News - 22.02.2024
Data thanks to light sources - How buildings are becoming smart buildings.
Can lighting systems help with the planning of cleaning staff or replace entire security systems? This can be made possible by sensor technology, artificial intelligence and automation. More and more intelligent lighting solutions are being developed and topics such as data analysis are defining the market: lighting manufacturers are increasingly becoming technology and service providers.
Few sectors are developing as dynamically and diversely as the lighting industry. The days when light sources only provided light are long gone. Even what was considered “smart lighting” not so long ago, such as wireless lighting or systems with motion sensors, is outdated – because it’s not really smart. This is because centralised systems with motion sensors can only control the light very slowly: For example, if the switch-off time is around ten minutes and someone enters the room every ten minutes, there is continuous lighting. Thanks to sensor technology, artificial intelligence and networking, much more is possible nowadays. The integration of several sensors per light source and decentralisation make lighting more energy-efficient, so that the duration and intensity of light is automatically adjusted to actual requirements. As a result, an average of 90 per cent more energy can be saved – without complex installation. However, modern technology not only makes it possible to increase cost and energy efficiency, but also to utilise the sensor data collected. This blog article explains how this data can be collected, evaluated and used to optimise operations.
On the pulse of time: data, data, data.
The fact that the lighting is distributed throughout the entire building means that comprehensive and comprehensive data is obtained. But how is the data collected and utilised?
To be able to utilise the data, the lighting system must be connected to the Internet. A gateway is installed for wireless systems, for example. This enables data to be received outside the luminaire network and sent for processing. Thanks to the gateway’s internet connection, the data can be sent to the “cloud”, for example, allowing it to be continuously monitored and analysed. An action can also be triggered directly, so that an e-mail can be sent directly to the maintenance staff if a light is faulty, for example. The more light sources and sensors are networked, the more data is recorded and the more data can be analysed.
How added value can be generated from the flood of data.
In order to generate meaningful added value from the data, the data can first simply be viewed visually. This can be done using a gateway, for example. Depending on the implementation, the data received can then be easily analysed at a glance. Here it is possible for everyone, experts and non-experts alike, to analyse the data over different time periods in a meaningful way. The dashboards are often provided by the provider itself so that the customer can easily benefit from the data. On the one hand, the data analysis provides an important additional benefit for the owner of the lighting system, while on the other hand the technology manufacturer also benefits, as it can continuously develop its own lighting system – which ultimately benefits the customer again and can save even more energy and other resources. For example, predictive maintenance and intelligent lighting management are made possible.
However, the services offered vary greatly depending on the provider. For example, LEDCity currently offers the following functions, among others, together with its technical partner Silvair: Scheduling, energy and occupancy monitoring. This is otherwise only possible with the help of a complex and costly system, which can be dispensed with thanks to the intelligent plug-and-play lighting system. Thanks to scheduling, the lighting system can be set up to automatically activate predefined scenes for a zone at a specific time on selected days. A scene can be a static scene or an automated scenario such as presence detection or daylight utilisation. Energy monitoring can be used to record and display data on the power consumption of your lighting system in real time. The gateway allows movements in your building to be recorded and analysed in a heat map in real time (hourly): Where, when and how do people move?
The market potential for manufacturers of intelligent lighting solutions is expanding, as they can offer more than “mere” sales. Thanks to the growing IoT possibilities, further services can be offered in order to use lighting even more intelligently and generate added value for the entire building.
IoT applications that go far beyond light.
Who doesn’t like it when a small change solves several problems at the same time? And that’s exactly what can be realised thanks to these technologies and data volumes. It is therefore important to think outside the box, explore new possibilities of the Internet of Things (IoT) and bring innovation to the lighting industry. But how is this possible?
Basically, the large amount of sensor data collected provides the basis for comprehensive computer-aided facility management. This allows a wide range of processes to be automated and optimised. For example, depending on the provider, it is possible to analyse the room temperature or CO₂ content in the air on the dashboard and thus take the right measures to improve air quality. Cleaning staff can also be better planned, for example, as the cleaning effort can be recorded based on the movement of people: Which rooms have a particularly high number of people walking through, where therefore needs more cleaning and perhaps fewer people are using the stairs than expected after all, meaning that cleaning staff should not be concentrating on the stairwell at all?
