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FROM LIGHTING TO SMART LIGHTING: THE EVOLUTION OF LIGHT

These days, it’s simplistic to just talk about lighting: if you think of smart lighting, there are many services that can be delivered from a single light point.

Author: Alessia Varalda - Date: 09 Sep 2020 - Average Reading Time: 6 minutes


Lighting is critical to ensuring the well-being and safety of people in any context: home, work, urban. In recent years, the lighting world has been through a number of revolutions, such as the massive use of LEDs, the transition to electronics, the possibility of managing light and creating custom lighting and then the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT). There have also been new demands to meet, such as reducing energy consumption and flexibility.

Smart lighting responds to these needs by combining people’s two main requirements (well-being and safety) with the need for energy efficiency and saving. But how do you do that? By making light fittings smart and giving them the ability to communicate, exchanging signals and data with other devices and objects.

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

The Internet of Things itself is changing the way we interact with the environment, people and information, and is permeating our lives. Smart homes, smart buildings, smart cities: with the “smart” meaning intelligent but also having a broader meaning applicable to different aspects of everyday life. And, of course, lighting can benefit from it as well, bringing countless advantages.

IoT transforms products and the concept of product itself, as it adds functionalities that extend beyond the object’s main purpose.

For example, light fittings are designed to bring light where you need it and by embracing digital transformation they become platforms which can be integrated with additional electronic components capable of creating a data transmission network, whether in buildings and homes or in urban areas. One can also create more productive and sustainable environments, knowing precisely the status of each device and managing their maintenance through on-time diagnostics.

THE LIGHTING SYSTEM BECOMES A NETWORK OF CONNECTIONS

Smart lighting transforms the lighting of roads, paths and squares, and makes it more efficient. Interconnecting all equipment allows you to effectively manage both the entire line and every light point, adjust light flow, schedule power on and off times, but also monitor the performance, consumption and status of each device. With sensors installed in light fittings, you can detect the amount of light in a specific location and, through real-time data processing, adjust the amount of artificial light emitted in public spaces.

But light fittings can become the nodes of a larger network, by using sensors and devices that can gather information such as temperature, humidity and air quality. Properly equipped, they can capture images and recognise details (e.g. traffic monitoring), exchange this information with video surveillance systems, enable specific responses, or send an alert to the appropriate personnel.

LIGHTING AS A SMART CITY FACILITATOR

Creating a new way of conceiving and inhabiting cities, by combining lighting, security, architectural value and comfort, is therefore feasible with smart lighting.

Public lighting accounts for a significant share of the energy bill for Italian municipalities. Adopting intelligent lighting systems, designed and installed correctly, can ensure significant cost savings in management costs, as well as helping to create optimal conditions, with more accurate control of emitted light, for better use of urban roads and spaces, and for citizen safety.

In addition, lighting can perform a variety of roles in smart cities: they can become a service delivery network for those who administer cities and the people who live in them, transforming them into charging points, information totems, or Wi-Fi internet access points.

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