GE Lighting, which was acquired by high-end smart home integrator Savant last summer, is launching new products, a new app, and a new brand at CES this year.
The GE Lighting brand, which entered the smart home with the C by GE brand, will now be known as Cync. Paul Williams, GM product management and growth at GE Lighting, a Savant company, says the new name will carry over with the C branding and tie into Savant’s larger plans in the DIY smart home sector. The company plans to launch a new app in March and will launch three new products to go along with its existing smart switches and smart bulbs.
Two of the three new products — an outdoor Wi-Fi outlet and a fan speed switch — will fit with GE Lighting’s traditional products, but a new $69.99 indoor IP camera represents a new direction. The camera will launch in May. Williams says that lighting is only one element of the smart home, and the camera will allow Savant to start introducing security products to the DIY line of products. There are plenty of competitors in the smart camera market. Still, the new Cync device is cheaper than some of the competition and also offers local storage (in addition to the cloud) and a physical privacy shutter that closes the lens and cuts the microphone off.
Cync’s existing bulbs and gear have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, with the Bluetooth acting as a form of local control, so many customers who don’t want to send all of their data to the cloud will likely look at this line up of products.
Last year, GE Lighting also introduced switches and dimmers that install with three wires and don’t require a neutral wire, making them easier to install and fit in more homes. Even if limited to the lighting, the camera, and the outdoor outlet for the moment, the products can handle many smart home use cases.
For now, the devices will work with Amazon and Google, with HomeKit coming later, says Williams.
In March, Cync products will become part of a new app that combines elements of Savant’s existing app experience with the new and original GE Lighting products. As far back as 2014, I was impressed with Savant’s app, which lets users take photos of their own rooms to personalize settings, and also offers innovative features such as the ability to take a photograph of a room with the lights at different levels and then use that to create a unique lighting scene based on the pictured lighting sources and their levels.
Savant isn’t planning on bringing all of its high-end gear or the experience to the Cync brand, but it’s clear that as a professional smart home platform, Savant sees a benefit in reaching out to the DIY set. You can hear more on Thursday when I publish my podcast featuring Williams discussing this news and more.
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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