4 Bright Lighting Trends That Will Change Your Life
It is hard to find a person who doesn’t have a ‘smart phone’ these days. Not only are our phones smarter, but our televisions, our cars and even our lighting.
Lighting technology is a rapidly advancing industry. Coupled with networking of all things, properly designed lightening systems are not only reducing the bottom line they are boosting productivity and enhancing safety.
Researchers are currently exploring ways that people interact with the environment; how light can be manipulated; and the technologies that promise to make the world more productive, safer, and healthier. Sensors integrated into luminaries, cameras, and other devices have the potential to collect massive amounts of data; they can capture thermal images; monitor ambient light levels; record temperatures and humidity; and track room occupancy and usage.
Here are a few trends in lighting and how they are impacting our everyday work and life.
The LED lighting trend is one that has staying power. By 2020, LED fixtures in offices are predicted to increase by 50%. Instead of simply installing “dumb” lighting systems, facility managers are looking for smart solutions that will help them reduce operational costs. When total energy costs are considered over the long term, LED lighting is both more affordable and more practical than other alternatives.
Power over Ethernet or PoE
Ethernet Lighting System technologies have unlocked efficiencies never before possible, by using ethernet cables to both power and control LED light fixtures. This means it’s not only easier and more economical to install than traditional lighting, but network-enabled lighting components give you immediate access and control over the entire system.
Integrated sensors can track activity patterns, daylight levels, and in the near future humidity, CO2, temperature, or other data. This data allows facility managers to gain deep insight into building operations, helping them optimize the delivery of resources, enhance the experience and performance of occupants, and support improved asset management.
Li-Fi, a brighter way to communicate. Visual light communication, or Li-Fi, is an emerging technology that competes with WI-Fi, using visible LED light for high-speed data transmission.
Li-Fi has the advantage of being useful in electromagnetic sensitive areas such as in aircraft cabins, hospitals and nuclear power plants without causing electromagnetic interference. Both Wi-Fi and Li-Fi transmit data over the electromagnetic spectrum, but whereas Wi-Fi utilizes radio waves, Li-Fi uses visible light. While the US Federal Communications Commission has warned of a potential spectrum crisis, because Wi-Fi is close to full capacity, Li-Fi has almost no limitations on capacity
Cloud-based smart lighting
Cloud based lighting systems come with a ‘brain’ and a sense of smell, sight and touch. The system can control a building’s energy usage through the cloud, sensing the temperature of a room all through the LED lights. If it is too hot or cold, the controls adjust the heating and cooling systems based on weather and room occupancy levels. It can detect if anyone is present in the room as well as detect carbon dioxide and monoxide. If the system “sees” people enter a room it increases the lighting and dims the lights as people depart. Advanced sensors provide safety and security information and alerts. The technology then sends any data back to the building owner through the cloud and the safety and security can be optimized based on that data.
As with all new technologies there are some downsides. There is currently a lack of standardization in the lighting, sensors, controls and infrastructure and without such standards, software may not be able to control the disparate systems. For there to be real momentum with smart lighting technologies, there needs to be a greater push for standardization and for an open-source IoT-based software platform.