By Brian Vedder, Product Marketing Manager, Signify
There’s a bright future for connected lighting. In 2017, the global market for smart lighting and connected controls was valued at $8 billion and is expected to double by 2021. Ultimately, that means a tremendous upside for ECs to deliver value in new ways by helping their customers navigate the gradual shift to connected lighting systems. They play a critical role in explaining the benefits that connected technology delivers and making it simple to install and maintain.
At the same time, we recognize that every customer is at a different stage along the connected journey. So, our approach must be in line with the market realities, and we’re developing new technology and products that provide customers with a range of options that match their project and application needs.
For instance, a full-scale connected lighting renovation project may sound like an expensive and/or laborious proposition. But as we look across the board – from offices and stores to schools and multi-use facilities, the opportunities are growing. The path to connected doesn’t need to be a costly or time-consuming endeavor. In fact, getting connected requires nothing more than a lamp replacement and an easy-to-use app accessible from a mobile device.
Today, there are plug-and-play options available that allow you to configure lamps, grouping and brightness levels with just a few taps on a smartphone, eliminating the time-consuming and costly process of ripping up the ceiling, re-wiring or complicated commissioning. And since connected lighting is frequently built on mesh networks, you don’t have to worry about a communication failure disrupting the installation. Instead, it is self-healing for better reliability, security and network coverage.
In addition to the simple setup, the clear energy savings can be north of 60 percent when combining the LED system with occupancy sensors and daylight harvesting. We recently learned through installation at a medical facility in Andover, MA that conversion from fluorescent lights to TLEDs alone reaps about 50 percent in energy savings. By incorporating occupancy sensors, we could yield an additional 10 percent savings, with yet another 5 percent energy reduction achieved through daylight harvesting.
We see customers at all stages of the connected lighting journey, and that means we need to be thinking about the connected journey for every price point. For example, one of the solutions we developed allows customers to change the functionality of the room at an entry level price. This system, the only lamp-based connected lighting system on the market, is an affordable, connected solution that ends up paying for itself over time.
The biggest successes we have had so far have been in classrooms. Many are outfitted with lamps that are controlled by the traditional, on/off switch in the room. By contrast, our connected system is controllable through a connected switch with specific zones for scene setting. For example, during study time, a teacher can select the appropriate brightness to help students focus during a test or presentation. Or teachers can calm down the room during lunch by dimming to a warmer scene. It’s flexible, adaptable, and most importantly, the quality of light is better for students, which can help promote productivity and a general sense of well-being while at school.
We’ve reached an inflection point in the evolution of lighting and the transformation of the lighting industry where a decision must be made – get connected or get commoditized. EC’s will continue to play an important role in helping customers select the right products that not only meet their immediate project needs but deliver value that will help their business grow well into the future.