Smart Lighting 2016: Intelligent solutions with lighting

07.06.2016 • Kari

Smart Lighting 2016 conference was held this year in Milan, Italy. Valopaa presented there our iLUMNET solution and our view on the upcoming additional services. Our new iLUMNET sensor concept for the luminaires enables flexible and extensive use of sensors in various situations. We also presented examples of practical solutions with benefits obtained by using intelligent lighting control. Download our iLUMNET presentation at the conference here.

The main theme of this year’s conference was the new services that bring additional benefits on top of the traditional lighting. While speaking about the new services it was clearly understood that the foundation to these services is always high quality and energy efficient lighting. There are no grounds for the services to grow into sizable business unless we take care of these basic elements. I summarized some of the key topics related to the services which raised most discussions during the conference.

Initial big step on energy savings was taken when traditional light sources and luminaires where changed to luminaires with LED technology. Technical development in LEDs and related technologies have advanced to the stage that further improvements to the light efficiency is providing additional saving only in marginal level - no major steps are expected. Next stepwise improvement on energy savings is accomplished with use of intelligent lighting control, especially when sensors are used to control the lighting. Furthermore, intelligent lighting provides more pleasant lighting for the people only where and when needed. We could say that lighting control is the basic service level as we speak of intelligent lighting.

The connected luminaire is an excellent place to house also sensors. Sensor will become more common in the luminaires and amount of different types will increase as the technology advances and the cost level further reduces. These sensors have been typically used only for the control of the lighting. The data provided by these sensors can be used also for other purposes, like monitoring the usage level of spaces based on the presence detector data from luminaires. Optimizing the usage level of buildings, like offices, can even provide bigger savings than you save by optimizing just lighting. Luminaires can house also other sensors that are not directly used for the lighting control, for example to monitor air quality or noise level on the streets.

Wireless intelligent lighting control forms an extensive IoT network in the city area or in the industrial facility. This IoT network can connect also other devices into the internet. There can be huge amount of different types of connected devices in the city, real-time signage, intelligent garbage cans, sensors, etc.. None of these devices need anymore own communication network, since those can be connected to the intelligent luminaires. Network of connected outdoor luminaires in a city forms an extensive IoT network for these devices.

Intelligent lighting is a natural and meaningful part of a large Smart City system in a city. All of the subsystems have to be able to communicate with each other so that the Smart City system can really provide added value to the people. Intelligent lighting control can provide various information for other systems’ benefit. On the other hand information and control input from other systems of the city can be used to control lighting in more intelligent way. For example lighting can automatically adapt to the information of public transportation.

European Lighting industry association has created their new strategic roadmap. This roadmap depicts the development of lighting in three phases. First phase, the ledification ie. LED replacement, has already proceeded quite far and big technological developments are not anymore expected. Second wave is the use of intelligent lighting systems to bring the next step in energy and cost savings while improving the lighting experience. This phase has already started to pick up with lots of raising interest within lighting industry. Intelligent lighting is expected to peak and become standard feature within few years. The third wave will be all about the large scale adoption of human centric lighting (HCL). This means broadly speaking that focus on the lighting development is to improve quality of life in all aspects, not just being able to see when it is dark. One example is to tune the light spectrum during the day according to our natural needs.

Lighting is moving more and more towards the digital age and will be connected to our surroundings very tightly, of course with a strong foundation of high quality lighting. We work hard in Valopaa to drive this progress in lighting by developing further both our luminaires and our iLUMNET intelligent lighting control system.

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