One of the benefits of living in the internet age is that we now have the ability to connect everything in our buildings to a network, allowing us to control and monitor our appliances and lighting fixtures remotely with the touch of a button. Connected lighting technology truly opens up a whole new realm of possibilities when it comes to efficiency, customizability, and design in both residential and commercial buildings, while also playing a vital role in the next generation of smart building construction.
Connected lighting is an emerging type of lighting that incorporates intelligence, network interfaces, and sensors to gather and send data and help make lighting a building or other space more efficient. Connected lighting systems do this by creating a shared network, allowing lights and other devices on the network to operate as a whole system with remote control of every connected technology. Connected lighting systems can range from a few smart lights and sensors to a total smart building network, where various lights, electronics, and appliances are connected via a wireless network or Ethernet connection.
There are benefits and drawback to installing either type of connected lighting system, which are important to consider when you’re drawing up your plan for your own smart building installation. This applies to you no matter if you need a connected, automated home lighting system or a connected lighting system for a commercial space such as a restaurant or office building.
The connected Ethernet systems are generally more expensive to install than the wireless networks, though they have become something of a standard in new smart building construction, especially when custom-fitted to the needs of a specific building. Since the network ability is cabled in to the lights, the system isn’t vulnerable to the connectivity issues that might plague a wireless-connected light network. The Ethernet systems are also easy to upgrade, and have the ability to implement new sensor technologies when they roll out. These Power over Ethernet, or PoE systems, usually take about 4 years to pay for themselves.
The benefit of wireless networks is that you will have the ability to control your network remotely, like from a smartphone or tablet. They’re also easy-to-install, since all it requires is lights that are designed to be able to connect to the wireless network. These sorts of networks are the ones that you usually have a payback on investment somewhere in the range of 18 to 24 months.
Connected lighting fixtures also share information about their condition and status to the network, allowing you to determine the health of your lighting system from your connected application via smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
When paired up with energy efficient technology, such as LED lights, a lighting system that is connected to a network can offer you energy savings up to 80 percent. For an average connected network, this means you’ll get payback on your initial investment as early as 18 months. This does depend on the type of network and scale in which it is implemented in your space.
What Makes a Lighting system Connected?
A lighting system is considered connected when you combine connected lighting fixtures, a connected network of lights by wireless or Ethernet, and the appropriate software to control the whole system from. When all of this is in place in your residential or commercial space, a whole new world of possibilities will open up for you.
Many types of new bulbs are designed to be able to connect to wireless networks, allowing you to maximize the energy efficiency you are able to get out of a connected system of LEDs.
What options are available?
Connected lighting now has the ability to be part of a whole smart building network, allowing you the ability to connect your lights with a total system including appliances, heating and cooling systems, and security systems. You have the ability to customize your connected lighting as much as you see fit, from a system with a few smart light fixtures to a fully automated building that dynamically controls your energy use for the highest efficiency.
Connected Lighting Systems for the Home
Connected lighting systems can easily be installed in residential applications, allowing for homeowners to take control of lighting schedules and use sensors and data collection to make the lighting for their whole home efficient and save money on energy.
These connected and automated home lighting systems will help any homeowner take control of the lighting usage in their home. Most of the time, a wireless smart building system will be sufficient for most homeowners who are retrofitting their home for smart technology. Leveraging the power of the Internet of Things, or IoT, users will have the ability to add as many devices as they see fit, adding to the system over time as they work toward a fully connected home.
Connected Lighting Systems for Commercial Spaces
Many different commercial sectors can benefit from connected lighting. These include the service industry, from restaurants to coffee shops, and especially the marketplace concepts that are popping up in larger cities across the country. Connected lighting systems can help restaurants tightly control the lighting in their space, helping save money on wasted energy used in overlighting or for lights that are left on for no reason, such as in storage areas or closets that only need to be lit when someone needs access to them.
Connected lighting networks are also very effective for office buildings, where various rooms, such as waiting areas, meeting rooms, and work areas all require different types of lighting. Also, connected lighting can help office managers balance out natural light with artificial light to an optimal level, thus saving money on bright lights that are unneeded.
The public sector can benefit from connected networks. Roadways, parking lots, and parks can save a lot of money by upgrading their lighting to smart technology. The data sent and received from connected lighting can provide crucial info that can help towns and cities effectively and efficiently light various areas.
If you have any questions about connected lighting networks, and need help finding and purchasing products that will fit into your system, we’re here to help. Our lighting experts at Shine Retrofits are well-versed in the ins and outs of connected lighting, as well as how the emerging technology can benefit your business. The Shine Retrofits customer service team is available anytime Monday through Friday from 6am to 6pm, Mountain Standard Time at 1-877-372-9432. We look forward to hearing from you!