Digital Systems Blog

Three Ingredients for Personalized Lighting in the Workspace

pexels-photo-273238.jpegPeople crave a personalized experience--from the coffee we order in the morning, to the online shopping sites that ‘know’ our preferences, to the vacation tours we find when browsing travel sites that are a ‘match’ with our bucket list. It’s no surprise that promises of ‘a personal experience’ are touted everywhere and widely encouraged. We’ve come to expect it in all aspects of our life.

Personalization is a key ingredient of smart buildings and linked directly to occupant comfort and productivity. In the near future, smart building technology will enable an occupant to control the heating, cooling and lighting within their own workspace. In fact, today’s state-of-the-art lighting control systems can offer a personalized lighting experience as it is seen as a competitive advantage in the commercial real estate market.

Likely soon, occupants will expect a personalized workspace, meaning that a building lacking this functionality may be less occupied or not able to command premium rental rates.  

What is personalized lighting?

Think of personalized lighting as a strategic component in achieving visual ergonomics. Just as a desk and workstation needs to fit the individual, so should lighting. According to the International Ergonomics Association (IEA), visual ergonomics is a science which aims to achieve a good balance between what a person can see and the visual demands of a task.

If lighting in an area makes a task difficult to see or uncomfortable to view, then an individual can experience physical discomfort, make mistakes or work more slowly. In the workplace, this could have wide-reaching consequences, such as reduced productivity, increased risk of accidents and personal injury. Organizations need to provide a visually comfortable and safe environment to enable efficient work.

An automated lighting control system that enables mass-customization at a granular level enables a personalized lighting experience for all occupants.

Combining lighting strategies for a personalized experience

Typically, a personalized lighting experience requires combining several lighting strategies including personal scene settings, light layering, and intuitive control interfaces.

  1. Personal scene settings allow an individual to adjust lighting levels in their space to their personal preferences. An individual may favor brighter or dimmer light levels than a coworker doing the same task. By enabling workers to adjust and set lighting scenes to their personal preferences, their working environment and productivity level can be improved.
  2. Light layering involves combining ambient, accent, and task lighting to create a visually comfortable and appealing space. Ambient lighting uniformly lights a space, accent lighting highlights features, and task lighting illuminates for specific tasks or activities. The combination of these three provides both functionality and visual interest and all can be arranged into preset scenes.
  3. Intuitive control interfaces such as a desktop or mobile app make it easy and convenient for workers to control the lighting in their workspace. When viewing scans, radiologists at Bryan Medical Center use a foot pedal to switch between preset lighting scenes for hands-free viewing, while some of the Center’s office workers use a desktop app to select light levels in their workspace that suit their individual preferences.

While people prefer natural light, workplaces use a combination of daylight and artificial lighting. Within that range of illumination, preferences vary—among people and for the same person at various times during the day.

Most workspaces have a fixed lighting environment and are over-lit. A fixed lighting environment cannot address changing needs, and workers want to be able to adjust their lighting depending on their mood, task, and time of day. Personalized lighting brings benefits to all stakeholders in a lit environment.

To learn more about how Bryan Medical Center has leveraged smart lighting controls, download the case study below.

smart lighting


Topics: Lighting Controls