Welcome to the LEDs Magazine Connected SSL & Controls Newsletter for Dec. 13, 2021. Sometimes it seems to me as though we have been building up to a “ubiquitous” connected lighting and smart systems future for a very long time. We’ve heard proponents of various industry standards, stakeholders, and suppliers outline what connectivity and controls allow LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) to do for us.
For instance, three years back DesignLights Consortium executive director Christina Halfpenny wrote that “LEDs are at a pivotal crossroads, with innovations underway and on the near-horizon promising to greatly multiply potential energy and cost savings while improving wellbeing and quality of life and providing a practical route to a smart building future.”
At that time, Halfpenny cited a study that claimed adding networked lighting controls (NLC) to LED lighting boosted energy savings by an average of 47% “beyond savings from LEDs alone,” and observed that the potential savings over five years of 75 tWh of electricity is about 17 times greater than the annual output of the Hoover Dam.
Here we are, three years down the road and we are getting ever more details on the cost additions of various controls versus cost savings in reduced energy usage, better facilities management, improved utility incentives, and such. Today Guest blogger Daniel Hollenkamp, an executive with LED lighting and controls supplier Toggled, notes that faced with the functional office changes wrought by pandemic-induced remote work, “fully-integrated lighting control systems will be a vital feature for commercial real estate executives and facilities managers” looking for actionable data to reduce their operational costs and enable more flexible use of built spaces.
Yet we are still asking the question, “What is smart building technology worth to the market?” In that linked blog, I shared thoughts from Smart Buildings Technology chief editor Patrick McLaughlin, based on details of the recent “Smart Building Technology Adoption report.” McLaughlin revealed that, still, “the cost of the initial investment to adopt smart technologies is […] head and shoulders above all other considerations in terms of what gives potential investors pause, what gives potential end users of smart technologies pause.”
Typically, the response to "what value is placed on X" is “whatever the market will bear.” I do see an interesting angle to the currently-nebulous question of smart systems value. In one of our top-content lists we publish during the month of December, you’ll notice that every top connectivity story of 2021 is a business news item. There are no technology launches, no standards/protocol updates, no connected lighting projects in the top four. It’s not because we didn’t publish any. My take is that the lighting and controls business is still going through a period of consolidation, a reduction of "congestion," if you will, and restructuring that will continue for a while and then settle into a more discernible market-leadership pattern.
You’ll find more of interest in the body of today’s newsletter. Please keep in touch about content we post or to pitch a contributed article.
- Carrie Meadows, (603) 891-9382, [email protected]