OSRAM’s Todd Smith on Lighting for Smart Cities

Craig DiLouie, LC, CLCP recently had the opportunity to interview Todd Smith, Head of Engineering and Solution Development, SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions, OSRAM SYLVANIA. The topic: smart cities.

DiLouie: What is the concept of the smart city? What are the basic capabilities and benefits? Any documented outcomes based on demonstration projects?

Smith: A smart city networks one or several supply systems, controls these systems via software, and achieves significant savings in resources and costs by automating systems to respond to various environmental changes and conditions. It is an integration of buildings, information technology, and energy systems that can include light, automation, life safety, telecommunication, user systems, and facility management. All systems run on Ethernet/IP to allow people, systems, and objects to interact, respond to programmable cues, and report and monitor events. The basic capabilities of a smart city include detecting events or changing conditions, gathering data, and in some cases, the ability to control conditions all from a centralized hub or location.

There are numerous values and benefits to creating a smart city. Among the most important are data collection and subsequent energy and cost savings. Data is critical because conditions must be measured and monitored in order for the city to be managed. Energy and cost savings are another reason smart cities are the future. One of the primary capabilities people look for in a smart city is the ability for a light management system to detect outages, preventing the need for outages to be detected and recorded via customer reports or company surveys. When a power outage, gas leak, or even a car accident occurs, sensors and cameras in the smart city network can automatically notify city officials, helping improve emergency response times and overall city safety.

DiLouie: How do lighting and controls serve as the backbone of the smart city?

Smith: Lighting and controls serve as the backbone of smart cities. From office buildings, to train stations, to street and traffic lights, there is some form of light source. With the miniaturization of microprocessors, intelligence can now be embedded in lamps and luminaries, creating network-enabled devices where sensors can generate valuable data for the smart city network. Due to their digital nature, these controls are inherently compatible with LEDs. Therefore LEDs have the potential to be the primary infrastructure through which smart city networks are delivered. The purpose of a smart city is to provide the ability to control and monitor infrastructure, all of which is achievable through intelligent, sensing, and programmable LED luminaries.

DiLouie: What are the basic elements of the lighting control system?

Smith: Though the basic elements of the lighting control system can vary, the key elements include widely distributed sensing capabilities and a communications network. These sensors can monitor an unlimited number of factors, including detection of occupancy or motion, relative humidity, gas, temperature, and daylight.

With the use of an input/output sensor, data can be collected and compiled into the user’s network, and software can be configured to process and analyze the data. This provides the ability to collect data in the appropriate locations, while also creating a robust communications network.

Smart cities aren’t just limited to outdoor spaces, and can be integrated with building management systems as well. The ability to have an office building or space detect where people are, what the traffic flows are and how they move, and what spaces are being utilized at what times can allow the building system to sense and respond to changes in the environment. This might include programing lighting, heating, or AC depending on occupancy and environmental conditions – all resulting in optimized energy usage.

DiLouie: Please describe your company’s solution. What equipment is used? How do devices communicate and manage the flow of data? Where does the data go? Who operates the system and views the data, and how?

Smith: SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions (SLS) provides interior and exterior solutions for enabling smart cities and buildings. Interior lighting management systems, such as the ENCELIUM Light Management System by OSRAM, are designed for applications such as smart buildings, while exterior lighting control systems are used to collect data from street lighting. SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions is product agnostic, and the equipment used is based on customer requirements and needs. For example, luminaires first must meet the lighting requirements of the city, as the customer generally moves from a retrofit to a higher efficiency light source. SLS first consults with the customer, whether a municipality or a city, to define what they are trying to achieve. Then the appropriate devices, systems, lighting, and software packages are determined to meet the customer’s specific needs.

With existing building management systems, integration can occur through different protocols with the light management systems put in place, bringing everything together for the city. This removes the need for separate software and protocols as only one is needed.

Device communication can be wired or wireless. Typically, exterior lighting control systems are wireless. Interior lighting control systems can be a mix, depending on the space and customer preference. Either way, the communication protocols are the same regardless of the method of transmission. Where the data goes from there depends entirely on the needs of the end user. Data can be hosted by SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions, in a cloud-based system, or on an end user’s server.

