Osram forays into Bluetooth wireless controls

Nov. 14, 2019
The company is targeting office retrofits through a partnership with Silvair. Zigbee remains in the mix.

Osram, which has until now relied on Zigbee as the technology behind its wireless lighting control systems, has added Bluetooth to the mix through a partnership with Polish Bluetooth specialist Silvair.

The two companies are combining efforts to help Osram relaunch a product called HubSense, introduced in March 2018 as a wireless system that intelligently adjusts office lighting. The aim was to save energy, monitor maintenance requirements, and set light levels according to office activities.

An Osram spokesperson told LEDs Magazine that Osram has abandoned the original HubSense, but has decided to reuse the name for what is now the company’s maiden voyage into Bluetooth. It will target the new HubSense at mesh deployments in office retrofits, the spokesperson said.

Bluetooth mesh introduces multiple innovative concepts to solve the typical challenges of wireless lighting control,” added Osram product manager Hannes Wagner. “Already present in all personal computing devices, it also seems perfectly positioned to deliver value-added services directly to end users.”

Krakow-based Silvair and Munich-based Osram together noted that Bluetooth offers “drastically simplified commissioning process and multiple predefined lighting scenarios,” and that it eliminates recommissioning costs and the need for engineering expertise.

Osram will continue to also offer Zigbee, the spokesperson told LEDs. It was not immediately clear how and when Osram will prefer one of the wireless technologies over the other. LEDs hopes to report more on this next week.

As for the original HubSense, the spokesperson told LEDs that Osram decided not to enter it into its product portfolio after introducing it at Frankurt’s Light+Building exhibition.

Wireless lighting controls are part of the Digital operations at Osram, a group that that could be up for sale should Austrian sensor maker ams succeed in its efforts to acquire Osram. Osram appears to be focusing more on the photonic chip portion of its business — the LED and laser chips made by its Opto Semiconductor division.

Like the lighting industry in general, Osram's Digital group is searching for the right technologies and business models to help turn the lighting infrastructure into an intelligent, Internet-connected network that collects data and monetizes it. Many efforts have had a trial-and-error feel about them. Silvair’s Bluetooth represents the latest addition to Osram’s intelligent lighting and Internet of Things (IoT) stable.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.