2018 Energy Trends: Connected Lighting is the Future (Part 2)

Energy Efficiency

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14 January 2019

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Jürgen Ritzek

First published here.

For my last post, we explored two emerging trends in connected lighting that will define 2018. Standardization around a protocol, like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), will help simply installation and allay interoperability fears. And, once the general public views Smart Lighting as a mature technology, they will more fully embrace manufacturers who can offer value beyond illumination.

More than any specific trends I identified for this series, 2018 will be a year of education and customer nurturing. Utilities looking to capitalize on these emerging trends could this opportunity to seed their marketplaces by offering technical and value based trainings that communicate the range of benefits specific to unique customer segments.

Below are the remaining trends that we will cover in part 2 of this two part series.

Human-Centric Lighting

Connected lighting is expensive – but employing a workforce is even more expensive. Jones Lang LaSalle estimates that the average business in the US pays about 100 times more for its workforce than for its utility bills. Making sure those employees are productive and comfortable should be a top priority for management. One way to ensure productivity is through human-centric lighting.

Each of us has bits of biology and evolution enshrined inside us. Human-centric lighting is about connecting our biology and biorhythms to the unnatural environments where we spend most of our time. Human-centric lighting is achieved through color tuning LEDs, which is one of those ‘race to the top’ differentiators that lighting OEMs are pursuing.

Expect to hear more about color tunable LED and human-centric lighting in 2018. It is one of those topics, while not likely to go mainstream, that is inching the debate toward being in favor of connected lighting systems.

Partnerships

2017 saw a lot of mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships, the biggest for connected lighting being Osram buying Digital Lumens. I expect this trend to amplify in 2018. We are at a nexus where many lighting companies are trying to become technology companies -and many technology companies are trying to enter the lighting market. The market is now disjointed. I see many smaller, very innovative firms failing in 2018 – which presents a unique opportunity for some unknown, well-capitalized firm to buy their way into this growing market.

For the more established players, I see 2018 as the year for deeper partnerships. In 2017, I enjoyed seeing Philips and Leviton work together to create the Zigbee-enabled ‘Easy Smart’ TLED product and wireless controls. Innovation like this is helping to bring connected lighting to the mass market.

As we move into 2018, keep an eye on GOOEE and Deltavation. Their recently announced partnership represents a great opportunity to mainstream IoT lighting systems in a simple manner.

Specifically looking towards wired systems, I expect to see Cisco deepen partnerships to expand and popularize Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology.

The utility industry should look to capitalize on these trends. Now is the right time to begin offering pilots focused on Smart Lighting. Seeding and nurturing this rapidly maturing technology will help transform the marketplace.

While 2018 may not be remembered as the year that connected lighting took flight, the trends we examined above are all crucial for pushing this transformative technology further along the diffusion curve.

For more information on Smart Lighting Solutions, please visit our Knowledge Hub or reach out to me directly.

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About the author

Wesley Whited is a Senior Consultant for Advanced Lighting & Controls at DNV GL. Mr. Whited has seven years’ experience in the commercial lighting market ranging from project management to sales. Mr. Whited is a graduate of West Virginia University (WVU) and holds a MBA from Capital University in Columbus, OH.

About the Author

Juergen Ritzek is co-founder and Business Director of EEIP