The future IoT (Internet of Things) goes way beyond lighting controls and even beyond energy efficiency. Potential applications will bring value to users that far exceed just energy savings and convenience.
A few companies have begun to see the possibilities. Most recently, Echelon, a company known for its networked sensors, has launched SmartServer 2.2 (Ref: article). SmartServer 2.2 is a software platform that enables control of lighting, building automation, and Internet of Things applications. SmartServer 2.2 is an open platform that works as a universal gateway and controller for multiple protocols including LON, BACnet, and Modbus. This open platform allows customers to easily add Internet of Things (IoT) applications and connect a broad range of devices for a more integrated system.
One possibility that the company mentioned goes beyond lighting and HVAC control to improve productivity. They suggested using sound masking to minimize the noise from the operation of loud and industrial machines to enhance productivity.
Another idea they suggested was to tie the building’s call boxes and intercom into the building automation infrastructure for a customized security solution. So, in the event of an emergency evacuation, all doors could automatically unlock, and the employees could be notified internally. Additionally, notification could be communicated externally to first responders for a safe and rapid exit of building occupants.
While these are apparently just suggestions, and not actual case studies, the potential is there.
GE and Qualcomm
Lots of companies are working together to bring IoT applications to the world. In a particular example, Current Powered by GE and Qualcomm partnered to bring, lighting and IoT services to Qualcomm’s Smart Campus in San Diego (Ref: article). In addition to lighting, lighting control, lighting management, and monitoring, sensors from current can estimate occupancy levels. Other sensors look at air quality such as CO2 levels, temperature, and humidity. In addition to using these sensors for HVAC management and improving energy efficiency, they can also be used to help make the environment more productive.
Enlighted of Sunnyvale, California recently helped Cheshire schools save with LED lighting and IoT services (Ref: article). They used sensors to collect data. Then, a suite of proprietary apps harvests the data for insights. The apps interface with building systems to optimize the building’s environment in real-time. Enlighted says its system and apps can help the schools make buildings not just more efficient, but also more productive, comfortable, and secure.
Cree and Quest
Quest, a firm that offers both cloud, and managed service, in July announced choosing Cree’s SmartCast® Power over Ethernet (PoE) LED lighting integrated with a Cisco network (Ref: article). Quest will employ the SmartCast to control the lighting at its new High Availability Business Center (HABC) in Roseville, California.
Cree points out that the SmartCast PoE system can be much more than just connected lighting. According to Cree the SmartCast PoE is part of the Cisco® Digital Ceiling framework, which can connect dissimilar systems into a single IP network to form secure, seamless, smart, connected building systems.
Cree says that SmartCast PoE’s open platform with a standards-based API also enables a nearly unlimited variety of intelligent features in the future, such as energy demand responsiveness and emergency wayfinding. The API gives future functionality a potential starting point through allowing third-party cloud-based applications.
In may, Terralux, expanded its LEDSENSE technology beyond data gathering and analysis to include retrofit HVAC control, an intelligence gateway, building automation connection, and utility connection with automated demand response (Ref: article). Terralux reportedly owns all the technology and the software that goes into their open platform system.
Terralux says that LEDSENSE can now go beyond linking just daylight and occupancy sensors to include sensor data about temperature, humidity, and aspects of air quality such as carbon dioxide carbon monoxide, and particulate matter.
While all of these companies has advanced the IoT world, the applications of the future have not even been conceived yet. Companies such as these will keep adding value with new and better IoT applications. Who knows what they will think up next?