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IoT Connected Lighting in Commercial Buildings

By Special Guest
Alex Pop, Alex Pop is a writer on behalf of The Window Experts
December 20, 2016

Smart lighting allows individuals to control lights in imaginative ways, and use them as valuable information points for collecting and sharing information about one’s facilities. With smart lighting poised to revolutionize both the lighting and networking industries, some business owners are finding it a boon, while others are still finding it complicated and are, understandably, resistant to change.

Let There be Light
One need only look at Cisco’s innovation center to find that the future of commercial smart lighting is already here. The Berlin-based, 100 person office has no light switches; instead, over 5,000 sensors control lighting and climate - feeding this data into Cisco’s central IT systems - where the company can do some pretty cool things with it.

Smart Lighting: A Boon
With all the lights in the building connected to motion sensors, the company is harvesting data about its 13,000 square foot facility through lights connected to motion sensors. The ceiling panels respond to network commands for on/off, brightness, color, and color temperature. Cisco claims these modern improvements have helped curtail costs as they only turn on when they need to be in use. They also help to highlight the high-traffic areas of the building, offering data on building occupancy, while creating a more ergonomic work environment for its workers, putting to use low-traffic zones, while minimizing congestion in other areas.

Cisco is leading by example; LEDs Magazine finds that the hardware and telecom company has already implemented IoT connected lighting in its San Jose headquarters and regional center in Toronto. Its UK headquarters in London will soon follow, while the Berlin office will double the amount of sensors from 5,000 to 10,000 (Source).

Smart Lighting: A Bane
Meanwhile, individuals and business owners may be asking themselves what all the hoopla is about. For residents and small businesses who may not have the electrical wiring and networking know-how to replace one’s existing light bulbs - and run the complex APIs necessary to link smart lights to other “smart systems” of the house - the feat can seem daunting and disadvantageous.

A funny tweet managed to capture the frustration of going from light switches to WiFi controlled light switches (Source). Cisco is a global company with individuals talented enough to implement these Power over Ethernet solutions; the rest of us still need to play catch up.

It’s safe to say that unless you, the business owner or manager, have a large, 10,000 square foot facility, then you don’t need to shell out the upfront costs that will replace your dumb lights with smart ones. Similarly, you may not be ready to implement these changes if you do nothing with the data these motion sensor activated lights collect.

Final Thoughts
Smart lighting is currently a multi-billion dollar market, with applications in residential, office, shop, hospitality, industrial, outdoor, and architectural (Source). One Harvard chief, heavily into research and development claims that the entire lighting industry supply chain needs to get on board with the IoT and advanced lighting controls or be left behind (Source). One thing is for sure, however: more money will be placed into lighting controls and connected bulbs as part of a smart-home or smart-business.

About the Author: Alex Pop is a writer on behalf of The Window Experts, a Florida state licensed and Energy Star approved installer of hurricane windows and doors. He enjoys educating people on the issues faced by homeowners during the hurricane season, as well as new technology in the housing market.  




Edited by Ken Briodagh


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