The concept of the ‘Internet of Things’ in which internet-connected light fittings communicate with with other devices andthe outside world will be a key theme of the LuxLive Middle East exhibition and conference programme in April.
If it sounds like a buzzword, don’t be deceived. The market for the internet of things (IoT), or internet-connected objects, is exploding, and it’s going to change the lighting industry, our homes and our cities, in very big ways. For instance, the ubiquity of streetlighting makes it the ideal platform on which to add hardware to do new and useful things in the urban environment – like monitor air quality.
Now some of the industry’s leading players, including Acuity and Philips as well as tech start-ups such as Gooee, are betting heavily on a future where lighting is a key element of the IoT.
Special presentations, demonstrations and debates on the topic will take place at the show, which takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on 13 and 14 April.
‘We too believe that internet-connected lighting will be a massive trend for 2016,’says the event’s content director Ray Molony. ‘We want to explain the benefits and opportunities presented by the technology, and also address the challenges.’
Installations using these type of technologies are already in operation. For instance, a wireless lighting network at Newark Airport in the US can monitor the movement of people and vehicles. Car parking is another sector that could benefit from the technology.
Siemens has developed a system which uses streetlight-mounted radar to detect cars, motorbikes and even bicycles which are parked where they shouldn’t be, and automatically alert the authorities. The same technology, paired with a smartphone app, can tell drivers where parking is available, even sensing the size of the gap to check it’s big enough.
In the smart city, systems that might once have worked separately can now share data and interact. Combine cameras and sensors in streetlights with your traffic lights and signage, and you have the means to monitor traffic, regulate flow, and, if necessary, redirect traffic.
If every light fitting has its own network IP address, facilities managers may as well use that to their advantage. IoT lighting enables remote monitoring of lighting installations for lamp failure, emergency lighting faults and potentially even light output depreciation. That way facilities managers can make the call on when to go into the building to perform maintenance.
One of the coolest things that a smart lamp like the Philips Hue can do is talk to your TV, so your lighting can complement what’s happening on screen. Philips has programmed its Hue LED bulbs to automatically flash, dim, change colours and pulsate along with shows – the first show to benefit being the Syfy series 12 Monkeys.
Lighting is the Trojan Horse of the internet of things – it’s the connected network that’s already there in the ceiling of every building – in many cases, with sensors already hooked up. As Sam Woodward of Lutron puts it, lighting has its ‘beach towels on the ceiling’. All these clever new IoT companies looking for a network of powered devices in buildings around the world, positioned with good lines of sight for cameras and occupancy sensors… look no further, it’s already there: the lights.
- LuxLive Middle East show at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on April 13 and 14. To register for a free pass, visit www.luxlive.ae