beginning of their sleeping hour; the lamp may increase or decrease the volume of the speaker automatically as per the requirement. In the later part of the article, I will focus on some of the recent projects that will explain the huge potential of IoT in smart lighting industry.
Growth Potential & Current Trends of SLSs
Towards the beginning of this year, a research report from Research And Markets indicated that “Global Smart Lighting Market is estimated to grow from USD 13.4 billion in 2020 & and projected to reach USD 30.6 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 18.0%.”
The report also points at some notable trends including: i) Government initiatives and policies for energy savings to drive the growth of smart lighting market; ii) Wired technology is expected to hold a larger share of the smart lighting market by 2025; iii) Highways & roadways to hold the largest size of smart lighting market for outdoor application during the forecast period; and iv) Smart lighting market in APAC is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period.
The report was published during the initial days of Covid 19 spreads, so the scenario has changed a bit now. However, as people all over the world are now confident of getting Covid 19 vaccine that is expected soon, the momentum is expected to be regenerated within a few months.
An important point to be noted here that according to Research And Markets’ observation, “This growth is attributed to rapid infrastructure building activities being undertaken in APAC, mainly in China and India, where Smart Lighting paves the way for the modernization of infrastructure. The modernization and development of infrastructure such as Smart Cities across the region, coupled with government policies to support energy-efficient lighting, would also drive the demand for Smart Street Lights (automatic switch on/off, high or low lumen distribution based on street-traffic), thereby driving the market for Smart Lighting in this region.
A Few Recently Launched Devices
As said earlier that Smart Lighting has been the latest buzzword in the market, a plethora of Smart Lighting products are available today and more are coming. Within the small span of this article, I cannot describe all of them, however, I will talk here about some arbitrarily chosen ones.
Signify has recently announced several new and updated Philips Hue products, which will bring a new perception to our cooking and dining experience, enabling us to highlight specific objects. The new and updated products include a brighter standard bulb, a new family of indoor ceiling fixtures, an updated Philips Hue lightstrip, an updated Philips Hue Bloom, and additions to the Bluetooth-capable Philips Hue White ambiance indoor range of fixtures.
With a view to providing more consumers with enhanced smart home options, GE Lighting has recently added several new C by GE technologies to its ever-expanding portfolio of smart home products. Advanced lighting switch and dimmer technologies, as well as new comfort, safety and security solutions, have been designed to integrate and interact with existing C by GE products to provide an easy-to-use, improved and more complete smart home network. The same set of products will be launched for retail stores later this year. All these new products that extend beyond the lighting space can be operated through a single mobile application that is very simple to install, use and maintain.
Ring has entered 2020 with a robust lineup of security devices, and the company will continue to focus on innovating new products – while enhancing its customers’ experiences especially around privacy and user control. The company is now enabling its customers to upgrade their indoor lamps and outdoor light fixtures with Smart LED Lightbulbs. These Smart LED Lightbulbs create a complete network of security lights in and around the home. Ring’s first-ever line of Smart LED Lightbulbs launched with two styles: the A19 Smart LED Bulb, great for inside areas of the home and outside in protected areas, and the PAR38 Smart LED Bulb, ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. With these new, Alexa-enabled Smart LED Lightbulbs, Ring users can now use the Ring Bridge to group and control the Smart LED Lightbulbs – remotely turn their lights on and off, adjust the brightness, and set schedules right from the Ring app. And when linked with other Ring security devices with motion sensors, the Smart LED Lightbulbs can be set to turn on when any motion is detected.
Brief on a Few Current Projects
According to the information from Semtech Corporation, Korea Expressway Corporation (KEC), a government affiliated company building and managing expressways in South Korea, has built a network based on Semtech’s LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol for its expressways as the first stage in its ongoing four-year Internet of Things (IoT) deployment plan in the country.
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has partnered with Signify, the world leader in lighting, to support Smart Street Lighting NY, a statewide program that calls for at least 500,000 streetlights throughout the state to be replaced with energy-efficient LED technology by 2025. Through the program, NYPA provides financial, logistical, technical and informational support for cities that want to upgrade their street lighting systems.
Commenting on the versatile benefits of Smart Street Lighting, Gil Quiniones, NYPA President and CEO, said, “In addition to illumining roadways, street lighting systems are essential vertical assets in smart city deployments. Municipalities can save money on their utility bills and maintenance costs by adopting connected LED lighting while leveraging the value of their street lighting systems for additional benefits.”
