The LED and solid-state lighting (SSL) community continues to seek its place in the grand Internet of Things (IoT) scheme. With each related news story and feature article we publish, we at LEDs Magazine look for the central thread: How is the lighting infrastructure connected in a system architecture and imbued with intelligent capabilities, driven by software, hardware, and communications methods working in tandem?
One of those themes that keeps popping up is Bluetooth connectivity, in particular Bluetooth mesh networking because of its extended range and many-to-many device communication functionality. While the potential of Bluetooth has been discussed for some time now, we’ve also observed recently that commercial products — and projects — equipped with Bluetooth mesh capability have been slow to roll out. This is not unusual, in our experience; there is a reason why we call them “emerging applications” or “emerging technologies.” But implementation is underway.
If you are looking to learn more about how Bluetooth mesh networking factors into connected lighting and enables lighting to merge with the IoT, you ought to make it a point to visit the IoT + Connected Lighting Zone on the exhibit floor at Strategies in Light (Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV; Feb. 27–Mar. 1, 2019).
On Thursday, Feb. 28, from 1:00–3:30 PM in the IoT Pavilion Theater, partners and connectivity and controls specialists from Silvair, Fulham, and McWong will be presenting their collective vision on how the Bluetooth Mesh standard is poised to enable robust, secure connected lighting installations.
Silvair executive Szymon Slupik has written articles for us explaining the foundations of the standard, mesh networking principles, and how Bluetooth can forge the path for lighting in the IoT, as well as how the system and network architecture changes the commissioning process for connected lighting. In the IoT & Connected Lighting Zone presentation “Bluetooth mesh lighting network: A practical guide for lighting manufacturers,” Slupik is prepared to demonstrate how Bluetooth technology can simplify smart lighting concepts and controls. “We're here to show lighting manufacturers how easy they can go wireless today, and how reliable wireless controls have become. Bluetooth mesh provides the shortest way to sensor-driven systems and advanced control strategies. It’s not about wired versus wireless anymore. It’s about democratizing lighting control and making lighting truly efficient,” said Slupik.
Fulham’s Jeremy Ludyjan added, “The Internet of Things will have a dramatic impact on building automation, but for a successful IoT infrastructure you need a reliable data communications ecosystem. A number of vendors, including Fulham, are already offering LED components with onboard Bluetooth mesh designed in to create a wireless data infrastructure. We expect to see more wireless capability being used in lighting retrofits in preparation for IoT building management.” Expect to hear Ludyjan explain how components can add Bluetooth connectivity to existing luminaires during the show-floor talks.
2018 Sapphire Awards finalist McWong partnered with Silvair last year to embed the company's firmware into sensors for smart lighting control platforms. McWong vice president Blane Goettle said, "McWong is coming to SIL this year with a growing line of IoT solutions; our goal is to partner with our customers to form the backbone of a new Bluetooth mesh-enabled IoT infrastructure. Visit the IoT pavilion to hear how we are helping make installation, commissioning, and activation more intuitive and accessible."
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*Updated Feb. 8, 2019 12:15 PM for additional comment.