There seems to be as many definitions of intelligent lighting as there are lighting manufacturers. At one end of the spectrum are luminaires that have built-in sensors for motion detection and day-light harvesting. At the other end, the information collected by these built-in sensors is “back-hauled” into the cloud for processing through the lighting manufacturer’s proprietary analytics software.
Where there is no communication capability built into the luminaire, the intelligence is effectively ring-fenced to that luminaire which then responds, individually, to the information collected by the sensor. For example, when there is no motion within range of the sensor for a pre-defined period of time, the light dims automatically. Or where there is good ambient light, the luminaire dims to conserve energy. Each luminaire responds to the information received from its sensors.
Where the luminaire’s sensors collects data and then back-hauls it into the “cloud” through, for example, a blue tooth mesh network, the data is available for interpretation, analysis and control purposes. Thus, the luminaire can react to the data itself or be controlled as part of a large group of luminaires to respond collectively in a particular manner (i.e., scene setting, etc.). Further, the data collected by the sensors can provide actionable information for property owners. One example of this is to determine how a particular space is utilised. The data analytics platform provides real time and historical space utilisation information that can be used to optimise layout and area access or even to reduce space so that under-utilised space can be released for alternative use or even sub-let to other tenants. Thus, information collected from the lighting system can be used to either minimise costs (electricity) or increase revenues (additional rental income).
Next week, we will discuss some of the platforms available for intelligent lighting.