Since the days of a kerosene lamp, there have been significant enhancements leading to huge leaps forward. And now gaslight is substituted with incandescent light bulbs and fluorescent lights that are proving to be more efficient and optimized solutions for businesses and facility managers. But the progress hasn’t stopped with it: the demand to reduce lighting costs and use energy more reasonably induced more advanced and disruptive solutions as smart IoT lighting and LED technology. The smart lighting industry is evolving offering new business models including lighting-as-a-service. According to Statista, by 2025, it is forecasted that it will grow to 4.7 million dollars globally.
With IoT wireless communications and low-cost devices spread out in different environments, people can captivate enormous amounts of data that are valuable for the estimation of energy use and environmental conditions. With this data, new functionalities are generated. For example, complex building management systems (BMS) can take control of lighting, heating, air conditioning, etc.
Incorporating IoT and connectivity in the lighting systems opens a plethora of benefits, including seamless communication, increased control capabilities (i.e. scheduled illumination or dimming), energy costs reduction. IoT smart devices/sensors help capture information about burnt-out lighting in real-time. Since IoT technology is evolving rapidly, it makes it economically viable to connect each luminaire to the Internet.
Basically, being dispersed in the buildings, connected sensors can function as an additional source of data gathering. Being embedded in the light fixtures, they can accumulate and transmit information about building temperature, occupancy, air quality, etc.
How does IoT smart lighting work?
Why do consumers and building managers find IoT lighting so indispensable? Let us explain a bit about how data generation and management are conducted. So, light fixtures contain sensors thanks to which data is processed and collected via an IoT network (cloud computing or locally) allowing remote control and management through mobile or web applications. Generally, the data is visualized on the dashboards accessible from any networked device.
Have you heard about mesh networking? It is a local network topology where all nodes are connected to each other non-hierarchically. Mostly, IoT smart lighting uses this method of data transmission where each light item is connected to the nearest network. The latest is controlled by the centralized network. Hence, you can manage and monitor your lighting data from a single location.
Why is LED on the top of the internet of lights?
The basic element of your lighting strategy is a light bulb. Even incandescent lights are still used widely, the invention of LEDs impacted consumers to switch to LEDs because of a set of reasons. The benefits of LED lighting are as follows:
- IoT LED bulbs generate more light in comparison with traditional bulbs.
- They are more efficient because of the reduced heat they radiate.
- There are alternatives: warm and cool light.
- Led bulbs use up to 75% less energy and their resilience is 25 times stronger.
- They produce a higher quality of lighting.
Commercial facilities can leverage IoT-based LED lighting to their business cases since these two solutions are the perfect way to reduce energy consumption and deliver maximum financial impact on the buildings.
What opportunities does IoT-powered lighting offer to the market?
To become more energy-efficient and provide people with secure and well-lit spaces for their lives and work, businesses tend to embrace smart lighting technology. It’s not strange since, with IoT lighting, a building has smart connections that can ensure security, smart HVAC, analytical data, etc. While reducing the environmental and financial costs of energy production, IoT offers a plethora of benefits for smart cities.
Smart lighting benefits
1. Enhanced security.
Remote-activated and monitored smart lighting systems can immensely enhance public safety. For example, such places as parking lots, low-traffic streets, campuses, parks, etc. lack proper lighting which can lead to increased crime rates. According to major studies, the lighting of poorly lit areas reduces crime to 39 percent.
Smart lighting applications can fulfill the following actions:
- Turn or dim lights to prevent emergencies cases
- Increase lights in high crime areas to identify misbehaviors
- Detect power cuts faster
- Use responsive lighting during poor weather to improve visibility
2. Energy efficiency and clearness.
Being connected to a smart grid LED lighting ensures the city’s sustainability by lowering energy consumption, reducing grid load, and, generally, improving its efficiency. Let us clarify on smart grid and efficient network of clean energy solutions.
In order to power lighting, tons of workloads need to be done: grid systems need to burn fossil fuel and utilize batteries; distribution feeders are heavily loaded. Therefore, there are solutions to decrease the demand for batteries, ensure carbon efficiency, and optimize the overall lighting generation process. Smart lighting technology can significantly decrease light consumption by turning on/off lights reasonably, reducing grid load, and lowering the electricity bills.
So how can cities obtain more control of lighting usage and how can utility companies make effective solutions for saving energy? The answer is the smart grid. With smart grid technology, energy usage will be reduced, people will get cleaner energy by moving to green technologies, costs will be reduced due to more efficient source rerouting.
3. Energy costs reduction.
According to Gartner vice president, smart lighting can lower electricity costs up to 90%. Indeed, IoT-powered asset management doesn’t require additional efforts to check every flaw disrupting the operation of lights. Moreover, smart lighting helps prevent power outages, at the same time, saving people’s lives.
