over, Cree has developed cloud-based analytics capability and offers commissioning
and control via smart devices. Plus, the system includes open application programming
interfaces (APIs), encouraging third-party
software developers; Cree will also support
lighting products from other vendors with
The Full Io T Monty
And Cree was just one of many exhibitors to
show cloud-based Io T platforms joining the
likes of the largest players in lighting such as
Osram, Philips Lighting, Current, and Acuity
that have spent years in IoT development.
Acuity, for example, used LFI to announce
a new IoT brand called Atrius that is an
umbrella for all of the company’s IoT hardware and software.
The question is how many lighting companies can afford to develop cloud-based
analytics and light management systems
and what will specifiers pay for such capabilities. And it appears there is not much buying happening as of now.
Cree said it developed its IoT play in
house. Others are rapidly moving forward
through partnerships. For example, Eaton’s
Luma Watt Io T system that supports indoor
and outdoor applications is based on tech-
nology from partner Enlighted. Hubbell
Controls Solutions used LFI as a platform to
launch its NX Distributed Intelligence plat-
form that will include NX control modules,
NX sensors, NX radio modules, and more.
The Hubbell controls business will sell the
products to other lighting manufacturers,
but the NX technology is also the basis for
the coming Hubbell Lighting IoT play that
was demonstrated at LFI.
Hubbell is partnered with Igor on the Io T
technology. We did a video interview with
Igor back at Strategies in Light (http://bit.
ly/2t0rImk). Igor has developed a number
of hardware modules, including PoE modules, that luminaire makers can add to their
products. But Igor’s business model is based
on the company’s IoT platform that it can
license through a company such as Hubbell
to major Io T lighting installations.
Partners and matchmaking
LFI was brimming with would-be partners
looking to link up. In prior years, we dis-
cussed Samsung’s intention of moving into
smart lighting as a module supplier. The
company is already delivering a multichan-
nel LED driver that can be wirelessly con-
nected and can support tunable lighting.
And the company says it is ready to roll out
a large family of modules including wireless
controllers, sensors, and switches. Moreover,
the company is promising cloud support and
apps for smart devices.
Tridonic used LFI to commercially launch
the net4more platform that has been talked
about for more than a year. We covered
that company’s plans in a recent interview
with the CEO ( http://bit.ly/2szFig5). And a
recent feature article written by the company includes an explanation of why the Io T
move by lighting manufacturers should be
based on Internet Protocol (IP) networks
Lutron, meanwhile, is a traditional controls company that sometimes also seems to
want to be a lighting company and is fond
of proprietary systems. At LFI this year, the
company was pushing its Vive wireless lighting control module that luminaire makers
can add to their systems so that they work
as part of a Vive installation based on the
company’s proprietary Clear Connect wireless network.
Not all of the enabling technology vendors
are focused on delivering the cloud software
and full lighting management platforms, but
rather many are just seeking to enable the
smart luminaire. For example, ams believes
that the key to the Io T of the future is integration of sensors in luminaires along with
intelligent control. You can watch one of
our LFI videos for more details (http://bit.
Still, the problem remains that networks
and sensors are often removed in lighting specification projects to slash costs. In
a Strategies in Light keynote earlier this
year, Enlighted CEO Joe Costello lamented
that the specification process could set
back the move toward intelligent buildings
by a decade or more. So at LFI, Enlighted
launched an organization called the IoT
Ready Alliance that will seek to have luminaire makers include an interface in every
product they sell that could later be tapped
to add Io T capabilities in installed products
( http://bit.ly/2s0rc8A). The path to an IoT
future is surely a bumpy one, but many people continue to believe that it’s the only path
to prosperity for lighting manufacturers.
FIG. 8. Simple wireless area controllers connect to as many as 200 luminaires,
sensors, and controls in the Eaton WaveLinx system.