Shenzhen World serves as a venue for events and has space for restaurants, shopping and offices. With a total area of around 1.48 million square metres, including 500,000 square metres of indoor space, Shenzhen World has broken eight world records as the world’s largest exhibition and convention centre. Recently, Osram has developed an extensive interior lighting solution for this extraordinarily complex and large building. To illuminate the entire venue evenly, the Osram installation has taken full advantage of daylight and arranged lighting in such a way that it meets the special needs of the individual areas. More than 100,000 indoor LED fixtures have been installed in over ten indoor areas, such as the multifunctional hall, the media centre, the ballroom, the international lecture hall and the stadium, to create modern rooms with ideal lighting.
As a recent survey of Research And Markets points out, some prominent factors like: Growing demand of Street Lighting Systems, Increasing need for Energy-Efficient Lighting Systems and High penetration of LED bulbs & lightings globally will continue to push the demand of Smart Lighting Systems (SLSs). Internet of Things (IoT) will facilitate further integration and robust Networks of Smart Gadgets will be the most common feature of the Smart Buildings of the Smart Cities of the forthcoming Smart Days. However, for economically less privileged societies High Installation and Maintenance Cost in Smart Lightning Systems will be a challenge.
As an emerging business segment, Smart Lighting will definitely gain mileage from the emergence of IoT & AI Technology and growing developments in Smart City Projects, especially in APAC will promote and popularise its application manifold.
How the IoT based smart office lighting is changing the workplace
Computer scientists were looking for upgrading everyday appliances and objects by connecting them to the internet in the early 1970s and 1980s. The very first appliance that was connected to the internet was the Coke vending machine at Carnegie Mellon University. After that, a huge transformation can be noticed in the domain of the Internet of Things (IoT). Now, it is becoming all-pervasive in all sectors.
IoT lighting has revolutionized and every day an innovation takes place where new players become a part of the change. As a result, our perspective regarding lighting workspaces, homes, warehouses, and cities has also changed. Smart lighting fixtures by Wipro Lighting have played a major role in transforming the idea of illuminating commercial spaces.
Few pointers to highlight how the Internet of Things based smart lighting has modified the workplaces are listed below.
Workspaces turn into data gold-mine
The Internet of Things based lighting systems not only saves a huge amount of money for companies but also acts as a data mine. The elevation in the lighting system has made workspaces a treasury of data. By using this range of lighting fixtures, businesses can easily generate information and inputs that can work for a long time in space optimization and control.
Taking the lighting industry by a storm
IoT is transforming the way of interacting and connecting with the world, but there are few industries that are using this innovation with full potential like the lighting industry. Instead of just increasing the uptake of the lighting industry among other industries, IoT is opening the locks of novel functionalities and adding new dimensions to this domain.
With the involvement of IoT in lighting, professionals can use the required data anytime anywhere in the workspace. Moreover, with the inception of Li-Fi technology, Internet of Things based smart office lighting solutions can become a more secure and faster channel to provide high-speed internet using light.
Create a progressive workspace along with saving resources
Employee well-being and retention are the two sides of the same story. Internet of Things based Lighting improves productivity and imparts an enhancive experience at the workplace by providing the access to personalise a lighting plan based on one’s preferences.
Furthermore, data collected from the space optimisation tool can be utilized to determine the information and activity patterns that can be used to make correct decisions related to workplace design. The output of all the efforts and thoughtfulness is a highly efficient, productive and optimally used workplace.
The Internet of Things based technologies is constantly evolving and adding newer points of innovation, learning, and extending our reach to provide convenient solutions for our day to day problems.
In 2018, Wipro Lighting introduced the Internet of Lighting (IoL)® category of smart and connected lighting solutions. With this technology, we are revolutionarily designing the workspaces to deliver user-centric experiences. From human-centric lighting to Li-Fi and the Power over Ethernet based-technology solutions, you can explore numerous products from this category to uplift your workplace working pattern.
The Bluetooth SIG and the DALI Alliance Remove a Big Barrier for Realizing IoT Lighting Potential | Bluetooth® Technology Website
The Importance of Standardization
To fully realize this vision and for the commercial connected lighting market to reach mass adoption, standards must be in place to ensure all lighting system components can interoperate smoothly. The two most important components of any commercial connected lighting system are the luminaires and the lighting control network. The collaboration between the Bluetooth SIG and the DALI Alliance brings together the trade association that oversees Bluetooth® technology, the leading IoT standard for wireless lighting control networks, and the organization responsible for the leading IoT standard for intelligent luminaires. The result of that collaboration, the Bluetooth Mesh to DALI Gateway Specification, establishes a bridge between the lighting controls and the sensor-rich luminaires that enables the movement and analysis of building operations data to achieve valuable energy savings, lower maintenance costs, and enhanced services for building managers.
