Lighting has the capability to transform and improve the spaces where we live, work and play. It is this amazing possibility that drives Acuity Brands to seek new and innovative lighting technologies for our customers.
As LEDs made digital lighting possible, we saw the opportunity to make lighting intelligent and more connected, expanding lighting’s role from simply illuminating a space to establishing it as a foundational platform. That lighting platform can now network to building and facility systems (BMS), as well as power, house and support the burgeoning amount of IoT devices.
Photo: New lighting technologies reduce glare, aid in visual comfort and enhance the aesthetics of a meeting space. Courtesy of Acuity Brands
The key to providing new lighting solutions is through a relentless focus on innovation, which I define as the curiosity and willingness to change or solve a problem by making and developing new products and solutions.
Our corporate commitment and vision of Expanding the boundaries of lightingTM means using innovative processes to develop advanced LED luminaires and controls. New lighting technologies allow us to provide lighting that reduces glare and aids in visual comfort for educational and office applications or enhances the aesthetics of a meeting or gathering space using varied architectural lighting.
Digital and networked control products provide zoned lighting control for color tuning or creating task-specific/function light areas.
These innovations, the LEDs, controls and other digital technologies, are what we consider as foundational in supporting new and connected IoT solutions. One of the ways we do this is by embedding lighting with the digital technologies to form a platform for location-aware service which forms a medium bandwidth network, which we call a sensory network.
This sensory network has Bluetooth® and Visible Light Communications (VLC) enabled gateways/controllers strategically placed around a building or facility to send and receive data collected throughout the space for further analysis and evaluation.
The installed lighting network provides the bandwidth needed to connect with other building systems, contributing to energy savings that customers can use as a funding mechanism for additional lighting renovations and IoT projects.
The products developed for this sensory network are supported by the Acuity Brands Security Framework, which provides guidelines to fully embed security concepts into all aspects of IoT products and services.
The framework addresses the Acuity Brands products that are deployed together in connected solutions so that the solution supports the long-term security strategy of the business, embeds security into the entire end-to-end architecture and proactively secures all connected and smart products. This approach verifies that devices digitally connected through the sensory network are grounded in these best-in-class security principles.
[Related: How a Smart Building Evolved into a Strategic Asset]
How does the sensory network work across industries and verticals?
Additionally, we also apply our deep experience with lighting and controls to bring this technology to scale for our customers, opening applicability across verticals such as retail, warehouses, manufacturing and healthcare.
Now that digitally connected lighting can form an IoT platform, lighting can connect with BMS, refrigeration, and other systems/devices to gather data that informs facility teams where and how to improve operations with the biggest impact.
Our innovations provide analytics and insights from tags and sensors, which is delivered through the lighting network to help improve and solve for challenging situations in business operations. These solutions allow our customers to use lighting to advance their businesses across several objectives and for various stakeholders, including these four:
1. Healthcare facilities:
In healthcare facilities, for example, a sensory network can be used to track valuable and time-sensitive equipment such as defibrillators, wheelchairs or other critical equipment.
In several airports, we are working to create navigation applications that help customers navigate more efficiently to their gates or find dining and shopping destinations throughout the airport.
3. Industrial space:
In the industrial space, critical assets can be tracked and operational flow in a manufacturing process can be monitored.
In addition, we are actively engaged with several retailers in transforming their store operations through real-time technologies that improve associate efficiency and support ship-from-store and buy online/pickup at store services.
By creating solutions for retailers that deliver business insights from the connected lighting network, renovation investments become-technology investments and have the capacity to serve the business well into the future as highlighted in the recent Walgreens News that covers their first year of partnering with Microsoft on the “future of healthcare” initiative.
How do we imagine this future of lighting? We let lighting and BMS lead the way. Acuity Brands responds by listening to the needs of customers who seek to improve the experience of their customers and employees/staff.
Download your complimentary copy of the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Indoor Location Services, Global courtesy of Acuity Brands. Connect with us to learn more about creating intelligent, connected buildings with lighting as a foundational IoT platform.
About the Author:
Sarah Golish, Senior Vice President, Demand Generation
Sarah is a demonstrated leader, bringing both engineering and business expertise to the demand generation practice at Acuity Brands. Her position spans both the traditional lighting, controls and IoT technology businesses of Acuity Brands.
Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Indoor Location Services, Global, Tim Zimmerman | Annette Zimmermann, 28 January 2019
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*This article was written by and sponsored by Acuity Brands.