LED Lighting Systems: IIoT for Smart Buildings and Smart Cities

LED lighting control networks are emerging as an alternative IIoT platform within the smart building and smart city environments.  The LED revolution is well under way, and as low-voltage semiconductor devices, LED’s are natural partners for microprocessor-based controllers with sophisticated sensor networks and edge computing capabilities.  As the transition is made from the unintelligent, energy-intensive, and high-maintenance lighting technologies of the past (fluorescent, HID, etc.) to a pervasive LED and OLED future, traditional lighting controls are being supplanted by IIoT lighting platforms that are disrupting the industry.  These platforms can also be the basis for a significant business model transformation, as suppliers begin to offer lighting systems as a service.

Suppliers are looking towards adoption of IIoT and development of IIoT compatible solutions within the lighting space.  A leading lighting supplier, for example, is working in partnership to provide retailers with IIoT lighting solutions that combine digital store mapping, product search capabilities and shopper analytics.  Using location-based beacon technology, shoppers may get advertisements and coupons sent directly to their smartphones when they are in proximity to certain items placed throughout the store based on store promotions, shopping history and preferences.  Hospitals that deploy smart LEDs are controlling light levels in hospital rooms to sync up with daily care schedules and resetting their patient’s circadian rhythms to help them rest better and recover faster.  We should be seeing similar application focused solutions being developed across the board for smart built environments over the next decade.  The impact of these systems will only grow as artificial intelligence and machine learning transform these smart LED systems into lighting neural networks and the central nervous system of smart built environments and smart cities.

Market Dynamics
Traditional lighting suppliers are investing heavily in developing in-house technologies, using acquisitions to fill technology gaps, and partnering with innovative hardware and software providers to offer comprehensive solutions featuring intelligent LED fixtures, controls, sensors, platforms & services.  Both large and small building automation vendors are also recognizing that advanced lighting networks are becoming a direct challenger to traditionally much larger and more important sectors such as HVAC and security.  They are recognizing that IIoT lighting networks are becoming a viable alternative for smart built environments of the future.  The competitive landscape has become highly dynamic as vendors scramble to carve their piece of a rapidly expanding pie.

Why Does Piggy-backing IIoT Platforms on LED Lighting Networks Make Sense?
Lights are omnipresent within every facility and surrounding built environments, with their placement providing an unrivaled vantage point to perceive the activities beneath them.  When static lighting becomes networked and intelligent, packaged sensors enable systems to become dynamic and responsive.  As LED lighting systems become integrated with building automation platforms that utilize shared historians and open architectures, broader synergies will emerge.  Their sensors will further enhance the intelligence and control capabilities of HVAC, access, fire detection, intelligent evacuation, and other building systems.  These advanced LED systems may include indoor positioning systems using Visual Light Communications (VLC) and other embedded beacon technologies to track the movement of people, equipment and inventory within a facility, which will enable in-facility GPS-style mapping.  What seals the deal is that whether you are building a new facility or retrofitting an existing structure with LED lighting, the additional costs for an advanced controls network is nominal.  A smart LED lighting system pays for itself. LEDs are up to 70 percent more energy efficient than traditional lighting, so there is immediate, significant energy cost reduction. LED lighting systems are long lasting and require minimal maintenance, so both capital and operational costs are contained.  Additionally, future upgrades can be streamlined through component swaps and software updates deployed from the cloud.

Source: Tridonic (Zumtobel)

LED lighting networks can resolve many of the key IIoT platform concerns that exist in both indoor and outdoor built environments:

  • Lighting is ubiquitous and part of an organized spatial grid that is well suited for a wired or wireless network, which could eliminate the need to install a separate data network for IIoT
  • The controllers that run the systems are networked and powered 24/7, with the capability of powering peripheral IIoT devices and sensors
  • Additional functionality can be deployed over time through simple driver upgrades
  • Networked controllers may be software-driven, enabling remote monitoring, configuration, rezoning, task tuning, systems alerts and energy reporting
  • The processing capability exists for sophisticated edge/fog computing abilities
  • The capacity to outfit each additional fixture with smart sensors that capture data and use the IIoT platform in place to feed it to the cloud is relatively simple, which makes these platforms ideal for scalability

“Reprinted with permission, original blog was posted here

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About the Author:
Alex Chatha, Director, Building Automation Research, ARC Advisory Group, Boston, USA
Responsible for planning and coordinating ARC Advisory Groups strategic research for the global building automation markets. Focus areas include HVAC, Lighting, Fire & Life Safety, and Security & Access Control.

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