Interoperability between lighting controls and intelligent luminaires benefits everyone on the value chain, from manufacturers to end users. The market will benefit from a wider selection of interoperable intelligent lighting components that will help accelerate the adoption of intelligent, IoT-enabled lighting systems in retrofit and new-build environments.
According to a recently released article by Szymon Slupik, CTO and co-founder at Silvair, Bluetooth® distributed control architecture perfectly matches the DALI application controller concept. “It is not often that you see independent architectures that match and extend each other so well,” said Slupik. “The technology match, together with the close collaboration between the Bluetooth SIG and DiiA, means that the market will benefit from a wider selection of interoperable intelligent lighting components. This, in turn, accelerates the adoption of intelligent, IoT-enabled lighting systems in retrofit and new-build environments. Ultimately, this leads to energy savings and enhanced comfort and user experience, which everyone can afford.”
The collaboration between the Bluetooth SIG and DALI Alliance demonstrates the critical role that standardization plays in removing the barriers prohibiting wider adoption of commercial connected lighting. Standards have always been the catalysts for widespread market adoption. Without standardization, mass adoption remains out of reach. The collaboration will help ensure the development of devices from different manufacturers capable of working together to establish a global, interoperable ecosystem of lighting products, and will help ensure that Bluetooth mesh, when paired with certified DALI-2 and D4i devices, remains the wireless lighting control technology of choice for the professional lighting industry.
“We are excited to support this collaboration between the Bluetooth SIG and DALI Alliance. Establishing a standard Bluetooth mesh interface for D4i intelligent luminaries will open up industry opportunity and enable the deployment of even more advanced, interoperable IoT-enabled commercial lighting systems, while ensuring an equivalent light control behavior between both standards.”
– Arnulf Rupp, Head of Standardization at OSRAM
The Momentum of Bluetooth® Mesh
A growing ecosystem of Bluetooth® commercial lighting products from leading vendors such as Delta Electronics, Fulham, Leedarson Lighting, McWong, Murata, OSRAM, Sylvania, Zumbtobel, and others is helping drive a 130% CAGR of annual shipments of Bluetooth enabled commercial lighting solutions by 2026. Large-scale implementations in warehouses, retail, horticulture, and commercial offices, including a near 4,000 node deployment in a 22-story office building in North America, offer proof of Bluetooth mesh networking’s scalability and reliability in demanding commercial settings. The unique decentralized control architecture of Bluetooth mesh distributes intelligence across the network and eliminates single points of failure, bringing the resiliency, performance, and ease of implementation needed by installers, building managers, and end users in commercial installations. In addition, unlike other low-power wireless mesh networking technologies, Bluetooth mesh is a complete, full-stack solution that defines everything from the low-level physical radio layer through the high-level application layer, enabling easier product development and greater levels of product interoperability.
The Future of Commercial Connected Lighting
The Bluetooth Mesh® to DALI Gateway Specification represents a key step in enabling lighting control systems to shift from a single-function solution to a platform that feeds building management systems and helps position intelligent lighting infrastructures as central to satisfying the growing demand for increased energy efficiency and improved occupant experience in sustainable, human-centric buildings.
To help streamline the delivery of products to market, the Bluetooth SIG and DALI Alliance are also working together to make it easier for vendors to complete both the Bluetooth product qualification and DALI-2 and D4i product certification processes necessary to ensure interoperability. More information regarding product qualification and certification is expected later this year.
Please complete this form if you would like to provide feedback on the draft of the Wearable Exposure Notification Service Specification. After submitting the form, you will be contacted by Bluetooth SIG staff with further instructions.
Safecility: Lighting the way to IoT-enabled building safety
Emergency lighting is the kind of thing the average person will never have to think about day to day, but would certainly notice if it was missing or malfunctioning in a time of need. It’s a legal requirement in all buildings except individual homes. And while the hope is that it would never be needed, regular testing is necessary to ensure it’s fully capable should that moment ever arise.
“Traditionally, this involves a technician walking around checking each light, repairing them if needed and recording the result in a logbook or spreadsheet,” said Cian O Flaherty, founder and CEO of Safecility.
“Not only does this process take massive amounts of time, it’s expensive and open to human error. What we do is automate the whole process, saving time and money, and improving safety and compliance.”
‘We truly believe that by using sensor technology companies can not only save resources but also save lives’
– CIAN O FLAHERTY
Safecility uses sensors and technology to automate these safety checks. Its first product is focused on emergency lighting, but the company aims to automate even more safety tasks in buildings.
“If you consider organisations with lots of buildings spread out across the country, technicians travelling from site to site each month completing testing and repairs equates to countless hours. It’s absolutely essential that testing is completed, even though it’s inconvenient and time consuming. Automation is the perfect answer to make this process more efficient and accurate,” said O Flaherty.
