Leading LED lighting and driver manufacturers, Internet of Things (IoT) technology companies, and industry groups launched the IoT-Ready™ Alliance. The IoT-Ready Alliance intends to make installation of IoT technology in luminaires easy, and the Alliance intends to set industry standards that will enable LED light fixtures to be “IoT-Ready™.”
According to the Alliance, being IoT-Ready requires engineers to add a means for quick installation of advanced IoT sensors to LED bulbs and fixtures. The Alliance contends that this installation should be as simple as changing a light bulb. Therefore, IoT-Ready lighting products will also allow building operators to easily upgrade the sensors. This upgradability can help building operators future-proof their buildings as IoT technology continues advancing at a more rapidly than that of LED fixtures.
Lighting fixtures are ideal carriers for IoT technology in smart buildings. First, lighting offers ubiquitous locations for granular data collection from sensors throughout a building. Also, the electricity that powers the lights can also power the sensors. So far, however, only a small percentage of LED fixtures feature smart sensors. After the initial LED fixture installation, installing a sensor is cost prohibitive.
IoT and Smart Sensor Technology Evolving Fast
IoT and smart sensor technology is evolving much faster than that the technology of LED lighting. The pace of this evolution is similar to that of a mobile phone. However, LED light fixtures typically boast a lifetime of 15 years or more. This fast technology advancement means that throughout the LED fixture’s life, major IoT technology upgrades will occur as the technology becomes more and more economical to the point of being essential. These upgrade cycles for the IoT sensors call for a low-impact and cost-effective means of changing sensors.
Enlighted CEO Joe Costello emphasizes the need to solve this design challenge immediately. Costello says that the IoT-Ready Alliance is answering this call. “There is tremendous urgency to enable today’s shipping LED luminaires to be easily upgraded with IoT technology. Otherwise, these luminaires condemn buildings to be unintelligent for the entire lifecycle of those fixtures. Fifteen or more years is a long time before building owners have another chance to install smart sensors. With IoT-Ready™ fixtures, customers can install future-proof LED luminaires in their buildings,” Costello noted
IoT-Ready Alliance to Standardize Sensor/Luminaire Interface
The Alliance’s initiative intends to standardize an interface between any luminaire and any IoT sensor. This standardization can allow the sensors to added or upgraded easily to LED lights at any point in time.
“We are very pleased key players from the lighting industry have come together to meet the needs of our customers, and Tridonic is a driving part of it,” said Guido van Tartwijk, CEO at Tridonic. “IoT-Ready™ future-proofs lighting fixtures so that customers do not have to worry about forward compatibility to upcoming technology upgrades that are expected in the fast-developing world of IoT.”
The IoT-Ready™ Alliance plans to standardize the key interface characteristics needed to enable quick installation and forward compatibility of both fixture-integrated and external sensors. The IoT-Ready standards will include specifications for mechanical form factors, connectors, and electrical interfaces.
“IoT-based lighting systems have tremendous potential to optimize energy efficiency and bring new kinds of value to the lighting and building industries and beyond,” said Gabe Arnold, Technical Director at DesignLights Consortium™. “By standardizing the interface between these IoT systems and the luminaires they are attached to, the IoT-Ready™ Alliance is addressing an essential aspect needed to unlock the full technology potential and enable widespread adoption.”
Initial industry participants include USAI Lighting, Universal Lighting Technologies, Tridonic, Silergy Corp, Shenzhen Lighting Control Co., Selux, Orion Energy Systems, MEAN WELL, Focal Point, Enlighted, ERP Power LLC, DesignLights Consortium™, DECO Lighting, Click Technology Co., Ltd., and Aruba (a Hewlett-Packard Enterprise company).
The Alliance is reportedly open to any organization interested in driving the future of IoT and smart building technology.