Aug 31, 2016: In the midst of the trend for Internet of things (IoT), smart and connected LED lighting has come to the forefront, and has literally created a buzz around the world. While, the need for smart and connected LED lighting is on the rise, the drive for these advanced lighting systems comes from various factors such as technological development, regulatory influences, etc.
As demand for LED luminaires rises, consumers want to have value for their money while they invest in these advanced lighting systems. Many end users are, therefore, going beyond the conventional lighting systems, and using more advanced technologies like monitoring lighting data, tracking lighting assets, and assessing the way lighting equipment function, etc.
As more and more cities start using connected lighting, the rate of connected outdoor lighting projects will surely increase. Connected outdoor LED lighting is likely to grow at a CAGR of 52% from 2014 to 2022. However, currently, developing nations are still lagging behind in using outdoor connected lighting as these are still extremely price sensitive. Connected lighting installations in developing nations are currently happening on a smaller scale.
Factors driving connected lighting market
Today, standalone lighting controls are in their diminishing phase since people are constantly adopting more and more advanced technologies. A lighting system that can be controlled with the help of a central management system is what we know as connected lighting. Connected lighting systems can be used for outdoor as well as indoor lighting.
Push from LED manufacturers: As LED lighting has long lifetime, manufacturers have realized that they have to offer more to the end users in order to increase their profit margins. Hence, LED manufacturers are getting connected with vendors of the IoT sector, and offering customers connected lighting systems with a promise of extending the lifetime of the lighting systems, while reducing energy costs.
Regulations: One of the main forces behind the immense popularity of connected lighting is regulations. For instance, there is Title 24 in California that drives connected lighting into the forefront. Such regulations make it mandatory to install LED lighting controls for new constructions, renovations and retrofits.
Need to lower operational costs: Companies are always looking for ways to cut down operational costs, which, in turn, is pushing implementation of connected lighting in private and public sectors. We all know that if we use connected lighting systems with street lights, parking garage lights, and exterior building lights, then users can cut down a huge operational cost as these public lightings are used for long hours.
The data collection features of connected lighting help end users to not only power lights but also identify malfunctions and save time in replacement. With connected lighting city workers no longer have to drive long stretches of roads to identify failed street lights, neither they have to hear complaints from residents about failed street lights. Organizations are also taking good advantage of the advanced features of connected lighting which help them to reduce operational and maintenance costs.
Regardless of a bright future, connected outdoor lighting market still has some ongoing issues to be fixed. Most cities pay fixed-rate tariffs for the operation of street lights, so the savings of connected lighting systems may currently go unnoticed in many cases because fixed-rate tariffs do not account for the actual energy consumption of these street lights. Lighting systems coupled with lighting communication technologies usually experience lower operational hours than what cities get billed for. Smart controls can help end this fixed-price model under which cities are being billed.
Lack of standards for lighting communication protocols is yet another issue that the connected lighting market has been facing. There are currently several lighting communication protocols for outdoor lighting, and most of them lack interoperability and compatibility with other protocols. This may not essentially be detrimental; however, it may cause problems in cases where one is looking to shop around for lower-priced lighting communication systems in the future.
It is, therefore, extremely important to resolve these issues so that connected outdoor lighting can really shine in the long run, paving way for cost- and energy-savings opportunities for city authorities as well as organizations.