In early December, the U.S. Department of Energy held a meeting for solid state lighting industry experts about connected lighting systems. The presentations from the meeting are now available online. Among the main issues addressed at the meeting, interoperability and system complexity were the most talked about.
Tom Griffiths, Sr. marketing manager at ams AG presented about using chip scale integrated solutions to help reduce configuration complexity. According to Tom, “Smart” lighting is both personalized and responsive. It comes in novel form factors, and is self-configuring and predictive. Tom posits that Smart lighting with spectral cognition can drive better configuration decisions.
Tom examines an IoT sensor network in an office in which the LED lighting serves as a hub for all the sensors. Sensors in the system include daylight and color sensors, presence sensors, and smoke/fire sensors. CO/CO2 sensors, spectral sensors, temperature and humidity sensors. The system commissions and manages the lighting. It aggregates the data for analytics, predictive algorithms. Service apps can allow smartphone users with an app to gather “spatial knowledge”.
In such a system each luminaire acts as a system hub. Tom asserts that making a system smart only solves part of the complexity problem. Information from the combination of sensors is needed to gather knowledge about a space. Intelligence allows individual access and control of the system through a phone app. Luminaire sensor integrations brings some level of “understanding”. Reflectivity and distance from walls can likely be inferred from integrated lighting sensor data.
Tom notes that having sensors for Lux, CCT, Temperature, and humidity are only the beginning of what can be done. Other things such as furnishing inventories, Time of flight, and space mapping can also be possible. From the gathering of sensor data, the lighting can be adjusted based upon daylight levels, and users can vary the target light levels from defaults.
Tom outlined some of the current capabilities of sensors. He noted that Lux sensors are currently precise, but new paradigms can help interpret the Lux data. In CCT/Color sensors, he said that interference filters/XYZ/ will offer more channels to replace RGB. Among presence sensors, active presence sensors are good, bug passive presence seniors are still expensive.
For a system to work, lots of pieces have to work together. For this reason, standards are mandatory. Tom examined a system of networked luminaires that uses a BLE/ZigBee mesh network. The network connects wirelessly to a BLE/ZigBee gateway and then connects to router/switch with ethernet cables. The router/switch connects the cloud to the backhaul network also through ethernet cables. In addition to local controls, remote management and sensing can control the lighting. Tom noted that such a system requires security, interoperability, and “BMS” integration. Tom points to the under appreciated devices that make such smart systems possible, systems on a chip.
According to Tom, the simplicity of the system and its reliability will ultimately help determine how widely smart lighting systems are adopted. The sensors have to last a long time for wide-spread adoption. They should have a high level of silicon integration, and should be calibrated for the lifetime of the sensor.
Tom says that such smart lighting systems should use open architecture for networking. Driverless/high-level command and control interfaces can allow the separation of commissioning and operating lights in the system.