The sensors recognise which rooms or workstations are already occupied, which in turn can be used for efficient use and planning of rooms in offices, schools, universities or other buildings. It is even conceivable that entire security systems could be replaced, saving personnel, money and time. The use cases mentioned here only scratch the surface of all conceivable scenarios where smart lighting solutions can simplify everyday life – the future and advancing technologies will broaden the horizon even further.
Smart building with the LEDCity lighting system.
LEDCity started out with sensor-controlled products that automatically adjust the light locally to the actual demand and only light up when it is really necessary. In the meantime, as the possibilities of sensor technology increase, so do expectations: People want a comprehensive solution that supports their business processes. In this case, this means that sensors do not fulfil their purpose if they “only” control the light. Because there is more to it than that: the sensor technology in combination with artificial intelligence should be used to deliver further added value – for the users of the premises.
What this can mean for the building is shown using the example of the networked lighting system. While the non-networked semi-autonomous products decide independently when they light up and when they don’t, it is now possible to influence this – whether by means of an app, wireless push-button or similar. For simple lighting management and quick evaluation, the LEDCity lighting system can be controlled via an app so that even complex lighting scenarios can be set and used as required. Facility management provider gammaRenax, for example, uses this function in its training rooms, as you can read in our project report. A gateway for the lighting solution extends the light source network to include Internet access, enabling data to be sent and received from the LEDCity light sources so that the data can then be visualised. Due to the increasing sales figures, a trend can be recognised that customers consider the additional benefits of the lighting system to be increasingly important.
In use at AXA Investment Managers.
LEDCity has already realised several projects with AXA Investment Managers. In a major project for the Otto & Alex parking in Chur, the LEDCity semi-autonomous+ lighting system was installed alongside semi-autonomous light sources. By converting to the intelligent lighting solution, energy consumption can be reduced by around 90 per cent. AXA installed the gateways for detailed energy and movement monitoring. This made it possible to verify the energy savings. Current values such as the number of monitored devices, total energy consumption and average movement activity etc. can be displayed immediately.
In addition, many other values – depending on requirements – are displayed in clear graphics for each floor. On which carriageway is energy consumption highest? How busy is the underground car park? On which days of the week is the most movement measured? What is the distribution of movement and energy consumption since the start of the conversion?
These questions and many others can be answered using the dashboard as required. In the Otto & Alex multi-storey car park, the data is mainly used to verify energy savings. For example, the image on the left shows the people measurement from the 3rd basement level. It can be seen that there are no people there most of the time and the light is therefore not needed frequently. The customer can therefore achieve high energy savings thanks to the decentralised lighting system. Overall, AXA was able to benefit from the flexibility of the lighting solution, as the parameters of the lighting system were refined and further optimised several times in accordance with the customer’s wishes. With conventional FL tubes or motion detectors, a high energy-saving potential would remain unutilised. The variety of evaluations offered can be used directly for operational optimisation.
Where can our data make your building even smarter?
The possibilities for optimisation in buildings are huge and far from exhausted. We are currently developing a new generation of the lighting system, a fully autonomous product, in which data analysis will become even more important and software solutions will play an even greater role. A large number of sensors can also be integrated into the fully autonomous solution. This is because wireless networks are much easier to scale. In addition to the sensors integrated in the light sources, external sensors can then be integrated into the luminaire network. These provide further valuable data in order to derive even more benefit from the lighting system with all its additional functions.
We are currently looking for customers and partners who would like to evaluate and test further possibilities with us for the sensor solutions just mentioned: We would be happy to work with you to develop a solution for your specific challenge, which may then also benefit other customers at a later date. Do you have a specific use case in mind whose solution would simplify your life and turn your building into a smart building thanks to our data? Then we look forward to hearing from you!