An Introduction to Smart Lighting
Technology advances are converging today to create lighting solutions that provide you with responsive control to occupant activities. This paradigm shift is achieved by bringing intelligence to the luminaire and providing a powerful platform for the present and future.
The solution of this new paradigm is the integration of light sources, drivers and sensors that are typically stand-alone. Light sources are now closely integrated with the power conversion traditionally provided by an LED driver. An integrated product with one brain creates the opportunity to provide advanced control, networked communication and expansion of lighting in innovative, cost-effective ways.
The result is a better way to light offices, retail stores, schools, hospitals and warehouses. In a store, lighting can draw attention to a displayed product by brightening a spotlight as shoppers walk down an aisle. Similarly, lighting can dim in employees’ cubicles when they are away, and then restore to their preferred level upon return.
These systems are all “smart lighting,” an evolution of sensors and human input that determines how much light should be provided in a specific environment. Lights are always connected and ready, but you tell them what, when and how they should perform.
Together, multiple control strategies create lighting that is context sensitive, responsive to occupants, and reactive to new information sources for both current and future needs. With networked lighting, the decision-making or “smarts” can reside in the luminaire, a centralized control system or a hybrid approach.
A key feature of smart lighting is that it’s configurable to meet the requirements of the facility. Lights can be adjusted to provide the minimum or maximum amount of light required. The dimming curve can be switched from a logarithmic response to a linear response, or even to a custom response. Mobile applications make this configuration easy. And wireless communication allows you to configure without getting on a ladder or manipulating the luminaire.
One challenge is that lighting controls have generally used proprietary networks. While open standards such as DALI and DMX512 have long been available, extending the network to smart fixtures has required different and, at times, cumbersome solutions.
New smart platforms and emerging standards will provide simpler solutions to these challenges. Remote communication using real-time or historical data—local or from the cloud—can be done using an application on a mobile device or computer. Through this software, it will be possible for you to remotely configure, control and retrieve luminaire data.
Smart lighting has the ability to make people feel better and be more productive, while providing cost effective solutions.
Control the color points of lighting. A smart platform provides a highly robust way to adjust the color temperature of lights, eliminating the need for expensive multi-channel drivers to provide tunable white.
For instance, an office building can be lit with invigorating cool lights in the morning and early afternoon to provide visual acuity and raise alertness, and then transition to warmer light in the late afternoon and early evening. This change mimics the color of light that naturally and dynamically changes throughout the day.
Meet energy code requirements. Building energy codes continue to require expansion of lighting control strategies such as daylight perimeter control or occupancy sensors. The best way to prepare for this future is by extending the network out to individual luminaires.
At Bridgelux, we provide a complete, intelligent electronics solution for luminaire manufacturers to enable the smart lighting revolution. Our new smart lighting platform has the ability to provide the desired amount of light, at the desired time, with the flexibility to support multiple open and proprietary protocols.