The main themes of the smart lighting conference were around the role that lighting can play in smart cities, the role that lighting will play in the Internet of Things (IOT) and smart controls that can integrate (communicate) with other services.
The Internet of Things is possible due to the proliferation of low-cost sensors and connected homes and workplaces. These low-cost sensors would be connected to a large number of devices, including lighting, and transfer data back to the cloud. Connecting lighting to the IOT was seen as creating value beyond illumination.
Whilst the business case of utilising this data has yet to be established, this technological development is seen as a natural extension of existing technologies as well as our desire to monitor and control the built environment. Its potential merits the hype, but there is a significant amount of work to make it a reality.
Lighting was considered important due to its density in all environments. There was a significant amount of discussion about the interconnectivity of lighting into other services and the lack of standardisation around communication protocols.
There was general consensus that it would still be several years before standardisation occurred. In the meantime there was still strong demand for smartlighting that responded to its environment to minimise energy consumption.
There has been significant investment in developing a new suite of controls and sensors that are low-power, low-cost and more effective. As the cost continues to fall it is believed that many lights will start to include these sensors and controls are standard items.
Security of data was seen as one of the key challenges and requires that systems are designed from the ground up with security in mind.
The other challenge is to limit the amount of non-value data being transferred to the cloud. Creating smart sensors which transfer only relevant information are seen as essential to limit the unnecessary data and skyrocketing energy demand of powering and cooling servers.
A new occupancy sensor based on thermal imaging will represent a significant improvement over the existing passive infra-red (PIR) sensors. This will be applicable mainly in commercial offices.
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