Intelligent lighting leverages the digital nature of LEDs which, as semiconductors, lend themselves readily to network connectivity, and ultimately transfer total control in the hands of the users.
More than a century after the introduction of incandescent lighting and half a century after the introduction of fluorescent lighting, solid-state light sources are revolutionising an increasing number of applications. Whereas the efficiency of conventional incandescent and fluorescent lights is limited by fundamental factors with no option of any further improvement, the efficiency of solid-state sources knew no boundaries and is flying through human creativity and imagination.
The high-efficiency of solid-state sources has already proved its worth on energy savings and environmental benefits in a number of applications. Now the time is right to explore the benefit associated with the controllability of their spectral power distribution, spatial distribution, colour temperature, temporal modulation, and polarisation properties. Such ‘SMART’ light sources can adjust to specific environments as well as requirements, a property that could result in tremendous benefits in lighting irrespective of its varied usage spectrum that include automobiles, transportation, communication, imaging, agriculture, and medicine, besides general lighting.
Last year, I met an industry expert while I was exploring what next in the lighting arena with ever evolving tiny wonders. He projected a miraculous change in lighting solutions waiting at the threshold, when he shared that efficiency, durability, and performance–the three key variables would be driving the new age intelligent products, which would then become responsive to the users’ call according to his/her mood, behaviour, alertness and routines.
Going forward, industry stakeholders are pushing the notion of tying everything from ceiling lamps to highway luminaires in to the web-based controls and networks that allow individuals and central managers to switch lights ‘on’ and ‘off’, adjust brightness, and even change colour and colour temperature, all from a remote point via a phone, gadget, computer, or other such connected devices.
These app-based products need no wire or switch, and can be controlled remotely through smart phones or tablets via Bluetooth, Infrared, WiFi, ZigBee, etc. The lighting products so developed are compatible and flexible when it comes to delivering customisation irrespective of it being a lighting solution for residential, commercial, industrial, or professional segments. The right light is a must to have developed an ambience to facilitate the occupants re-energise, concentrate, behave and relax.
Take for instance, Philips’ Hue App which facilitates users with various such options. It allows playing with light choosing from 16 million colours to match with the mood. It lets the user customise to pick a favourite photo and re-live that special moment with splashes of light. The app also syncs lights with movies & music and helps create an ambience perfectly fits in the moment. These and many more such hues are just at the touch of a button.
Another app from ilumi helps set the day’s routine. It eases sleeping routine while facilitating waking up gently for a fresh start of the day and continues pouring in light matching the user’s mood at that point in time. It gets the light when and where needed. By gradually increasing the light intensity it makes awakening naturally with a Maui sunrise, offers candlelight while dining, and a simple shake turns it in a nightlight.
In short, these smart apps with endless possibilities respond aptly and help set the light that is optimal for a particular moment. The apps also help set the lights to be ‘ON’ at a pre-set time and welcome the user at home in the evening after he/she calls it a day, or can even set rooms to light-up at different times as per the need. Gradually, it turns off the lights in the night allowing the user to be in ‘no tension’ mode.
Owing to these developments, the perception towards lighting has altogether been changed. Over the years, it is not merely considered as a product but has evolved to become a service to be offered when and where needed! The smart lighting helps us reach optimised light level, with the help of efficient light source to maintain the best comfort level, well-suited to the purpose. All thanks to the technology giants who are busy devising ways to further fine tuning our lives, and are taking lighting beyond its traditional illumination milieu.
As a matter of fact, today’s LED technology has advanced so much so that it not only enhances architectural details, but also improves quality of life, particularly because of their improved luminous intensity, compared to the conventional sources i.e. incandescent bulbs and CFLs. What’s more, these smart LED lights come with the factor of adjusting the light’s emission angle according to the desired lighting effect. The never before attributes like these attracted most of the industry stakeholders alike who then got busy discovering further brilliance and anoint its glittering future.
This is rightly underscored by Shyam Sujan, Secretary General, Elcoma India, when he opines that day moves to night while we also shift from outdoor to indoor demanding visual accuracy, comfort and guidance to go on with our activities without making any serious promises. “The flexibility of our working hours, the demands by our complex tasks, the introduction and progress of information technology and a paperless office environment, the speed at which we travel, all ask for seamless illumination to ensure optimum performance,” he states.
