Lighting major Osram has recently added Bluetooth to its product portfolio in order to boost its intelligent lighting solution. The company hopes that this addition will spark what has been lagging interest in its wireless lighting controls in Europe, a development that has fueled questions regarding the future of the company’s broader Internet of Things (IoT) scheme, Lightelligence. According to a report published recently, the Munich-based Osram has teamed with Krakow-based Bluetooth specialist Silvair to add HubSense, a Bluetooth controls and commissioning system to its existing portfolio of wireless lighting solutions.
Both the giants together noted that Bluetooth offers drastically simplified commissioning process and enhances the multiplicity of predefined lighting scenarios, and that it eliminates recommissioning costs and the need for engineering expertise. Favouring this, Osram’s senior product portfolio manager Hannes Wagner has been reported as saying, “European customers didn’t find Zigbee a user friendly wireless control tool owing to its complicated setup requirements when compared with Bluetooth. And therefore, Osram is hoping that HubSense can kickstart interest in wireless controls in the commercial sector, where smart lighting rebate programs do not exist as they do in the US.”
Wagner further added that Zigbee is not an independent tool, and requires gateways for establishing connectivity, which potential users can regard as a burden. Also, this can add cost and time to the installation and commissioning of the system. On the contrary, Bluetooth does not require gateways rather it is a technology that many potential users are already familiar with via their phones and other gadgets. Insisting to reduce the complexity, he noted, “With the easier-to-install Bluetooth, potential users are more likely to at least sample wireless controls in small single-room setting, which could in turn lead to wider deployment across an office or building.”
Meanwhile, the report suggests that Osram is not abandoning Zigbee. In fact, with its gateway, Zigbee can be a better fit with wireless systems that are also equipped with data-collecting sensors that send information back through the gateway to cloud-based data analytics systems via the Internet. While Bluetooth systems can be outfitted with gateways for those purposes, the gateways are not an inherent part of a typical HubSense deployment. Data collection and analysis has been a goal for many lighting companies like Osram that are trying to turn the lighting infrastructure into the backbone for IoT networks, and to monetize the data.