The operator of the system can vary. While the building facilities manager may be the operator for their particular space in the building, in places such as train stations, a member of the department of transportation might have access to data from traffic patterns and street lights. Overall, everything will be managed by the city manager, or whoever is designated by the municipality as the owner.

DiLouie: What’s a good example of your system in action?

Smith: SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions is working on a smart city integration that involves networking government service administration buildings together with a large ENCELIUM enterprise solution. This will allow the city individual control at the building level, but also at the departmental level in order to allow for complete city-wide visibility. SLS was chosen for these transformations based on its strong reputation and ability to manage large projects.

In terms of demand response, the integration also allows for factors, such as daylight, to limit lighting consumption to a set percentage in order to lower the energy load during peak usage hours. This demand response protocol is built into the control system, and allows the customer to respond to a smart building’s request to drive down energy consumption load during peak demands. This manages the grid more effectively, and prevents the need to add more power to a particular grid.

A similar lighting systems integration project was completed in 2013 for a number of municipal buildings, court houses, and police stations as well as a sports arena owned by the municipality. The project gave the city added visibility over activities at each of the locations. The biggest piece of this project was the convention center. In addition to converting all the lighting to LED and energy efficient fluorescents, SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions also installed an advanced control system to better control the lighting at the facility. Previously there were few controls and no way to turn lights on and off effectively. The ENCELIUM controls include occupancy sensors and time scheduling capabilities that provide a wide array of control options that save energy and provide better functionality of the building, its meeting rooms and large ballrooms and concourses.

Incandescent and CFL lighting was also replaced in senior centers, libraries and municipal buildings with new LED sources. One of the biggest areas of savings were the replacement of nearly 1000 high ceiling Metal Halide cans with new LED sources. Energy was reduced by 65 percent, but the real benefit was the new longer life system (from 20,000 to 100,000 hours). Previously, it was very expensive and difficult to service the lighting because of the high mounting heights and challenging access.

DiLouie: A smart city goes far beyond LED lighting and centralized control. Please identify as many capabilities as possible that can be realized with a citywide lighting and sensor network. What sensors are required? At what point is custom software required, and who provides that?

Smith: The capabilities that can be realized with a citywide lighting and sensor network are limitless. If there is a sensor for anything from humidity, smoke, gas, radiation, noise level, to water pressure, the sensor can be integrated into the system, which then provides data to the customer.

Having sensors throughout a building accumulates data and reports. The customer must first identify what information they want to know and where, how to gather the information, and what will be done with that data. In turn, if a space has a sensor to detect for gas, there can also be an automated response in the system to handle that information.

Custom software is required if the customer needs to access something that is not inherent to the system. Although the ability to gather information is present in most smart devices, the system needs to be configured to respond to the intelligence gathered from particular sensors, thus creating the need for custom software. Combining multiple systems also creates the need for customization in order to pull the data from multiple software packages such as light management systems, building management systems, security systems, etc., into the overarching system.

DiLouie: How do electrical contractors play in this space? What can they provide, and what do they need to do in order to gain this business?

Smith: Having the right relationships and skill set is essential for electrical contractors getting involved in the smart cities space. As with any type of system integration, such as lighting controls, building the skill set and comfort level is key. In the smart cities space, knowledge must evolve from electrical to include systems work as well. Understanding both the hardware and software, and becoming comfortable working with different systems, is essential for electrical contractors to gain business in the smart cities space.

DiLouie: If sold through distribution, what can electrical distributors do to generate additional sales in this category?

Smith: Electrical distributors can provide a complete offering to their customers and generate additional sales in the smart cities market by partnering with manufacturers who have a wide range of product offerings.

DiLouie: What approach should system planners (e.g., electrical engineers) take to design an appropriate system for their city? Any common pitfalls?

Smith: From a design standpoint, system planners should first fully understand what is needed. Developing a smart city solution can be overwhelming because the options are literally limitless. It is important to not get too focused on what might be more than necessary for your particular municipality. Start upfront by understanding what your needs are, and then work with the right partner to figure out the solution.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about lighting and controls for smart cities, what would it be?

