For the past two decards, LEDs have steadily progressed from use in traditional standalone bulb lighting to integral luminaire system designs and now to digital LED systems including connected or networked lighting, smart lighting, and human-centric lighting(HCL). The incredible evalution has been made possible by the fact that LEDs are solid-state lighting (SSL) sources. However, the commoditization of LEDs and LED modules has slowed the technological advancements of LED lighting in the face of fierce competition. For years, the industry was focused more on cost than design excellence, but the pendulum has now shifted to placing greater emphasis on developing more advanced LED lighting designs. Let’s disuss how we can accelebrate these technology-focused trasnsitions with a deeper understanding of current market issues to embrace the full potential of smart lighting and the Internet of Things(IoT).

Recently, many lighting companies have been introducing their own connected lighting solutions. The finest of these solutions might continue to improve some market positioning for leading LED lighting manufacturers by demonstrating what is clearly greater value in certain bellwether applications. However, for the lighting industry to continue growing rapidly, open-platform interoperability standardization is crucial for the vast majority of connected applications. Moreover, the cost of transitioning from traditional to digital lighting must be further lowered as the technology is more closely tied to market benefits. As covered in a prior LEDs Magazine article, the technology industry is struggling somewhat to realize potential IoT benefits



FIG.1. The chronology of the digital lighting transformation shows overlapped applications


The evolution of lighting control

The future of digital lighting is taking shape in a three-phase transformation(Fig.1). The transformation is coming in the form of connected lighting, smart lighting, or HCL(also referred to as lighting for health and wellbeing). As of early 2015, these areas of transformation seemed very distinct, but now there is significant overlap.

Over the past decade, major lighting manufacturers and control system companies have developed several proprietary solutions for increasing energy savings through centralized control, based on wired or wireless connectivity technology. The primary purpose of first-generation solutions has been to build a lighting network that focuses on connecting lighting products. This simple approach will continue for some time, but it will not grow in popularity because fixture manufacturers are generally reluctant to adopt proprietary solutions for their digital lighting conversions. These solutions do not allow adequate scale or sufficient interoperability with evolving network technologies such as advanced sensor networks, next-generation phone networks, and PANs (personal area networks)/BANs(body area networks).

Energy savings with smart technologies based on an open platform approach has allowed small and medium-sized lighting munufacturers and control system companies to maximize smart device interoperability, primarily regarding wireless technologies. The purpose of such second-generation solutions has been to standardize communications protocols and reduce the pain of commissioning and pairing, where smartphones serve as the primary smart device and user interface. In addition, the convergence of sensor and actuator networks(SANs) has created another valuable approach to enhancing the augmented network. ZigBee and Bluetooth smart technology are key solutions for driving this new generation of digital lighting.

The ultimate goal of digital lighting is to develop a hub for the IoT that delivers additional network capabilities to PANs/BANs. In the early years of digital lighting(around 2005), the number of people across the globe. But now, almost everyone has a couple of mobile devices and by 2020, the average user will have several smart devices at work and home. This trend will also lead to a shift in the smart lighting network infrastructure to embrace the personalization of naturalized healthcare service. The third generation of digital lighting will require an IP(Internet Protocol) address for every node and end-to-end security architectures that can secure personal data with hardware, firmware, and/or software. The essence of human-centric illumination arises from the physical and biological nature of light, and will be further enhanced when coupled with white-CCT tunable and color-tunable LED technology

A simple, open-platform-based, smart lighting methodology that complements the connectivity of connected light and bridges to HCL can be based on the current open platform. Indeed, HCL should be built on the same platform other than allowing for the use of more sophisticated spectrum control and additional network devices in PANs/BANs.


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