Beyond illumination: IoT lighting use cases
The possibilities IoT lighting offers to the world is much more extensive than illumination itself. The capabilities that IoT devices and sensors embedded into the connected street or building infrastructure provide can be startling. Let’s take a look at some non-typical use cases available of IoT smart lighting solutions:
Here we are going to talk about real estate businesses looking for IoT solutions to efficiently manage their smart buildings. From the point of view of building owners whose priority is reasonable investments and estimation of long-term financial success, IoT smart lighting is not an obvious decision. But if a building owner wants to know how their building is used or whether space is used reasonably, they need a valuable source of data ensuring better decisions toward meaningful changes. And one of such sources of data lies in smart lighting.
So the workplace design strategy can be defined by IoT lighting. Let’s elaborate on that. IoT LED lights system can empower workplace planning and decision making by evaluating space utilization and providing heat maps of the building. Taking into account that every building needs lights, they can be a perfect source of data without a need for added intelligence.
For instance, switched on/off lights can indicate which room is more occupied. Data obtained via IoT lights can deliver smart monitoring results such as what type of space is overused or used less. By analyzing this data businesses can optimize their investments in real estate.
Big companies strive to develop IoT applications that can save maintenance costs and reduce energy consumption. Smart sensor networks can help capture actionable real-time data from the urban environment. For example, IoT devices embedded in connected light poles can alarm the first responders of a building fire. Less dramatic use cases can be as follows: sanitation workers can utilize sensor-transmitted data to their work routine and detect which streets need swiping, for instance.
Nowadays companies are embracing new technologies striving to utilize advanced solutions in smart cities strategies. Their requirements may be:
- decrease the lighting level during the off-peak traffic hours
- lower CO2 emissions
- reduce maintenance costs
In this case, IoT smart lighting systems need to collect and store vast amounts of data and control an incredible amount of city lamps on a big scale. The Danish company Novalume addressed Euristiq looking for scalable high-performance smart city lighting solutions to control 2M street lamps all over the world.
Moreover, IoT lighting control systems are incorporated in the lighting strategies of modern cities looking for solutions to create an aesthetic atmosphere by changing backlight, schedule smart colorful illumination of well-known locations. Euristiq has developed an easy-operating lighting management system for the Netherland multinational conglomerate corporation to improve city attractiveness.
Wellbeing and health
Did you know that 87 percent of humans’ lives are spent indoors which leads to a lack of natural daylight? Without a doubt, such a factor affects our health state and productivity level extremely.
Talking about the wellbeing and health of the indoor workers, connected lighting allows a holistic view of schedules which leads to maximizing productivity and health so that employees will not exhaust themselves working till late time. Wellness and comfort are essential factors to consider while taking care of the employees. Appropriate lighting levels and color temperatures can be applied to boost staff’s concentration, physical relaxation, or energy.
Smart lighting can modify the light spectrum and match natural light ensuring improved cognitive performance.
It is worth mentioning that one of the purposes of smart homes is to enhance people’s daily routine by waking them up in the morning naturally and helping them fall asleep more peacefully. That’s why Phillips Lighting in cooperation with Dutch telecommunications KPN, French insurance firm AXA and energy company ENGIE adopted IoT smart lighting solutions for homes.
With the versatility of in-store offers to the consumers, retail companies seek advanced ways to engage and assist in-store customers while they look for certain items or products. Fortunately, nowadays there are indoor positioning services available that can significantly enrich the customer shopping experience. How do they look? In-store positioning technology resembles GPS technology leveraging fixed location transmitters, smartphones, beacons, etc.
Consequently, with a step-by-step guide to the exact location, they look for customers to get a personalized, efficient, and tailored experience. With indoor positioning technology, warehouse personnel can be more productive due to easier product finding and location-based stocking instructions.
Phillips was a game-changer in retail who installed the first hypermarket Carrefour with LED indoor positioning system.
Led-based indoor positioning delivers paramount opportunities for retailers since it provides accurate data thanks to VLC (virtual light communications) and Bluetooth low energy. What makes VLC so powerful in comparison with other beacon technologies is that it provides accuracy and speed. As for the VLC drawback, it works only if the shopper has his/her smartphone in active use and when the device is not out-of-sight. In this case, Bluetooth low energy comes in. Therefore, such an innovative holistic approach provides substantial advantages both for customers and retailers:
- There is no need for extra expenditures to build additional equipment since LED deployments in the existing lighting infrastructures bring a faster return on investment.
- Each consumer with a smartphone equipped with a camera or Bluetooth will get an engaging experience.
- Smart LED lighting helps identify the precise location with maximum accuracy.
Furthermore, with LED lighting systems, retail businesses are empowered with striking opportunities in terms of real-time analytics used for the enhancement of customer journeys. For example, intelligent retail in-store foot traffic analytics can increase revenue, improve customer experiences, as well as control energy consumptions. Euristiq has helped store owners to collect valuable data and create heat maps based on customers’ actions in order to determine the most active zones in the stores.
Smart lighting is not a distant future, it’s a reality. IoT-powered smart lighting is a powerful solution with new delivery models for a wide spectrum of use cases allowing to reframe the authentic comprehension of lighting usage. Being a rich source of data, smart lighting systems optimize business performance and everyday humans’ experience, whether in their homes, stores, or workplaces. To enhance the lighting infrastructure in buildings retailers do not need to damage the aesthetics of existing lighting systems and additional architectural design.