Smith: Due to the digital nature of LEDs and the ability to embed microprocessors in luminaries, lighting has the potential to provide the infrastructure for creating completely networked smart cities.

LED Linear Applications Online Course Now Available at Universal University

Universal Lighting Technologies, Inc., operated by Panasonic Lighting Americas, is now offering an LED Linear Applications course through its Universal University online education program.

This course aims to provide electrical distributors an overview of the growing LED linear market, a summary of Universal’s LED linear options and a review of common commercial applications.

The new Universal University course introduces students to EVERLINE LED linear product solutions and presents real world applications alongside the numerous advantages of LED linear technology including energy efficiency, longer lifetime, color consistency and greater dimming functionality.

Universal University currently offers eight educational courses, free to lighting professionals, covering a variety of topics related to lighting solutions and LED replacement options. The courses
are shared via BlueVolt, an easy-to-use online education interface.

Click here to learn more.

Leviton Enhances Lumina Gateway and Lumina RF Eco-System with Enterprise-Focused Solutions

Leviton recently announced significant user experience enhancements to the Lumina Gateway and Lumina RF eco-system, which now provides energy management automation for franchise owners, enterprise corporations, and other business entities managing multiple-location properties. The Lumina Gateway feature set and installation process was originally launched as a cost-effective solution to assist single location restaurants, retail stores, and offices, and these new features allow the system to automate multiple locations.

Enterprise corporations with multiple locations can now benefit from the energy management solutions provided by the Lumina Gateway wireless energy management automation system, which includes thermostats, occupancy and door contact sensors, lighting controls, heavy-duty load controls, and window coverings. The mesh network enabled system provides reliable automation based on times and tasks to turn lights off at a certain time each night, adjust thermostats each morning, and remotely access signage, generators, compressors, fountains, water heaters, and more. For franchise owners or other business entities managing multiple-location properties, this could mean automating tasks for all locations, or individually.

New features to the Lumina Gateway system include a dashboard fed by Google Maps, corporate-wide scheduling with one unified open/close/automation scheme for all applicable stores and role-based authority levels for corporate, regional, and store employees. The dashboard feature within the Premium tier provides a Google Map with all connected businesses located a simple click away for enrolling new devices, monitoring facilities, and controlling entire properties from a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

A new Leviton Cloud Services subscription enhances the Lumina Gateway, but no monthly fees are required for remote access and control from a computer or mobile device. The new mobile app, Leviton Cloud Services, shows all business locations in a real-time list for easy access to enroll a new device, review feeds, or control connected lights and thermostats. Abilities to conduct these tasks are based on a custom employee hierarchy with role-based authority levels including store manager, district manager, regional manager, and corporate administrator. Additionally, Leviton Cloud Services can offer advanced data logging with an activity feed along with text or email notification alerts.

The new web-based setup at provides professional installers the ability to use Apple or PC computers along with mobile tablets for on-site commissioning or remote management. This flexibility of programming also delivers an immediate, secure connection to each connected location, updating in real-time as new sensors, thermostats, and load controls are added or adjusted.

New NEMA White Paper Discusses How to Reduce Energy Consumption in Commercial Buildings

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) recently published a white paper that discusses new requirements that help reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings. NEMA WD ARCP 1-2016 Automatic Receptacle Control to Meet ASHRAE 90.1-2010 and California (CA) Title 24 explains the controlled receptacle requirement now appearing within non-residential energy codes, as well as a summary of typical application settings.

Standards such as CA Title 24-2013 and ASHRAE 90.1-2010 (and 2013) now require that at least 50 percent of all receptacles in designated spaces of a building be controllable, i.e., automatically able to turn themselves OFF and ON as needed.

This paper covers commercial buildings such as retail and office spaces, institutional, educational, and lodging/hospitality. It pertains to new construction and renovation/remodeling work where building permits and subsequent certificates of occupancy are required.

Click here to download NEMA WD ARCP 1-2016.

Lighting Controls for Today’s Classroom

Commercial building energy codes contain detailed mandatory lighting control requirements related to buildings such as K-12 schools. The high-performance school design movement extends these requirements by demanding additional flexibility to support the contemporary learning experience in today’s classroom.

