Feature, IoT/Smart Lighting

Light makers challenge coders: ‘Give us clever apps’

The major lighting makers' internet of things (IoT) platforms have been thrown open to any coding company to develop ideas and apps for clients.

THE MAJOR lighting manufacturers are challenging software developers to come up with compelling applications for internet-connected lighting.

Leading the charge is the two big players, Osram and Philips, which threw their respective internet of things (IoT) platforms open to any coding company to develop ideas and apps for clients.

At the Light + Building 2018 exhibition in Frankfurt, Osram declared its ‘Lightelligence’ open source, and invited the tech industry to co-operate on developing new services in energy saving, asset management, building intelligence and other areas.

Osram cites the example of Germany luminaire maker RZB which is using the IoT platform to automate the regular testing of emergency lighting.

Philips Lighting’s IoT platform is called Interact and is designed to foster innovation from third-party developers, development partners and customers. It includes a developer portal and a growing suite of licensed APIs, so that data-enabled services can be developed.

‘Successful platform operators have created effective developer ecosystems,’ Thorsten Müller, Osram’s head of innovation told Lux. ‘We’re applying this logic to Lightelligence.

‘Our platform users can reap the benefits of a fully developed infrastructure without having to build or maintain it themselves.’

Programmers of these intelligent applications can save development time using Osram’s structured development programme and the large number of software modules available.

‘Lights can be found throughout every building and are connected to the electricity supply. When combined with sensors, they provide the ideal means of collecting and analysing key data about space utilisation and operating conditions,’ said Müller.

A wide range of components and control systems can be integrated into the platform, as the system is open to products, applications, and interfaces from all manufacturers.

For example, movement detectors installed to control lighting can also be used by alarm systems and in heating management.

Similarly, air quality sensors can be leveraged by systems such as air conditioning, automated window control, and fire alarms.

Brightness sensors that control blinds can also be used to dim interior lighting and can be accessed by fire alarm and intrusion alarm systems.

Sensors sitting in the lights of a warehouse can record inventories, monitor temperature and humidity for perishable goods, or optimise the way in which warehouses are used.

Motion detectors in office buildings can be used to manage meeting rooms more efficiently and arrange targeted cleaning.

In retail, customers can be marketed to using localised digital services. Mobile assets, such as beds and medical equipment in hospitals, can be located immediately. Beyond buildings, smart city solutions, such as the identification and reporting of free parking spaces through intelligent street luminaires, become feasible.

Osram cites the example of Germany luminaire maker RZB which is using the IoT platform to automate the regular testing of emergency lighting.

The platform allows RZB to automatically carry out remote function tests on emergency lighting systems. Regular testing of emergency lighting systems is a legal requirement in public and commercially used buildings. Until now, employees often had to walk through the buildings and check each emergency exit sign separately. But now, the checks can be carried out and documented remotely at the click of a button using sensors and Lightelligence, reducing the buildings’ running costs considerably.

Philips says it already has installed 29 million connected light points worldwide and plans for every new LED product it produces to be connectable by 2020.


  • IoT platforms for LED luminaires  will be one of  the subject of this year’s Lighting Fixture Design Conference, which takes place on 20 and 21 June 2018 . Organised by Lux and LEDs magazine, the event takes place at the Cavendish Conference Centre in London. For more information and to reserve you place, click HERE.