LIGHTFAIR 2019: Control Lighting From Your Phone

05/22/2019 | By Janelle Penny

How much of your facility can you manage from your phone? IoT-enabled lighting controls are putting the power in your hands with control platforms linked to mobile apps.

A new mobile-controlled lighting platform, Interact, made its debut at LIGHTFAIR 2019. The cloud-based platform controls connected lighting, empowering users to dim lighting, create schedules and even allow individual employees to personalize the lighting in their area. 

It also analyzes space usage, daylight harvesting and occupancy detection to deliver valuable insights that can help you run your building more efficiently.

The data collected by the connected lighting system finds sources of waste, like areas or floors where the lights remain on when the space is unoccupied.

[Related: Occupant-Centered Tech for Smart Buildings]

“All of your assets are [visible in the platform] after commissioning,” explains Roger Karner, president of market US for Signify, the company that developed Interact.

“Which fixture? Which driver? What version of the software? When was it installed? How many burning hours has it had already, so you can do lifecycle management? If people are like ‘I don’t like these dimming levels,’ you can change it but not have to [physically] go there. The end user has all of the asset management tracking, flexibility and a fully wireless controled system,” says Karner.

The DesignLights Consortium-approved system may qualify for rebates from utilities, Karner adds. Not only are the light levels customizable—the system is too. The core Interact platform can be customized with software and system architecture that supports offices, hospitality settings, cities, retail establishments, industrial facilities, architectural landmarks and sports venues.

Small and medium-sized businesses can reap the savings too with Interact Pro, a wireless connected lighting system that gives employees personal control.

“You have one kind of backbone as an end user,” says Karner. “Normally a business might have a manufacturing side, a distribution warehouse, an office and a parking lot. They don’t want to have four different systems. They want to have one system controlling their lighting.”

The company is also piloting Light Fidelity, or LiFi, a connected lighting system that uses light waves to deliver both light and data connectivity. Users can access the internet, send email and connect to the company network through the lighting system.

[From LIGHTFAIR: Light Fixtures Improve Acoustics in Open Work Spaces]

The concept of data through connected lighting isn’t new, Karner says, but the growth of smart living technologies in commercial buildings means the amenity is finally catching on.

“The application is mainly around security, because you can only access the data when you’re underneath the lights,” Karner explains of LiFi. “Outside the wall, you don’t have access to the lights, so you can’t hack in. It’s also more stable than WiFi so you don’t keep losing the connection.”

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