This application guide by the Lighting Controls Association describes various control strategies that can be applied to classrooms to minimize operating costs, enact energy code compliance and support high-performance school design.

Key Strategies

Manual control:
Manual controls enable users to turn ON/OFF or reduce their lighting in response to visual needs. Incorporating flexibility provides a selection of light levels and can increase satisfaction while producing energy cost savings. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) estimates average lighting energy savings of 31-36%.

Occupancy sensing: Occupancy sensing controls turn lighting OFF or reduce it in response to whether the space is occupied. LBNL estimates average lighting energy savings of 24%.

Daylight-responsive control: Daylight harvesting controls turn lighting OFF or reduce it based on the contribution of daylight to task lighting needs. LBNL estimates average lighting
energy savings of 28%.

High-Performance Classrooms

k12New teaching methods such as A/V systems, smart boards, tablets and web-based learning tools continue to transform the modern classroom. Today, teachers need conveniently accessible, easy-to-use and flexible lighting controls allowing them to establish optimal lighting conditions for various teaching tasks.

Founded in 1999, the Collaborative for High-Performance Schools (CHPS) developed a point-based rating and recognition system promoting construction of healthy, green schools. CHPS published updated national criteria (2014) allowing adoption across the United States beyond those states currently using customized CHPS criteria.

The 2014 national CHPS criteria provides 4 points for achieving superior electric lighting performance via flexible lighting controls.

With the exception of specialty classrooms where not required, all classrooms should be designed with indirect/direct general lighting equipped with multiscene controls. These controls enable selection of two operating modes: General and AV. In General mode, the lights are ON at full output. In AV mode, lighting is reduced to accommodate AV-based learning methods.

Whiteboards should be illuminated by general lighting luminaires or a dedicated luminaire that is separately switched.

Teachers should be provided convenient access to a control device that permits selection of General/AV mode, whiteboard lighting and a manual override of occupancy sensor time delays.

Energy Codes

The latest building energy codes are based on ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2010 or 2013 or the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 2012 or 2015.

These codes require that all interior lighting be turned OFF when it’s not in use. Occupancy sensors are specifically required in the majority of classrooms.

The occupancy sensor must be either manual-ON or auto-ON to <50% of lighting power, necessitating the addition of a manual switch. The switch must be readily accessible to occupants, which typically entails location at the classroom entrance. Classrooms receiving ample daylight via sidelighting (e.g., windows) or toplighting (e.g., skylights) must designate lighting in daylight zones as being separately controllable from the rest of the room’s general lighting.

If the energy code is based on IECC-2012, a separate manual switch or dimmer-switch is permitted. If 90.1, the lighting must be controlled by a daylight-responsive automatic controller. This controller must be capable of either continuous or step dimming.

This guidance is based on compliance with ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2010 and IECC 2012.

Sample Classroom

Space: 30 ft. x 30 ft.

Ceiling height: 10 ft.

Daylight: 20 ft. of windows along one wall, 8 ft. window height (floor to top of glazing)

Luminaires: Pendant indirect/direct luminaires and dedicated wall-washer whiteboard luminaire; similar strategies as in this guide, however, may be enacted with troffers/panels or no dedicated whiteboard luminaire.

Lamping: Pendant luminaires may be LED with continuous dimming, fluorescent luminaires with continuous dimming, or fluorescent luminaires with separately ballasted direct (1 lamp, inboard) and indirect (2 lamps, outboard) distribution


Occupancy Sensing

Control need: Automatically turn lights OFF when not needed

Occupant enters: Lights must be turned ON manually or automatically to <50% of lighting power

Occupant exits:
Lights are turned OFF automatically within 30 minutes

Suggested placement: Corner mounting facing opposite corner, near teacher’s desk, at same height as luminaires (see blue icon)

Suggested sensor type: Dual-technology for reliable detection, passive-infrared when classroom features hanging objects such as mobiles

Other functionality: Manual override OFF, manual override of time delay via switch


Automatic Daylight-Responsive Control (Sidelighting)

Control need: Reduce lighting in sidelighted (e.g., windowed) daylight zones when ample daylight available

