Digital Systems Blog

What’s the Next Step in Smart Lighting? Smart Building Analytics Using IoT Data

smart building iot dataThere is no doubt about it, the buildings of the future will continue to incorporate smart technologies, using automation to control and optimize operations. Today, most buildings have some level of intelligence built into individual HVAC, lighting, security or other building function however, the Internet of Things (IoT) is taking building automation and control to a new level.

Smart buildings use data to manage, optimize, and automate environmental and operational aspects of building management. Technologies underpinning the acquisition, management, and utilization of this data is known as the IoT. IoT data enables building systems to automatically respond to, and even anticipate, occupant needs, facility requirements, energy efficiencies and more.

In simple terms, the IoT consists of sensors, either stand-alone or embedded in a device, that collect, send and receive data. A system manager aggregates and analyzes the data from these devices, then sends it to the cloud for storage and access by authorized third-party software analytics providers. The results can be used in several ways-- either to make an informed business decision, or to automatically trigger a notification to another connected device instructing it to take an action.

An example of the first scenario would be conference room rationalization. This application uses IoT data to understand exactly how the space is used so that conference rooms can be right-sized to meet occupant needs. The resulting recommendation based on the data could be to split a large conference room into two smaller conference rooms, eliminate a conference room, or even add more conference rooms.

An example of the second scenario would be to use daylight harvesting to automatically dim or switch off artificial light levels when sufficient ambient light is present, while simultaneously lowering room temperature to coincide with the heat generated from natural light. In this scenario, seemingly disparate systems – lighting and heating – are connected, using the same IoT data infrastructure, and working in harmony.

Smart Lighting, Smart Buildings

Smart lighting, sometimes referred to as intelligent or connected lighting, is playing a pivotal role in the evolution of smart buildings. The lighting system infrastructure is the ideal platform for IoT data that enables smart building IoT applications beyond illumination.

Here is why.

  • Smart lighting integrates sensors, control software, cloud connectivity and wireless communications to create a flexible infrastructure solution that supports data-driven automated solutions for lighting and other smart building-related applications.
  • Lighting has direct access to a power supply and when sensors are integrated into each luminaire, they also have direct access to that power supply eliminating the need for batteries or external power.
  • Unlike its predecessors, LED lighting is based on digital technology. Fixture-integrated sensors and controls components can send information and receive commands from software or other digital devices on the lighting system network.
  • Each light point on the lighting system network can be configured as an individually-addressable data node or as groups of nodes providing significant configuration and application flexibility.
  • Historical and real-time data can be analyzed and used for decision-making. Smart lighting system managers act as the aggregation point for data collected from lighting system nodes.
  • Smart lighting solutions act as the data network infrastructure for smart building applications beyond lighting.

Creating Value Leveraging IoT Data

Once you collect data, what can you do with it? According to Deloitte, there are a number of ways to create value by leveraging IoT data.

  • Value through efficiency - Initial uses of IoT technology help firms by increasing efficiency through enhanced building performance. IoT data gives deep insight into building usage and pinpoints areas for cost reductions through energy efficiencies, preemptive maintenance, and security.
  • Insight to Occupant Behavior - Beyond focusing on building usage and cost reductions, the data collected from ‘things’ with embedded sensors gives insight into tenant behavior. With this insight, CRE firms are able to identify unmet consumer demands and offer services at a premium price as well as efficiently utilize all available space.
  • Selling Insight – CRE firms can now sell analytics as a service. Deloitte cites these examples - Data on people moving within a building can potentially be sold to advertisers or urban planners to help them in their decision-making. In another example, retail real estate owners can capture and analyze end-customer demography, purchase and movement data and sell it to their tenants.

Optimizing Space Utilization

One of the hottest applications leveraging IoT data is space utilization.

The workplace is changing rapidly. More people are mobile and working remotely with occasional visits to the office.  Employees seek a working environment that is engaging and inspiring with different workspace options. They don’t want to be relegated to a traditional office or desk for their entire workday.

A modern, connected work environment is an asset that can increase productivity and help attract and retain top talent. There are many reasons why organizations need to continually optimize their space:

  • Rapid growth or cutbacks can change the dynamics of the workspace.
  • Reorganization may require moving people around.
  • Divestitures may result in vacant office space requiring a downsizing.
  • An acquisition can create the challenge of where to house a newly acquired work force.

Workspace changes can be expensive. Smart decisions on space utilization are now made using workplace analytics software fed by granular data that is leveraged from a smart lighting system. Restacking, increasing or decreasing square footage, justifying costs to upgrade your workspace, and conference room rationalization are just a few of the space optimization applications now available using IoT data.

Without smart lighting, many of these emerging applications would not be possible or they would be cost prohibitive. The future of smart lighting is the IoT data collected.

To learn more, read the following posts in this series What is the Connection between Smart Lighting and IoT? and 5 Tips for choosing a Smart Lighting IoT Platform.

Connected Lighting Meets IoT

Topics: Connected Lighting & IoT