LED Lighting Networks as a Platform for Building Internet of Things (BIoT)

Author photo: Alex Chatha
ByAlex Chatha
Technology Trends

Lights are omnipresent within every facility and surrounding built environments, with their placement providing an unrivaled vantage point to perceive the activities beneath them.  When static lighting becomes networked and intelligent, packaged sensors enable systems to become dynamic and responsive.  As LED lighting systems become integrated with building automation platforms that utilize shared historians and open architectures, broader synergies will emerge.  

LED Lighting

Intelligent sensors will further enhance the intelligence and control capabilities of HVAC, access, fire detection, intelligent evacuation, and other building systems.  These advanced LED systems will include indoor positioning systems using Visual Light Communications (VLC) and other embedded beacon technologies to track the movement of people, equipment, and inventory within a facility, which will enable in-facility GPS-style mapping.  

What seals the deal is that whether you are building a new facility or retrofitting an existing structure with LED lighting, the additional costs for an advanced controls network is nominal when you consider the energy cost savings associated with greater control.

LED Lighting Networks are the Future of BIoT Platforms

The following highlights show that LED lighting networks can resolve many of the key Industrial IoT platform concerns that exist in built environments:

  • Lighting is ubiquitous and part of an organized spatial grid that is ideally suited for a wired or wireless network, which could eliminate the need to install a separate data network for IoT.
  • The controllers that run the systems are networked and powered 24/7, with the capability of powering peripheral IoT devices and sensors.
  • Additional functionality can be deployed over time through simple driver upgrades.
  • Networked controllers are software-driven, enabling remote monitoring, configuration, rezoning, task tuning, system alerts, and energy reporting.
  • The processing capability exists for sophisticated edge/fog computing abilities.
  • The cost-benefit analysis for retrofits, upgrades, and new construction projects with a lighting-based IoT network as part of your built environment shows a sound justification.
  • The capacity to outfit each additional fixture with smart sensors that capture data and use the IoT platform in place to feed it to the Cloud is relatively simple, which makes these platforms ideal for scalability.

A smart LED lighting system can be a future-proof platform that pays for itself if built correctly.  LEDs are up to 70 percent more energy-efficient than traditional lighting, so there is immediate, significant energy cost reduction.  LED lighting systems are long-lasting and require minimal maintenance, so both capital and operational costs are contained.  Additionally, future upgrades can be streamlined through component swaps and software updates deployed from the cloud.  If you are interested in smart lighting systems, the recent release of ARC’s global market analysis report can be found here.

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