Wirepas Wirepas Blog Connecting buildings with lights

September 17, 2018

Connecting buildings with lights

By Parjinder Sangha

After thousands of years of the sun and fire providing light for people, in the last 140 years we have experienced a revolution in lighting. In the beginning there was the incandescent lamp, it turned on, it turned off and it consumed a lot of power. Then came compact fluorescent energy saving lamps offering massive energy savings. Today, it is LED lighting that is at the forefront of lighting technology and the digitalisation it has enabled. Smart lighting is offering building owners and facility managers the platform to really understand how a building is used and provide the ideal platform for human-centric lighting and offering a WELL Building Standard compliant work environment.

Lighting platforms are beginning to go beyond lighting control to offer real time analytics, heat-mapping, environmental monitoring and remote monitoring to support Lighting-as-a-Service business models. However, does the wireless protocol support the needs of data hungry, multiple access points and large-scale networks? Does your wireless protocol deliver you a future-proof platform that allows more luminaires to be added, issue software updates remotely and change the type of data gathered?

With so many wireless protocols available, selecting the right one to support your lighting platform can be a difficult task. The best place to start is what services is your lighting platform delivering. The most obvious place to start is how easy is it set up? Most lighting control networks, wired or wireless, require planning and this is often the first point of failure as it takes just one controller or router to be installed incorrectly to stop parts of the controls from working. With Wirepas Mesh’s de-centralised approach the lighting is installed, turned on and then the Wirepas magic takes over. Each node, which can be a sensor or a luminaire, talks to other nodes with same credentials and forms the network and every node that needs to become a router self-determines its role to help the Wirepas Mesh form with thousands of luminaires and sensors within it. This de-centralised approach saves significant time in planning, installation and provisioning.

With the lighting now installed, one of the key values of Lighting-as-a-Service is remotely monitoring the lighting system where the service team can monitor for any issues with the luminaires. To remotely monitor your luminaires, IPv6 is important as it allows you to either transfer data about each luminaire to the cloud to monitor for performance, or to individually address each luminaire for live feedback.

When it comes to commissioning and controlling the luminaires, direct hard connection to commission and wired switches are the traditional way to commission and control luminaire, whilst the adoption of smart devices to carry out the same functions is increasing. With many wireless protocols, you must choose to have either IPv6 or Bluetooth compatibility, but with both connectivity protocols having benefits to lighting, it makes more sense to combine them both within the Wirepas Mesh giving you the best of all options to help you deliver a truly smart lighting network.

With the basic platform now set for a smart lighting control system, now we look to make the smart lighting system smarter. The real power of smart lighting is the ability to capture large amounts of data on how the building is used, the internal environment (temperature, humidity, air quality and tone of voice), how different areas are personalised, and where required, asset tracking. With vast estates operated by end users and facility managers, the ability to transfer the data to the cloud and remotely interact with a lighting system allows greater control and better understanding on a local, regional and global scale, and implement a true IoT corporate strategy to enhance the well being of users of the buildings and improve productivity. Being able to issue updates OTA helps Lighting-as-a-Service providers to update software remotely, change lighting scenes and change the data fields collected.

What I have described in this blog is not an aspiration, its reality. Today, you have so many choices when it comes to wireless protocols so why compromise when choosing your connectivity solution, why not combine them all. The real question to really think about is does your wireless connectivity protocol allow you to deliver the smart lighting platform that you and clients want, or are you working within the constraints imposed by the functionality of the wireless protocol?

The move to human centric lighting and the WELL Standard is gaining more and more momentum and your choice of wireless protocol to support the requirements is key in delivering the services a truly human-centric building needs.

Find out more about how Wirepas Mesh can enable your lighting platform reach new heights at http://info.wirepas.com/smartlighting