Cooper touts IoT location services as tools for safe reopening of public facilities

Oct. 14, 2020
SSL-centric Trellix real-time location services can help healthcare facilities, schools, and commercial spaces operate more safely in the midst of a global pandemic.

Cooper Lighting Solutions has announced new bundled Internet-of-Things (IoT) offerings that enable networked-lighting-centric indoor location services in allowing enterprises to operate more safely in the presence of a pandemic. Cooper did not specifically identify COVID-19 as a target of its latest Trellix Locate IoT offer, but did say the connected solid-state lighting (SSL) technology can “create safer spaces and slow the spread of germs” by utilizing what Cooper calls RTLS (real-time location systems) technology. Specifically, Cooper has issued two announcements with one covering Trellix deployment in healthcare facilities and the second covering schools and offices, both of which rely on connected LED luminaires.

The Cooper announcement is not the first instance of companies promoting connected SSL technology as a tool that can be deployed against the coronavirus. Cooper’s parent Signify said during the summer that its Interact Office IoT offering could help companies establish and enforce social distancing guidelines. The location services would enable monitoring of traffic patterns and help eliminate points of congestion. Likewise, Enlighted contributed an article to our publication covering similar ground.

The Trellix platform does presumably go a step further in tracking people and assets because it uses Bluetooth beacons to locate both people and equipment in real time. In a healthcare facility, the system would know when space is available in a waiting room or where a respirator or other equipment is located. The system relies on Bluetooth tags being placed on equipment and in personnel badges or patient bracelets. The real-time tracking data increases equipment utilization rates by 40%, according to Cooper, and that would be a positive result with or without COVID-19. Meanwhile, it’s impossible to measure how it might improve safety in all types of workspaces with businesses and schools reopening in the face of COVID-19.

“We have an opportunity to make a difference in a world that is adjusting to a new normal. The healthcare industry has been utilizing RTLS technology for years, but only recently have we seen just how important it can be in helping to keep people safe and equipment available,” said Kraig Kasler, president of Cooper Lighting Solutions. “Offering these capabilities with unparalleled innovation and efficiencies is reflective of our commitment to help this crucial industry operate at its full capacity.”

Eaton/Cooper revealed the Trellix IoT brand at LightFair International 2019 as the Cooper operation was being prepared for divestment by Eaton. We posted a video interview in the Eaton booth at that event discussing the Trellix platform with an Eaton executive.

The healthcare-centric RTLS features of Trellix have been developed in partnership with ZuluFly and Vizzia, organizations that specialize in the healthcare sector. The technology targets both hospitals and medical offices. The presumed benefits start with energy efficiency and space optimization and range to safe social distancing in facilities and ready equipment availability.

Meanwhile, Cooper believes that many of the RTLS concepts will apply to facilities beyond the health sector. The company said schools can use the platform to identify and prevent densely populated areas. Moreover, it can identify areas that require more frequent cleaning and disinfection.

“We have an opportunity to make a difference in a world that is adjusting to a new normal. As the world begins to re-open, businesses and schools can use RTLS to quickly solve complex issues that they either didn’t face a few months ago or have escalated to a critical need in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kasler. “After demonstrating its effectiveness in the healthcare sector, we are confident that Trellix Locate offers solutions for a number of other industries.”

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About the Author

Maury Wright | Editor in Chief

Maury Wright is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade. Wright first wrote for LEDs Magazine as a contractor in 2010, and took over as Editor-in-Chief in 2012. He has broad experience in technology areas ranging from microprocessors to digital media to wireless networks that he gained over 30 years in the trade press. Wright has experience running global editorial operations, such as during his tenure as worldwide editorial director of EDN Magazine, and has been instrumental in launching publication websites going back to the earliest days of the Internet. Wright has won numerous industry awards, including multiple ASBPE national awards for B2B journalism excellence, and has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards. He received a BS in electrical engineering from Auburn University.