Craig DiLouie, LC, CLCP recently interviewed Gary Meshberg, LC, CLCP, Director of Industry and Market Engagement, OSRAM ENCELIUM, for an article about connected lighting for tED Magazine’s August 2020 issue. Here’s the transcript.
DiLouie: How would you characterize demand and resulting sales opportunity for connected lighting? Looking at 1) luminaires packaged with integral controls versus control systems added to luminaires, 2) room-based versus centralized building-based systems, 3) new construction versus LED upgrades in existing buildings, and 4) applications, what are the hottest categories and markets?
Meshberg: The connected lighting segment continues to outpace the overall lighting market which is fueled in part by energy codes and greater functionality beyond lighting and energy savings (IE: IoT). The industry for the most part is providing luminaire control functionality as a “bolt on” module to a luminaire. Higher sales growth can be realized for integrated controls (built into the luminaire) which reduces installation labor and increases control flexibility. A large portion of the market is based on code compliant standalone occupancy sensor or room level control which is typically driven by cost and lower complexity. Room level control lacks the ability to fully exploit the value of the connected lighting control system to the building. New construction has seen the majority of connected lighting control system deployment. However, wireless systems ideally lend themselves to the retrofit market and should see them outpacing new construction. The hottest categories include wireless systems used within virtually all markets. Higher education and healthcare are strong markets at this time.
DiLouie: What are the benefits of connected lighting?
Meshberg: Greater functionality beyond lighting (IoT, space optimization)
Greater energy savings via scheduling, task tuning and reporting
DiLouie: Why should distributors be focusing on this category?
Meshberg: In many cases it is a small step above what is already required by local enegey codes and a technology outpacing the lighting market. Today, LED luminaires are dimmable by default, therefore its natural to pair this luminaire with a control system
DiLouie: What are the top technological trends in connected lighting?
Meshberg: The Internet of Things…..or as I like to refer to it as the Information of Things. PoE lighting shows strong growth globally, however North American has not fully embraced it. Wireless continues to be the stronger growth technology.
DiLouie: In existing buildings, connected lighting requires an investment to produce a return, but due to the lower LED lighting load being installed, the value of energy cost savings can lengthen paybacks. How should distributors approach the sale of lighting controls in these cases?
Meshberg: Certainly focus on the energy savings, however promote and sell value beyond lighting. For example; spaces with LED luminaires tend to be bright and, in many cases, too bright. High end trim and provides additional energy savings and greater occupant comfort. Repurpose the data derived from sensors to help with space optimization and building management system efficiency
DiLouie: An estimated 95 utility rebate programs now incentivize networked lighting control systems, with a majority basing the rebate on an adder for LED luminaires, and qualifying products based on the DLC’s Qualified Products List for Networked Lighting Controls. How effective are these rebates in promoting adoption in existing buildings, and what is their potential?
Meshberg: These rebates can play a vital role in the overall financial equation. In some cases, the incentive can be on par with the cost adder for a luminaire controller. Factor in lower install labor and the net net proposal can have a high potential for success
DiLouie: When connected across a building or enterprise and operated via software, a connected lighting system becomes not only highly responsive but gains significant new potential capabilities. What can be gained? As building owners look to building Internet of Things solutions, what is the role for connected lighting, and do you see a role for connected lighting as being an “IoT Lite” for medium-sized and smaller buildings?
Meshberg: Aside from what was already said earlier, from an IoT standpoint, Connected Lighting takes advantage of two key aspects 1) A grid of luminaire at the ceiling level providing optimal views of the space and the potential to triangulate between the luminaire and smart mobile devices (iPhone). 2) Availability of a power source providing power to smart modules. These form the infrastructure for devices to communicate with one another and people/objects within the space. Consider the number of people within a room, locating a wheelchair or person…..
Due to software customization and the variety of applications (education, healthcare, airports), IoT type applications lend themselves to larger square foot applications. As the market matures and demand increases we should see movement towards some level of mass customization which could then make it affordable for deployment into smaller buildings.
DiLouie: When looking at new capabilities such as space optimization, what can distributors do adjust their sales approach and properly communicate the value of these capabilities?
Meshberg: Distributors can take a more holistic approach by selling an overall system solution. First by selling the quality of LED lighting, then the operational flexability and data gathered from the connected lighting control system and lastly utilizing the data to enrich the building operational efficiency and occupant experience.
DiLouie: The most recent DOE forecast projected a high CAGR for connected lighting adoption through 2025 but showed a wide disparity between the current market trajectory (low adoption) and one if the DOE SSL program goals are met, notably involving interoperability, demonstration and verification of energy-savings benefits, and complexity. What is the industry doing or what can it do to address these issues and accelerate adoption?
Meshberg: Simplify the message. Focus on “what is the problem we are trying to solve?” The parts and smarts exist now. Newer software and apps are being created for new and greater use cases, provide clear evidence how we solve the problem.
DiLouie: What can distributors do to position their firms to promote and sell connected lighting?
Meshberg: Become educated on the various solutions available. Industrial to commercial, indoor/exterior and small to large applications.
DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about connected lighting, what would it be?
Meshberg: Energy savings is tip of the iceberg, when fully optimized the data obtained from the system will prove to be the most valuable aspect of the system.