by Scott McMahan-Editor of solidstatelightingdesign.com and lightimes.com
This year has been the first year that the term Internet of Things (IoT) became ubiquitous in the world of solid state lighting.
In 2014, the SSL industry brought the idea of the smart city, the smart grid, smart building to common usage for the first time Through 2015, the idea of controlling lighting through the Internet has become common, with many new products flooding the market from all over the world. Another term that has taken the stage in recent months is “connected lighting.”
LED dimming is now a relatively common function, but its compatibility with common types of dimmer switches is largely dependent on the company whose technology you are using.
Many of the big names in the LED lighting industry have begun producing LED lighting controls and monitoring solutions in-house.
Among the first big application for monitoring and control solutions that the major industry players tackled was in controlling and monitoring municipal lighting. Cree launched its SmartCast technology in 2014 for indoor and outdoor lighting controls. In 2015, Cree’s SmartCast technology was featured at San Diego Community College. (Ref: article). Philips launched its CityTouch control and management software in 2014. Then in 2015, Los Angeles became the first major city to use its the Philips CityTouch lighting control and management software. (Ref: article).
Osram has its own Street Light Control and management system through its company Siteco.
GE has launched its LightGrid control and monitoring and metering solution.
Acuity Brands has launched its ROAM control and monitoring system for municipal, large institutional, and multisite control and monitoring of lighting usage. Acuity is partnering with Silverspring Networks to produce lighting controls and monitoring for municipalities and large operators. Silver Spring Networks will provide the control, monitoring, and data analysis software for the company.
Philips is partnering with Ericsson in offering SmartPoles for improving 4G LTE connectivity in urban areas. (Ref: article). Philips also announced that it is partnering with Cisco to offer lighting control and monitoring through the Internet of Things. (Ref: article). Other companies such as Echelon, which has long specialized in lighting control for buildings has gotten into the municipal lighting market with its unique sensor technology and analysis system.
The LED Chip Producers
LED chips makers have continued to produce greater output with less power consumption and lower cost. The buzz word for LED chip makers this year seemed to be “CoB” (Chip-On-Board). Lumileds launched the Luxeon C line of multiple colored LEDs with the same focal length, helping to solve technical challenge of color mixing.
Seoul Semiconductor introduced a package free LED chip the company calls Wicop, and Wicop2.
In September, Cree Launched the Color XQ-E High Intensity LEDs boasting that the LEDs have the highest candela performance in the industry.
Predictions for the Future
I predict that LED makers will continue making improvements in the efficiency and cost of LEDs. Improved standards will eventually make control and monitoring systems interoperable. However, the current technology is far from working with all lighting and controls.
I expect that in the next few years lighting controls through IoT will reach wider market adoption among consumers. Control and monitoring solutions for lighting in offices and large buildings will begin to become standard. These control and monitoring systems have come about through a messy process that so far has several competing standards. I intend to discuss this in future editorials.
So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Solidstatelightingdesing.com and Lightimes.com.