Sujan goes on elaborating that like mobile phone revolution, in which continuous upgradation of the operating system and regular introduction of new applications have made the product very interesting and help creating new demand on regular basis; similar will be the future of lighting. “The advent of LED has transformed the way lighting was perceived with. LEDs, being versatile, can be used for any lighting applications irrespective of size and space. Also, unlike conventional light sources, LEDs have made easy felicitation of controls in the fittings to bring about an all new era of smart lighting,” he explains adding that Elcoma has prepared its ‘Vision 2018’ document wherein new concepts of smart lighting have been spelt out.
Soon after the government’s announcement of 100 smart cities, the industry has been readying itself to provide equally smart lighting. Vision 2018 is aimed at bringing forth a vision for these cities on new technologies that will be more versatile and user-friendly to provide not only fun but also effectiveness of LED lighting. “For now, the industry is busy creating concepts, developing sustainable designs, and then transforming them in to manufacturing and marketing of smart lighting in India. Moving in tandem, it can also create techno fun for users as LED lighting has proved its worth working with new applications of dimming, smart controls, colours, performance reporting etc,” describes Sujan.
Yoshiyuki Kato, Director–Lighting, Anchor Electricals Pvt Ltd – a Panasonic Group Company, believes that when it comes to smart lifestyle, it combines all the core elements of human convenience, safety and enhanced aesthetic appeal together. Moving ahead, the secondary aspects of the concept ‘smart’ include the attributes like power saving and products’ expanded lifecycles, of which LED offers both thus becoming a core element of smart living bringing convenience and comfort. “LED is expanding its presence as a light-source in the ever-evolving world of lighting. The ability of LED to light up the smallest corner of every space, coupled with its power-saving properties, makes it irresistible as an offering in any premise,” he reinstates.
In the words of Kato, being a key member of Panasonic Corporation’s Eco Solutions Company in India, Anchor has made a robust foray in the LED lighting business. Panasonic is the No. 1 LED lighting brand in Japan and the world’s third largest company offering a consortium of over 30,000 products under its LED portfolio. Of late, Anchor has introduced some of Panasonic LED’s trend setting products for various Indian spaces such as residences, commercial premises, hospitality, architecture, professional and retail.
Anchor has recently unveiled a unique projection light termed Spaceplayer that assists our end-users to enjoy simulated experience for the new space combining lighting and image projection. Supporting dynamic content this is one-of-a-kind of projection lights that combines colour and motion to bring attention to a space where images as well as text data can be displayed simultaneously. Besides, it has also introduced a colour changing LED Panel light that uses anti-glare diffuser emitting light that is soothing to the eyes. “Additionally, this LED is optimised for usage in challenging power conditions especially equipped with best-in-the-class surge protection of 2.5 kV versus the market standard of 1.5 kV as well as wide voltage operation range from 80-330V versus norm of 100-250V.
Echoes S Narayanan, Head, Commercial & International Operations, Fiem Industries Ltd, “The LED technology is reaching more areas, and is constantly improving its applications beyond general lighting. The next stage of LED lighting is smart connectivity, where the real challenge is to control them so as to make the devices communicate with each other. Energy saving is only the starting for prospective benefits available that will make the technology human centric, whereby proper control of wavelength and lighting quality can be derived through the usage of LEDs. There are many other applications available with LED, which play very active role for aiding quality thereby making the life easier for smart living.”
Fiem is constantly putting efforts in bringing out further innovative and user-friendly products that help improve smart living. The product portfolio so far includes LED emergency bulbs, Solar LED lantern, energy- efficient premium LED bulbs & retrofit tube lights, and LED streetlights with centrally-controlled monitoring system (CCMS). These apart, in the automotive sector, Fiem has developed LED-based automotive head lamps, tail lamps, winker lamps, projector lamps, daytime running lights (DRL) etc. for added road safety.
“Our team of designers and engineers are continuously working in the direction of developing further smart solutions in home automation, besides being busy devising some innovative products based on OLED. We have also developed IPIS System (Integrated Passenger Information System) with display and software for airport, metro, railways and buses,” says Narayanan sharing that at Fiem, the most recent in the line of smart living is its intelligent smart bulb, which can be connected with controller pod and power source.
