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How connected lighting can help you maximize your space

If you are a building owner or facility manager, you understand the value of real estate. As real estate costs continue to climb, enterprises are looking for ways to maximize their usage of this valuable space in order to reduce operational expenses and improve employee productivity.

Connected lighting systems help building owners and facility managers maximize the potential of their spaces. This technology, embedded in light fixtures, collects granular data about the space and environment. This, in turn, provides valuable insights regarding space usage. By unifying lighting fixtures, access controls, energy management solutions, HVAC systems and even window shades, a connected lighting system can transform an entire building and the experiences people have in it. The independent, secure operation of individual wireless sensors in every lighting fixture, combined with advanced wireless communication, makes this level of connectivity possible.

“With a connected lighting system, the lighting design is the control design,” said Ganesh Balasubramanian, product manager, connected buildings for Eaton’s Lighting Division. “This means that when you lay out your space with light fixtures embedded with digital sensors, multiple locations, from hospital patient rooms to airport parking lots, can be managed within a single system. In turn, these locations are remotely programmable and changeable at any time, within the context of the facility’s lighting.”

Why connected lighting?

We’re squarely in the middle of the internet of things era, and the current landscape is opening the door to powerful and innovative solutions for previously unsolvable hurdles.

Lighting fixtures are an essential component in any infrastructure to create a balanced, safe environment. By leveraging the real estate of the physical light fixture and capitalizing on advanced controls and insightful data analytics, connected lighting systems put building owners in control. With a constant power supply and no separate installation required, your next project can be a smart project.

Components of connected lighting

Determining your connected lighting needs can be daunting. With so many variables, how do you prioritize? Start by considering the four components of connected lighting:

  1. Power: It’s crucial to understand the power management needs for connected lighting systems. Light fixtures can be powered through traditional AC power or more distributed DC power.
  2. Lighting: LED lighting fixtures are inherently controllable and energy-efficient, making them ideal for your connected lighting needs.
  3. Connectivity: Digital sensors embedded into light fixtures with wired or wireless communication provides a means of control and the gathering of granular data.
  4. Software: Software transforms this data into easy-to-read dashboards and securely delivers historical and real-time information via building systems and the cloud.

Benefits of connected lighting

Connected lighting systems can help building owners drive down energy costs, improve occupant comfort and health, and establish a unified solution for energy management and building automation. Connected lighting provides a new intelligence and a way to better manage and fully optimize resources like people, energy and property:

  • People: User experience and improved quality of life can boost productivity and efficiency.
  • Energy: Connected lighting increases energy efficiency and cost savings. For example, Eaton’s LumaWatt Pro with Enlighted connected lighting system provides more than 70 percent savings on lighting energy costs.
  • Property: System functions include presence sensing, task tuning, daylight harvesting and time of day control.

Building owners and facility managers in a broad range of settings can benefit from a tightly integrated, connected lighting system. Consider the following:

  • Airports: Connected lighting can help people navigate through airports as they try to get to the next gate to catch a flight or find a restaurant where they would like to eat. Public spaces like airports are leveraging lighting in order to deploy location based services to engage and improve the experience of travelers.
  • Schools: Increasing student engagement is an ongoing goal for school systems and their facilities. The ability to manipulate color temperatures from warm to cool can be critical for providing optimal conditions for test-taking or tasks such as reading and writing.
  • Health care facilities: Lighting and controls solutions are crucial in medical facilities because of the potential impact on clinical outcomes and the opportunities for cost savings. Imagine an asset tracking solution that allows clinical staff to quickly and easily locate an available insulin pump within a large facility.
  • Offices: Connected lighting systems open the door to better, smarter real-time space management for offices. Pinpoint booked but available conference rooms when meeting space is at a premium, reconfigure spaces to make them more efficient and implement daylight and motion sensing to increase energy savings.
  • Parking decks and parking lots: Facilitate safety and peace of mind when using connected lighting in a parking facility. Utilizing motion sensors as people move about the parking facility keeps the area well-lit while remaining energy efficient.
  • Retail spaces: Customers can enjoy a richer experience while shopping in retail spaces with connected lighting solutions. For example, retailers can understand how customers are moving within the store and where they spend most of their time. This helps retail spaces optimize displays based on customer movement patterns.
  • Warehouses: Connected lighting can help provide adequate lighting to some of the most challenging spaces and also provide energy savings when the space is not utilized. In addition, industrial spaces can track forklifts and other valuable equipment in real time.

Connected lighting and other wireless building control solutions make facilities smarter, safer and more productive. “Systemwide connectivity opens the door to so many possibilities,” Balasubramanian said. “It unlocks everything.”