Operation: Lighting in daylight zone automatically raises or lowers based on degree to which daylight increases light levels

Input: Manual (allowed by IECC 2012) or automatic (allowed by IECC 2012 and required by 90.1-2010)


  • Bi-level switching or step dimming with outboard lamps (uplight) controlled by the light sensor (step between <35% of lighting power which may include OFF, a step between 50-70% of lighting power, and full ON)
  • Continuous dimming to <35% of lighting power, recommended for automatic control as the space will normally be occupied during light reduction

Recommended threshold:

  • Daylight contribution is 150-200% of design light level for switching; threshold should also allow “dead band”with high and low set-points to avoid overly frequent switching
  • Daylight contribution is 150% of design light level for continuous dimming

Suggested placement:

  • A single light sensor per 30 linear ft. of glazing; in this classroom, one sensor controls the luminaire row in closer proximity to the windows
  • Luminaire should be mounted at a distance from window of 1-2 times effective window height (sill or 3 ft. off floor to top of window)
  • Sensor should be aimed so its view does not receive direct electric light or sunlight or is otherwise blocked by a luminaire or fan
  • Sensor should not be aimed directly over a desk
  • Sensor can be mounted on a luminaire Suggested sensor type: As the windows feature blinds that can be closed, closed-loop or dual-loop sensor is recommended, with appropriate range of light level response

Other: Light sensor takes precedence for upper light level limit over manual dimming


Daylight-Responsive Control (Toplighting)

Control need: Reduce lighting in toplighted (e.g., skylighted) daylight zones when ample daylight available

Operation: Lighting in daylight zone automatically raises or lowers based on degree to which daylight increases light levels

Input: Manual (allowed by IECC 2012) or automatic (allowed by IECC 2012 and required by 90.1-2010)


  • Bi-level switching or step dimming with outboard lamps (uplight) controlled by the light sensor (step between <35% of lighting power which may include OFF, a step between 50-70% of lighting power, and full ON)
  • Continuous dimming to <35% of lighting power, recommended for automatic control as the space will normally be occupied during light reduction

Recommended threshold:

  • Daylight contribution is 150-200% of design light level for switching; threshold should also allow “dead band”with high and low set-points to avoid overly frequent switching
  • Daylight contribution is 150% of design light level for continuous dimming

Suggested placement:

  • A single light sensor mounted in a skylight well, aimed outside
  • A sensor should not receive direct sunlight

Suggested sensor type: Open-loop, with appropriate range of light level response

Other: Light sensor takes precedence for upper light level limit over manual dimming


Manual Control

Control need: Manually control lights for visual needs and to override automatic operation

Operation: ON/OFF switching (whiteboard luminaire) and bi-level switching, stepped dimming or continuous dimming (general lighting)

Sequence of operations:

• Occupant enters the room and, using a wall switch by the door:

1) leaves lights at stepped level or turns lights ON to full output if occupancy sensor set to auto-ON-to-<50% operation, or

2) turns lights ON to stepped level or full output if manual-ON sensor

• During instruction, using a teacher wall control station adjacent to the main teaching board, teacher can select:

1) turn the whiteboard luminaire ON/OFF, if present

2) select General or AV mode for the general lighting or otherwise dim the lights for AV presentation, and

3) override the time delay of the occupancy sensor for up to 3 hours during written examinations


Get Control of Your Classroom Lighting

Reducing energy costs and complying with energy codes is only part of the equation for good lighting control for K-12 classrooms. The lighting system should also be flexible so as to support the array of visual needs in today’s dynamic learning environment. With the right lighting control solution, the modern classroom can support learning while minimizing operating costs.

Get this guide in PDF format here.

University of Alabama Fresh Food Dining Facility Wins 2015 IES Lighting Control Innovation Award

The Lighting Control Innovation Award was created in 2011 as part of the Illuminating Engineering Society’s Illumination Awards program, which recognizes professionalism, ingenuity and originality in lighting design. LCA is proud to sponsor the Lighting Control Innovation Award, which recognizes projects that exemplify the effective use of lighting controls in nonresidential applications.