“The intelligent bulb works through Bluetooth and shall be used with the iOS (Apple)/Android-based App in order to get paired with the controller. Another product launched in the recent past from Fiem’s bouquet is LED emergency bulb that won’t turn off during power outage. It looks similar to a normal light bulb and can be screwed or plugged in to the existing light sockets. The unique point is its inbuilt rechargeable battery that eventually gets recharged through electricity. Once fully charged, it can keep the space illuminated for four hours if there is power failure,” informs Narayanan adding that we believe in offering value for money products along with reliability and guarantee to our customers.
It’s aptly clear that the smartness incorporated in these new age lighting products aid on the smart living. No doubt LEDs are helping in exploring new horizons for commercial, residential or public spaces simply by going beyond the occupancy or photo-sensors in the lighting systems. While occupancy sensors–by using passive IR or RF technology–detects the occupancy of space and turns the lights on or off automatically; photo sensors help adjust the electric lighting based on the available daylight.
On this paradigm of almost seamless shift, those with a bit of difference would benefit for sure. As shares Kato, “The LED market in India is filled with high volume of Chinese goods that have a lackluster focus on the quality of light. Anchor has been at the fore-front in introducing advanced technologies to India and now with the powerful parent in the name of Panasonic, it will intensify its efforts further. India is far behind our global counterparts in terms of technology as well as norms.”
He stresses that Panasonic is eager to introduce some of its trendsetting technology in India through Anchor which will focus on offering optimized comfort, long-lasting brightness, safety of installation & operation when it comes to its new range of smart lighting in India. Panasonic Corporation’s safety standards are considered best-in-the-globe, with key impetus on creating eco-aware products and solutions. As Anchor expands the Panasonic LED product portfolio further, it will aid it to increase its presence in the Indian market as a lighting company as well, thereby supporting its existing strong business of power that includes switches & accessories, switchgear and wires & cables.
Anchor eyes capturing a majority market share in the organised lighting manufacturers market adhering to norms such as BIS as well as IEC wherein other unorganised or cheap Chinese imports do not have any such regulations. “The impetus will be on offering an optimum value-for-money LED product for every space, thereby enabling even the bucolic India to afford the said product and contribute to energy saving. We will be deploying the world-class LED technology from Panasonic Japan to facilitate customisation of lighting range suitable for the Indian terrain,” says Kato adding that the company will aggressively drive for reliability, safety of operation and longevity of life in the LED range for all spectrums of the socio-economic stratum in India.
Speaking about unique attributes of Fiem’s smart offering, Narayanan says, “Our intelligent smart bulb has special features like million colour combinations wherein colour can be adjusted or changed through remote control for many other applications such as playing games, lighting dance floor, playing music etc. These bulbs are user-friendly, where one can control the light output with dimmer being operated at varied 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% lux value. Further, the product is offered at a very competitive price with two years replacement warrantee. We expect that new age intelligent products will soon outsmart the conventional products, whereby we envisage opportunity which is there for quantum leap in future growth for Fiem.”
According to Narayanan, for all this, the credit goes to the ever evolving LED technology, which with every passing day, is becoming increasingly popular particularly because of it becoming more affordable with more competitive prices besides increasing awareness among public about the benefits. The thrust has come from the initiatives taken by the Government at the Centre for LED adoption at the national level. The projects shot thereby have put the LED on a growth trajectory that was never seen before following which the market is expected to witness robust growth in the coming years.
“The ongoing developments followed by technology in the pipeline clearly depict that the industry is in a mode of rapid transition,” says Narayanan adding that as per Elcoma’s Vision 2018, the LED market will touch Rs. 21.6 thousand crore by 2020. We are equipping ourselves with rapid expansion of infrastructure, enhancing capacity and updating our technology continuously. “This will help us to catch up the pace at which LED Lighting market dynamics are strolling.”
It won’t be wrong to mention that time is right for lighting automation, wherein lighting giants are not only presenting products, but services bundled with unique features. The incorporation of electronics in lighting to such an extent has invited a lot of white goods’ manufacturers to try their luck in a related but different field. While quite a few giants like Samsung, LG, Lumen, etc have already joined the bandwagon entering the fray; rest are awaiting at the threshold to enter. Though the market is seemingly crowded but each new entry would create its own space besides inducing marked upgradation in the technology and quality in the process. However, only those with quality electronics will stay for long innings.