Turn-Key Connected Lighting Solutions May Not Be Appropriate For All

This blog is another piece on the connected lighting market. To see our previous articles on the connected lighting market refer to: 'With More LED Street Lights Comes More Connected Lighting,' 'Lighting Industry: 2014 in Review and What to Expect Next,' and 'Let's Talk Controls'.

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This blog is another piece on the connected lighting market. To see our previous articles on the connected lighting market refer to: 'With More LED Street Lights Comes More Connected Lighting,' 'Lighting Industry: 2014 in Review and What to Expect Next,' and 'Let's Talk Controls' .
If you have been following our blogs on the connected lighting market, it is clear that we believe that smart lighting or connected lighting is here to stay and will keep growing as needs of end-users evolve, as we face more energy restrictions/depletion and as lighting codes and standards evolve to account for growing energy consumption.
Though connected lighting will be ubiquitous in the coming years, the rate and likelihood of connected lighting adoption will depend and vary region by region. Also, it is currently very difficult to confidently predict what lighting technology (power line communication vs., Zigbee vs., and 6LoWPAN vs. Proprietary/ Others) will be a "one-size fit all" solution for all the different lighting applications and infrastructure between regions and cities. The needs and construction/ energy distribution infrastructure of the different lighting regions are so unique and diverse that in the short term at least some lighting technologies will be appropriate for some while not being applicable or feasible for others. Keeping this in mind, many lighting controls manufacturers are keeping a diverse portfolio to provide solutions to different project types and needs.
Aside from specifying appropriate lighting communications to the needs of the end-user, projects may also vary by what the customer would like and not like to control. In other words, manufacturers need to be aware of what features the average end-user needs or expects out of their controls systems. What are they willing to invest in and what they would forego on?
For instance, in states such as California where lighting controls are part of buildings regulations, the facility owners and operators are more influenced into installing lighting controls, but this may not be true for all lighting applications in California. Let's discuss the outdoor lighting market. Installing lighting controls for parking garages/lots and exterior building lighting such as wallpacks/floodlights would be a great opportunity for many end-users. Not only are controls mandated for these two applications, these applications have metered energy data so the actual savings from these applications can be directly realized by installing energy efficient lights and connected lighting system. However, street lights in most cities have fixed rate tariffs so the actual realized energy savings are harder to capture and capitalize on. Though street lights are currently not metered, installing lighting controls provides cities/ municipalities/ utilities with other advantages, such as being able to monitor their assets and energy consumption, also reduce maintenance costs by being able to identify malfunctioning lighting at real-time. For more on this please refer to our previous blog, 'With More LED Street Lights Comes More Connected Lighting'
We also have to consider cities and regions where energy reduction targets are not the biggest priority and thus there are no strict lighting controls mandates set in place. What drives these regions to invest in energy efficient light sources or connected lighting systems? It is very difficult to claim that there is one correct way of addressing the needs of all the different regions and project cases. However, we live in a very diverse and complex world where turn-key solutions are not always appropriate.

At Strategies Unlimited, we have seen a growing demand for information on the connected lighting market. For this reason, we are coming out with three new reports in 2015 that cover these markets:

For more information please contact Tim Carli at tcarli@pennwell.com

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