This month, we will explore how intelligent lighting controls maximize energy cost savings and flexibility at a university dining hall. Design by Elisabeth Hyde, Lighting Designer, Hyde Engineering; John Wood, Lighting Designer, CMH Architects; and Mary Kathryn Holt, Lighting Designer, University of Alabama Furnishings & Design Dept. Photos courtesy of the University of Alabama. Lighting controls by Wattstopper.

This new construction $15 million higher education dining facility accommodates 550 diners. The facility is designed to provide a fresh, fun interior while offering a plethora of dining choices. Lighting played a tremendous part in the overall concept. The lighting controls for this building are programmable so that as needs change, the lighting can change too.


The facility is divided into multiple zones and the controls allow for them to be set to turn off and on at different times of the day and days of the week.


Since the entire dining area will not be operational at all times, zoning and control is crucial for energy management. Smaller offices, storage rooms, and restrooms are controlled with occupancy sensors.


Pendant mounted lighting in soffits were used to hide electrical conduit and HVAC duct work. The space included many different ceiling types including areas with no filing, lay-in ceilings, gypboard soffits, and sloped ceilings.


Another example showing the use of lighting to emphasize the various interior design themes. While the aesthetic is important, the result also needed to be energy efficient and maintenance friendly.


This is the widest shot showing the wide variety of fixtures used to light the space. The design incorporated energy efficient lighting that also worked with the design concept.


Energy Efficiency

Hyde Engineering was responsible for the electrical design which included 13.2 KV distribution, emergency power and horizontal data cabling. State-of-the-art fluorescent light fixtures, LED lighting and digital controls, were used to ensure energy efficiency and client satisfaction.


The project budget was a consideration. The design concept required fixtures that were not standard for a typical college project but still needed to fit in a college project budget. We worked to find the proper aesthetic at the best value. The required research and cost analysis throughout the design process.

New Research Finds LEDs Favorable in Videoconferencing

vtcAccording to new research by Lutron Electronics, lighting for video conferencing (VTC) applications must accommodate the visual requirements of the people and the camera, and provide visibility of any display materials, especially to remote participants. Achieving the proper lighting balance requires the right combination of fixtures and the right combination of control strategies.

While linear fluorescent sources have long been used to provide effective, uniform lighting in VTC environments, research shows that similar, or better, results can be achieved using LED solutions.

Dimming controls are essential to creating the correct solution in VTC environments regardless of the source, and appropriate control solutions are also detailed. Presented in this whitepaper:

• Look at both fluorescent and LED fixture options in a typical VTC space
• Detail the optimized lighting layout and control scenarios
• Discuss LED lighting selection, advantages, and important considerations
• Demonstrate that the performance and savings can be easily and accurately modeled

Click here to read it.

LCA TV: Segment Manager Software by Wattstopper

This short video, produced by the Lighting Controls Association at the 2016 LIGHTFAIR event, introduces the building industry to Wattstopper’s Segment Manager software.

NEMA Standard Promotes Uniformity for Occupancy Motion Sensors

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has published NEMA WD 7-2011 (R2016) Occupancy Motion Sensors Standard, which promotes uniformity in the use and application of occupancy motion sensors used in lighting control systems, HVAC, and other devices. This standard explains field of view and coverage characteristics relevant to vacancy and occupancy sensors using passive infrared, ultrasonic, or microwave technology.

NEMA re-released Occupancy Motion Sensors Standard without changes, reaffirming the document’s technical relevance to today’s wireless device industry.

Click here to learn more.

DOE’s Jim Brodrick on the IIoT

Republication of Postings from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solid-State Lighting Program

by Jim Brodrick, SSL Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy

The rapid emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) has helped put connectivity in a prominent position on lighting’s cutting edge. [Earlier this year] in Santa Clara, CA, at DOE’s second Connected Lighting Systems (CLS) Workshop, we gained valuable insight into the synergy between the IoT and lighting, and caught a glimpse of where that synergy might be headed. For several reasons — including its microelectronic architecture, which facilitates the integration of network interfaces and sensors — SSL is an especially good fit for both connected lighting and the IoT in general. That’s why 170 thought leaders from the lighting and IT industries gathered in Santa Clara to take a deep dive into key CLS issues and discuss potential paths forward.

