Smart Sensors Bringing New Intelligence to Light

LED technology has evolved from a fringe concept to the default solution
 for today’s commercial lighting systems. Though first-generation 
fixtures and lamps were pricey and, on occasion, under powered, today’s 
products are winning on both price and performance, versus fluorescent 
and other options. Acuity Brands Lighting

Chuck Ross

LED technology has evolved from a fringe concept to the default solution for today’s commercial lighting systems. Though first-generation fixtures and lamps were pricey and, on occasion, under powered, today’s products are winning on both price and performance, versus fluorescent and other options. And, beyond simple illumination, the manufacturers also are offering building owners and managers a chance to learn about – and respond to – how employees and customers use their spaces, thanks to new intelligence being embedded within their products.

Today’s more demanding energy standards are making embedded occupancy sensors a common feature in new commercial lighting fixtures. Now system designers are recognizing those sensors can serve as data-collection devices as well as providing simple on, off and dimming control. Manufacturers are developing systems that turn sensors into a network to feed cloud-based analysis services that can offer owners and managers new insights into how their offices, schools and stores are being used.

And these smarter fixtures also have something to offer building occupants, as well – like real-time information on whether specific conference rooms are available, for example. And with the addition of Bluetooth communications capability to the sensors, retail lighting fixtures can create an app-based map of a store’s interior that shoppers can pull up on a smart phone.

Owners and managers planning a new or replacement lighting system should take time to explore the advantages such data-collection and analysis capabilities could offer their organization. Unlike old-school fluorescent systems, most commercial LED fixtures feature integrated light sources rather than replaceable lamps, and the fixtures are designed to last a decade or longer. Certainly, standalone sensor systems can provide many of the same advantages, but incorporating all features into a single product could mean overall savings in both equipment and installation.


Photo courtesy of Acuity Brands Lighting

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