Osram Launches Lightelligence for Energy Saving & Space Utilization in Smart Buildings

At the end of March, Munich-based lighting stalwart Osram announced ‘Lightelligence’ an open IoT platform and ecosystem in the lighting business and beyond. Osram claims that Lightelligence saves on energy and labor costs while simplifying the development of IoT software, which in turn unlocks the full potential of new business models.

We explore the details of the announcement and consider the potential of this latest lighting-based platform for smart buildings.

Energy Saving
Lighting is the single largest end use of electricity in commercial buildings according to the US Energy Information Administration. As such, it has become the primary target for energy related cost saving in many buildings. These savings can be achieved through the introduction of efficient LED luminaires as well as a variety of strategies to limit unnecessary lighting – automatically turning off lights when no one is in the space, for example.

After a year-long trial, Osram’s Lightelligence platform reduced energy consumption by over 90% at the company’s site in Traunreut. The initial step was to switch the conventional lighting to LEDs, which reduced energy consumption by more than 60%. By employing intelligent light-on-demand control that uses movement detectors, this was reduced by a further 75%, giving a total reduction of over 90% in the site’s warehouse and logistics area.

“Using our new Lightelligence platform, we have been able to radically reduce the amount of energy used for lighting in an intelligent building,” says Stefan Kampmann, Chief Technology Officer of OSRAM Licht AG. “Users can save even more money if they combine a range of intelligent control systems in buildings with the Lightelligence platform.”

Space Utilization

“Through our technologies, we are further establishing ourselves as a company that understands space,” says Thorsten Müller, Head of Innovation at Osram. “Lights can be found throughout every building and are connected to the electricity supply. When combined with sensors, they provide the ideal means of collecting and analyzing key data about space utilization and operating conditions.”

“Space optimization is by far, the most widely quoted use case for solution providers, indicating the increased interest in office design and layout as a tool to improve occupant productivity and to maximize real estate utilization” states our latest report: Occupancy Analytics & In-Building Location Based Services 2017 to 2022. Of the 152 solution providers identified by the study, 74 recognize the primary use case for occupancy analytics and location based services (LBS) as space optimization, more than double any other application.

By applying lighting as an avenue for optimizing the use of space in commercial buildings, Osram position themselves at the heart of the smart building. “What may once have been thought of as a new physical frontier for IT companies is proving to be the perfect cyber opportunity for old world sectors like lighting,” we wrote in an article entitled ‘Traditional Lighting Firms Seize The IoT Opportunity’ in September last year. An open IoT platform built on a ubiquitous lighting infrastructure is certainly a force to be reckoned with.

Lighting as a Platform

Osram is making good use of proven concepts from the platform economy. “Successful platform operators have created effective developer ecosystems,” Müller says. “We are applying this logic to Lightelligence – our platform users can reap the benefits of a fully developed infrastructure without having to build or maintain it themselves.”

A wide range of components and control systems can be integrated into the Lightelligence platform, as the system is open to products, applications, and interfaces from all manufacturers. This reaps synergies and reduces costs. For example, movement detectors installed to control lighting can also be used by alarm systems and in heating management. Air quality sensors can be leveraged by systems such as air conditioning, automated window control, and fire alarms.

Brightness sensors that control blinds can also be used to dim interior lighting and can be accessed by fire alarm and intrusion alarm systems. Installation and running costs can be significantly reduced through multiple analysis of sensors across various control systems.

A broad variety of software can run on Osram’s Lightelligence platform, making new applications possible that go beyond lighting. Sensor-based logistics solutions like this, have the potential to use a warehouse’s lighting infrastructure to record inventories, monitor temperature and humidity for perishable goods, or optimize the way in which warehouses are used. Motion detectors in office buildings can be used to manage meeting rooms more efficiently and arrange targeted cleaning. In retail stores, customers can be better addressed via localized digital services. Mobile assets, such as beds and medical equipment in hospitals, can be located immediately.

In Practice

One of the first customers to use Osram’s Lightelligence platform is Bamberg-based luminaire specialist RZB. The platform allows RZB to automatically carry out remote function tests on emergency lighting systems. Regular testing of emergency lighting systems is a legal requirement in public and commercially used buildings. Until now, employees often had to walk through the buildings and check each emergency exit sign manually. Now, the checks can be carried out and documented remotely at the click of a button using sensors and Lightelligence, reducing the buildings’ running costs considerably.

When a trusted, 100 year old, name in lighting begins expanding its offering to include highly sought after applications like occupancy analytics and location-based services, it is likely to turn some heads. Success will likely be determined by price and ease of use, and we should expect some early adopters from Osrams lighting customer base. Competitors and the sector as a whole will be waiting to see how the market reacts to the Lightelligence in the coming months.

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