DOE’s overarching concern in all of this, of course, is to save energy. And it’s clear that enabling intelligent lighting devices with the right data can result in greater energy savings in buildings and cities — and the connectivity that facilitates that data enablement provides a platform for other non-energy benefits and revenue streams that can accelerate adoption. In its role as vendor-neutral facilitator and convener, DOE aims to accelerate the development and deployment of connected lighting systems, create tight information feedback loops to inform manufacturers and system implementers of needed improvements, and increase industry visibility and transparency on what does and doesn’t work — all while promoting collaboration between the various stakeholders. Hence last week’s workshop, which focused on facilitating conversation between manufacturers navigating today’s “Wild West.”

The keynote talk was given by Tanuj Mohan of Enlighted, who painted a compelling picture of how lighting fits in naturally with the IoT. Noting that today’s large buildings produce a billion times less data than jet engines produce and use to optimize their performance — when in fact those same jet-engine design approaches and analytics could be used to optimize our buildings using a wide range of environmental, operational, and behavioral data — Tanuj explained why lighting is a such an ideal place to install the sensors that comprise the IoT’s “nerves.” He noted that lighting covers every square foot of building space, providing complete coverage and access to power, while the sensors provide the lighting with intelligence. And because conventional, uncontrolled lighting is so wasteful of energy, the efficiency that a connected system brings to a building helps pay for the entire installation. However, Tanuj observed that with IoT technology exploding and new companies rushing to market, there are so many vendors, standards, and levels of compatibility, interoperability, and interchangeability that purchasing and facilities managers are tending to hold off on installing connected lighting until the situation stabilizes.

That’s why one theme heard over and over at the workshop was the need to accelerate the adoption and maturity of standards — not an easy or straightforward task. Another was the importance of both better understanding the needs of customers, and helping them understand what technology currently makes possible — because after all, they’re the ones who’ll be putting connected lighting into practice and validating its true value. A third recurrent theme was the inevitability of lighting’s convergence with the IoT and role as a major IoT backbone. In many places, that convergence has already begun. Richard Webster, who’s in charge of street lighting in the UK county of Suffolk, noted that virtually all of the jurisdictions in his neck of the woods are seriously considering or already installing connected street lighting, partly based on its very successful implementation in his county.

However, that doesn’t mean industry can now sit back and coast down the home stretch. Far from it; although the success of connected lighting may be likely, the paths to success are still unclear. While conceding that lighting is poised to play a pivotal IoT role in buildings, Brian Chemel of Digital Lumens — speaking on a panel about how CLS should be integrated into the IoT — cautioned that this is far from a done deal, and that industry has much to do in order to make it happen. He warned against making the kinds of mistakes that could undermine lighting’s chances to play a major role in the IoT — such as underestimating one or more stakeholders or players, focusing on technical specs instead of on end-user value, and downplaying the importance of interoperability. Still, Brian’s overall tone was very optimistic, given SSL’s inherent compatibility with intelligence, sensing, and networking, and the fact that, as he put it, lighting currently is the only IoT platform that actually pays for itself.

Brian’s co-panelist, Sameer Sharma of Intel, said we’ve already reached an inflection point where the IoT is economically viable and predicted that 35 billion devices will be connected by 2020, but emphasized a number of keys to unlock the open-platform approach that’s essential to realizing its full potential — including consensus collaboration, public-private partnerships, operational models, and open horizontal test beds. A workshop panel on test beds stimulated a great deal of discussion on their value and how they could or should be structured, with a number of speakers and attendees emphasizing the need for “plug-fests” (where devices are brought to test interoperability).

These are the very early days of connected lighting and the IoT, which means that there’s much learning to come. And as we heard more than once in Santa Clara, that learning is most effective when it’s divorced from sales pitches. DOE has played a widely acknowledged role in helping the lighting industry navigate the transition to SSL, and is looking to do the same for connected lighting, as a stakeholder focused on the success of the technology rather than on any particular implementation or approach. We encourage all stakeholders to offer suggestions as to how we might make the biggest impact in our independent third-party role, and to join the conversation at the next Connected Lighting Workshop.