By Evan Petridis, Chief System Architect at Enlighted
The Internet of Things (IoT) technology is dramatically transforming the commercial building industry. It is empowering building owners to track data, gain intelligence and implement solutions that enhance workflow, processes and produce better user experiences. IoT has endless beneficial applications from tracking critical medical equipment in hospitals to helping businesses maximize current spaces and reducing lighting and HVAC energy and costs.
Regardless of the amazing benefits IoT offers, the industry is experiencing significant road blocks to brining IoT to commercial buildings that need to be addressed immediately.
LED light fixtures are an ideal carrier for IoT technology, providing ubiquitous location for granular data collection throughout the building while delivering electric power to the sensors. Yet today, only a small percentage of LED fixtures have smart sensors.
LED light fixtures typically boast a long lifetime of 15 years or more. Therefore, if more smart sensors are not incorporated into fixtures now or have the ability to be easily added after the lighting is installed, we are condemning buildings to be unintelligent for at least the next decade or more.
Additionally, we must consider the rapid IoT and smart sensor technology evolution. IoT and smart sensor technology is advancing at a similar pace to mobile phones, and major IoT technology upgrades will certainly occur throughout the LED fixture’s life. These upgrade cycles for the IoT sensors call for a cost-effective, low-impact method of upgrading sensors, allowing build owners to continue to reap the benefits of the most advanced IoT technology.
Proprietary technology is another IoT road block. Some lighting manufacturers are using closed IoT platforms that do not connect effectively with other IoT platforms. This forces building owners into selecting one lighting fixture brand rather than being able to select the best lighting fixtures and IoT technology for the job.
The immediacy of solving these challenges is real. According to a recent study from Wintrgreen Research, the LED lighting market is anticipated to grow 45% per year and reach $63.1 billion by 2020. We cannot miss this critical opportunity to ensure all new LED fixtures feature smart sensors or at least have the capability to add a smart sensor in the future.
Two companies – Enlighted and Tridonic – are leading the charge to eliminate the barriers to IoT so more building owners can reap the benefits. They have come together and developed the IoT-Ready™ Alliance for the greater good of the commercial building industry.
The IoT-Ready™ Alliance is a 501(c)(3) industry organization creating a common standard for IoT-enabled lighting fixtures. This standard will ensure all new LED lighting fixtures can be shipped with a standard socket to easily add intelligent IoT sensors to the fixture after the fixture has been installed. This will make it as simple as changing a light bulb to add or update smart sensors in lighting fixtures. Both fixture-integrated and external sensors are being addressed, and the standards will include definitions for electrical interfaces, connectors, and mechanical form-factors.
The Alliance is now encouraging all leading lighting, building management, and Internet of Things (IoT) companies and organizations to become a member and help support the development and implementation of the standards. Help set the standards of tomorrow today. Visit www.IoT-Ready.org to learn more or become a member.
Evan Petridis is a technical leader with a wide array of experience as an executive, system architect and designer. An electronic engineer by training, Evan has developed an array of technology products in computer networking, telecom, renewable energy and the Internet of Things (IoT). He has cofounded several companies and now focuses on unearthing concrete business benefits in the realm of IoT systems architecture at Enlighted.