Feature, IoT/Smart Lighting

2019 to be the year of IoT lighting – Osram chief

‘There’s been a lot of talk in the industry in recent years but now the concept of internet-connected lighting is actually here’, says ‘Osram Digital chief Wilhelm Nehring told Lux.

THE ADOPTION of internet-connected lighting will begin in earnest this year, the CEO of Osram Digital has predicted.

‘It’s quite exciting because we see now for the first time that it is really kicking off,’  CEO Wilhelm Nehring told Lux: ‘There’s been a lot of talk in the industry recent years but now it’s actually right here’.

The company sees a potential market for IoT solutions in the industrial and office sectors of 100 billion euros alone. ‘That’s why it’s so crucial for us really to tap into that and to be the key technology provider’.

German supermarket Edeka uses Internet-connected smart lighting which uses the power lines as a means of communication. One of its stores in Berlin is a pilot deployment of Osram’s Lightelligence system which uses so-called power line communication (PLC). PLC uses standard electrical wires to carry data. The Internet can thus connect via a building’s existing power cables to smart lights, carrying instructions for controlling light settings, and delivering information to support everything that a smart light might do, such as providing indoor navigation services, engaging shoppers with offers, tracking assets, and much more.

Osram has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years. The traditional ‘legacy’ lamp business was sold off and is now fully owned by China’s largest lighting company, MLS. The sale of the Siteco luminaires business has now been announced leaving Osram as a purely technology company.

Osram Digital, which focuses purely on software-based systems and digital light management systems (‘because we see enormous opportunity’) is complemented by a US business and a specialist service division.

‘We also see that not only is the business changing but the value chain is changing too and that’s why it’s so important to focus on the technology because we see…the lighting infrastructure becoming a key enabler for IoT solutions’.

Speaking at the LuxLive exhibition in London, Nehring said the task was to solve the problems of end clients by creating value and insights out of the data collected by sensors in the lighting.

‘We believe that the lighting infrastructure will be the backbone of the IoT in the future for one very simple reason. If you look at the ceiling, the lights are everywhere.

‘So for smart buildings, we are in every single room and have the perfect bird’s-eye view on every room. We have the ability to provide power to every sensor and also collect the data out of every sensor and sent it to a cloud-based system or light management system.

‘And that’s why the lighting infrastructure is so crucial for all IoT solutions and buildings in the future’.

In the past, clients chose light management systems primarily for energy saving. ‘But now we see more and more that we have the first pilot cases where it goes beyond lighting where we really have the understanding that with sensing and data analytics we can generate value out of the data for clients’.

The industrial sector was the earliest adopter of the technology. ‘There you have a very clear return on investment’ which is sometimes under two years.

‘Just by adding intelligence to lighting infrastructure you can harness your production you can enhance your warehouse and the flows from A to B. You can get insights into how you’re actually using your production facilities and this is a segment or a sector where we see a very early adoption.

‘But we’re also seeing adoption more and more in offices because you’ve seen the way that smart offices are changing and increasing demand especially in cities like we’re here in London.

‘When you’re building a new office you have a completely different demand on what that office has to deliver than say five or even 10 years ago because it’s so much more about the employees themselves. How can I attract the right employees?

‘The younger generation has a completely different demand but also want more flexibility in terms of sharing data and being willing to sharing their data to enhance their day in that office. So it’s a very big change’.


  • Osram will be at LuxLive 2019 at London ExCeL, taking place on Wednesday 13 November and Thursday 14 November 2019. More information HERE.