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As lighting systems become more connected, it’s anticipated that they’ll increasingly offer the ability to, for example, optimize resources and processes, deliver health and productivity gains, and yield new revenue streams. Further, it’s likely that these capabilities will offer benefits that match or exceed the value of the energy savings they deliver. The value of services made possible by data from networked SSL systems might partly or fully offset the incremental costs of sensors, network interfaces, and other additional components. Systems made up of connected lighting devices could become data collection platforms that enable even greater lighting and non-lighting energy savings in buildings and cities, and much more.
Connected lighting’s ability to collect and exchange useful data, and possibly even serve as a backbone of the fast-emerging Internet of Things, offers the potential to enable a wide array of services, benefits, and revenue streams that enhance the value of lighting systems and bring that improvement to building systems that have long operated in isolation. In addition to a range of occupancy and daylight sensors, other types of sensors could be installed, including those to measure carbon dioxide, imaging, vibration, sound, and barometric pressure — resulting in such “smart city” features as air quality monitoring, weather warnings, theft detection, guidance to available parking spaces, and transit optimization.
SSL is already being used as a platform for indoor positioning in retail and other heavy-traffic buildings, by using Bluetooth and/or visible light communication to provide personalized location-based services for occupants via a mobile app. Retailers use the luminaires to transmit to shoppers location-specific data such as discount coupons or where in the store to find products. Beacons embedded in LED luminaires allow for the monitoring and analysis of building use and traffic, which can lead to operational efficiencies, enhanced safety, and increased revenues in spaces such as airports, shopping malls, logistics centers, universities, and healthcare facilities. Connected lighting is also being considered as a promising new source of broadband communication called Li-Fi, which modulates light to transmit data. And connected lighting is being combined with spectral tuning in a variety of settings, with the goal of improving mood, productivity, and health.
DOE is providing technical support and assistance to Chicago’s Smart Lighting Project, which is poised to install the country’s largest municipal connected lighting system. More details on this will be posted in the coming months.