The Internet of Everything at work
The lighting system at the Cisco office collects data from 700 PoE-enabled luminaires equipped with sensors to capture temperature, light level, and human activity for optimizing user comfort. Lighting management software allows managers to monitor and manage each light fixture via a dashboard application. The system also stores data over time, allowing managers to assess occupancy patterns and optimize lighting operations based on historical trends and findings, and opens up avenues for innovation into data-rich applications.
Operating the lighting system is seamless, with easy visibility to each fixture, allowing facility managers to respond to maintenance issues more quickly and lowering labour costs. This is the IoT at work, connecting people with processes and data.
Cisco estimates that the 1400 LED luminaires alone will realize 50 per cent energy savings over traditional fluorescent lighting during the fixture’s lifetime—LED lights last significantly longer than traditional, non-LED lights, leading to less lightbulb replacements and waste. They also use less energy to produce the same light output. With the connected lighting operations in place, Cisco expects to save up to 80 per cent, based on
the technology and enhanced lighting controls. The additional energy savings will be realized through smart-sensor-based operations and the integration of the lighting system with the building management system (BMS) using industry standard protocols such as BACnet—
a data communication protocol for building automation and control networks.
In November 2015, Waterpark was awarded the most innovative workplace by CoreNet, a nonprofit organization awarding and recognizing corporate real estate practices. The project offers a glimpse into the kinds of office environments lighting and IT companies can create through collaboration.
Creating smarter workplaces
For indoor location services, the PoE luminaires have visible light communication (VLC) technology built in. This does not require any new infrastructure or additional capital expenditure other than just the lights—
a positive experience for everyone who has tried these services. It allows for very accurate positioning and provides a stable performance with no latency at all. Via the VLC technology, the luminaires continuously transmit their IP address. These signals are then captured by the employee’s smartphone, providing for
hyper-accurate indoor positioning, in addition to energy efficient luminaires. Waterpark also showcases how indoor location services can drive ease and efficiency.
Smartphone apps can be location-aware through VLC. The PoE luminaires act as location beacons, each sending a unique code through VLC, recognizable by the smartphone’s front camera. Similar to the map apps on a smartphone, indoor positioning is basically an “indoor GPS” pinpointing your location in the office. Through the app, employees can adjust the climate and lighting at their desks, or at specific locations in the office such as a meeting room, as needed throughout the day.
At some of the Waterpark’s floors, occupants can see their position on a map of the building and easily find their way to Cisco’s Innovation Centre or a specific meeting room. Cisco is also considering several additional location-based services based on an indoor positioning system that will build on the current one. For example, the system could enable an employee to find the nearest empty meeting room, unoccupied desk, or colleagues.
The indoor positioning software can also work with (lighting-powered) Bluetooth low-energy beacons. The development of indoor positioning technology provides a wealth of possible applications for commercial lighting systems, including retail and shopping malls. The system is already in use at several retail chains in Europe for accurate product finding and location-based promotions. Imagine a shopper using the downloaded app and being provided services and offers relevant to their current location. The possibilities are virtually endless for architects looking to create intuitive, comfortable, and energy efficient spaces.
It comes down to innovation and imagining the limitless applications as technologies evolve. With lighting informing owners of maintenance requests, occupancy trends, temperature control, and more, offices become more efficient, sustainable, and comfortable. This is an exciting time to be part of the IoT. With revolutionary technology like connected lighting systems, the future of workspaces looks bright.
William R MacGowan, P.Eng., CEM, is Cisco Systems’ director of digital buildings. He has considerable knowledge in the areas of converged building systems, enterprise integration, and the delivery of high-performance business value. MacGowan holds an honours degree from Queens University (Kingston, Ont.) in electrical engineering. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tony D’Alesio is director of sales (commercial, industrial, and healthcare markets—Canada)
at Philips Lighting. He has more than 20 years of experience in the digital controls domain and has worked on various industry technologies capable of delivering data connectivity and energy savings. D’Alesio is responsible for bringing new solutions to market so clients can achieve their smart building goals via connected lighting technologies. He can be reached at email@example.com.