Results from Safecility’s automated testing can be viewed on any desktop or mobile, meaning estate and facilities managers wouldn’t even have to leave the office to ensure these checks are made as frequently as needed.
A key client base for Safecility includes housing associations facing increased compliance pressures across a wide spread of buildings. The emergency lighting product is wireless and brand-agnostic, meaning sensors can be fitted to any available emergency light without the need to rewire.
“Automation of emergency lighting testing is not a new thing, but in the past required rewiring or a complete change over to a single brand of lights,” said O Flaherty. “We have a far more flexible solution for companies that want a quick retrofit option without being locked into one specific vendor or needing to invest large upfront capital to install.”
O Flaherty said this is counter to the approach taken by other building tech companies who lock customers into a proprietary system as a way to force brand loyalty. “We design flexible easy to use options that solve real problems and inefficiencies, and we design them to be as open and interoperable as possible,” he said.
Ultimately, Safecility is about using technology to create safer environments. “We truly believe that by using sensor technology companies can not only save resources but also save lives,” said O Flaherty.
‘It is expected that £1.6bn will be spent by housing authorities in the UK on fire safety in the next few years’
– CIAN O FLAHERTY
Safecility’s technology is wireless, using internet of things (IoT) networks such as NB-IoT or LoRaWAN to connect the sensors directly to the internet. “These networks allow massive quantities of small sensors to stream data to the internet wirelessly at a low cost,” explained O Flaherty.
“The sensor monitors the status of the light and sends the test results to a central software platform where compliance status and light failures can be seen in real time,” he added.
“What we see in our daily conversations are estate and facilities managers responsible for thousands of buildings understand the value of IoT but face hurdles when they try to scale up. We always keep this in mind with our R&D and aim to design products that are the most flexible and scalable on the market.”
The potential for the technology doesn’t stop at emergency lighting, either. Other mandatory compliance testing from fire door inspection to monitoring for Legionella bacteria can be automated in the same way.
The result of increased automation, according to O Flaherty, would be more accurate records and efficiently targeted repairs. “And by eliminating frequent site visits, a reduction in fuel usage and carbon emissions is seen,” he said.
Branching out to further fire safety checks is in itself a big business opportunity for Safecility. “It is expected that £1.6bn will be spent by housing authorities in the UK on fire safety in the next few years,” predicted O Flaherty.
‘We’ve probably lost some good businesses to lockdown and restrictions and the slow pace of change to funding mechanisms like EIIS’
– CIAN O FLAHERTY
O Flaherty began building Safecility in 2018 and unexpectedly found he was pioneering in the space. “We didn’t realise how early we were in our segment,” he said. “We anticipated more of the technology we would rely on was already available so our time to market was significantly longer than we hoped.”
The company benefitted from grant funding to support early development and gradually grew to a team of seven.
However, last year’s travel restrictions presented an enormous challenge for a small team in Ireland whose main market is in the UK. “We have had a long period changing our strategy to support local channel partners in the UK, educating and developing their skills in selling our product, and that is finally bearing fruit now,” said O Flaherty.
He estimates that Covid-19 extended Safecility’s early pipeline sales cycle by about 12 months, on average. But even with this unexpected hurdle, the company still managed to launch its flagship emergency lighting product in September 2020.
At the start of 2021, it launched what it claimed to be a world-first commercial wireless emergency lighting system. In partnership with Irish company Sensori Facilities Management, this system uses Vodafone’s NB-IoT network.
The company is also continuing its hard work in research and development. “We’re working closely with Limerick City and County Council to develop sensor solutions to help encourage restoration of the city’s Georgian core and get people back living in the city centre. We’ve also won over €150,000 in non-dilutive European funding from the European Space Agency and Horizon 2020 to develop more IoT compliance solutions for the housing sector,” said O Flaherty.
It’s no surprise, then, that he promises “several other exciting projects in the pipeline for 2021” and the company has secured further financing to achieve this. Earlier this month, Safecility was awarded €42,000 in funding from the EU-backed initiative DigiFed and is currently closing out its seed funding round.
O Flaherty is conscious, however, that some start-ups haven’t been so lucky in the past year. “We’ve definitely seen start-ups struggle through Covid-19. It has been a difficult time for those who were bootstrapping or running out of runway,” he said. “We’ve probably lost some good businesses to lockdown and restrictions and the slow pace of change to funding mechanisms like EIIS.”
However, he is optimistic. “I think we are seeing more opportunities for early-stage founders to develop themselves and their business ideas through various accelerator and pre-accelerator programmes and the quality of many of these is improving,” he said.
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The post Safecility: Lighting the way to IoT-enabled building safety appeared first on Silicon Republic.
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