Tridonic - Connected Lighting Is Opening Up New Possibilities
- Published: Tuesday, 20 February 2018 10:05
This year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to three researchers for their work on the biological rhythms and molecular mechanisms of plants, animals and humans. Thanks to their excellent research, we now know more about the biology of our internal clock and the way it adapts to the day/night cycle.
The research findings also show how important it is for our biorhythms to be in balance. We are most likely to become aware of the natural day/night rhythm when it goes out of step, as in the case of shift workers. In this context we see the huge importance of human centric lighting (HCL) which places the focus on human needs and takes account of the emotional and biological effects of light on the human body and mind. After all, light is the regulator for this inner clock. The powerful effects of light on human biorhythms have been proven in many different studies. Optimum lighting design can therefore have a positive influence on our well-being, mood and health.
Connected lighting is opening up new possibilities. A smart building can meet the combined needs and wishes of users, facility managers and tenants with regard to the quality of light, with optimum results. Integrated sensors, for example, can continuously measure the current outdoor lighting conditions and incoming daylight. This information is sent to the central light management system that controls the lighting throughout the building. As a result, the system provides only as much artificial light as is needed to create the ideal combination of artificial light and natural daylight. The light colour of the daylight is also taken into consideration and replicated with the aid of tunable white technology, leading to a heightened sense of well-being and more settled biorhythms among users of the building. Another example comes from the retail sector. Trackers or beacons integrated in luminaires enable the movements of customers to be detected, recorded and displayed in a heat map. Based on this data, accurate predictions about the situation in the store can be generated very quickly, and the system can then adjust the lighting accordingly or use the data to optimise the way the retail space is utilised.
These scenarios clearly illustrate our vision of connected lighting. We believe that by 2025 light will be the backbone of connected buildings and cities. At Tridonic we are firmly convinced that light is the ideal basis for the Internet of Things. The advantages of lighting are its dense infrastructure in every building and in every urban outdoor environment. What’s more, lighting systems already have their own power supply and sufficient space for integrating sensors. Luminaires are therefore the ideal nodes for data capture and distribution. If in future an IP-based, wireless or Ethernet-based connection is used for networking the luminaires, this connection can then be used not only for controlling the luminaires but also for other services, such as room management, indoor navigation and asset tracking. In view of this, we are the first lighting company to develop a future-proof hardware and software platform which seamlessly links the lighting infrastructure to the IP environment. This has involved applying our expertise in electronics, sensor technology, software and LED luminaire control.
The new platform, known as net4more, with its innovative architecture is characterised by openness, flexibility and scalability. The open interfaces offer optimum interoperability of hardware and software, which means for example that any beacons developed in the future can be easily integrated. As a genuine “IP-to-the-end-node” concept, the toolbox for the first time offers IP communication right to the luminaire in a low-power version based on the Thread standard. The basis for full communication with other connected devices is the open standard of the IPv6 internet protocol.