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Connected Lighting System Interoperability

Interoperability is a key and much-discussed topic in these early days of Connected Lighting. Achieving it requires industry to agree on common protocols and approaches that enable the sharing of usable data between lighting devices, other systems, and perhaps the internet at large. Initial efforts to integrate connected lighting systems in the DOE connected lighting test bed have brought valuable insight into current interoperability capabilities and limitations in this early stage, multi-vendor, multi-technology, and multi-business-model landscape.

Although a number of industry consortia (such as the Open Connectivity Foundation, the TALQ ConsortiumoneM2MBluetooth SIG, the Industrial Internet Consortium, and the ZigBee Alliance) are developing frameworks or technologies that facilitate more native interoperability, at present these efforts are either incomplete or immature, do not support lighting applications sufficiently, or are not adopted by a significant number of lighting manufacturers. At present, interoperability between CLS offered by different vendors – or, in some cases, even between different solutions from the same vendor – is facilitated primarily through application programming interfaces (APIs), or not at all.


The first series of studies focus on interoperability as realized by the use of APIs. The initial study explores the diversity of such interfaces in several CLS; characterizes the extent of interoperability that they provide; and illustrates challenges, limitations, and tradeoffs that were encountered during this exploration. More specifically, the system architectures and API structure, nomenclature, and information models were characterized; the development of a common integration platform was investigated; and two real-life use-cases were simulated to illustrate the relative effort required to use APIs to enable new features and capabilities facilitated by information exchange.

Connected Lighting System Interoperability Study: Application Programming Interfaces, Part 1 (October 2017)


A second series of studies will evaluate various API integration platforms, providing feedback to technology developers and accelerating the development of appropriate interoperability frameworks or platforms, specifications, and standards.