At the upcoming Strategies in Light conference to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center, Russ Sharer, Vice President of Global Marketing for Fulham Co., Inc., supplier of lighting and LED components, will be speaking to lighting industry professionals and influencers about the need for true interoperability standards as the lighting market embraces smart lighting. Sharer’s presentation entitled “Standards are Meaningless (without Interoperability)” is scheduled for Thursday, March 2.
As Sharer notes, the smart lighting industry lags far behind other industries when it comes to commonly accepted communications standards for on/off, dimming, color tuning, remote monitoring, task tuning, remote and wireless controls, system alerts, and energy usage reporting. In other industries, accepted, open standards have had a dramatic positive effect on market growth. Consider, for example, the impact of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, both well-documented and well-understood standards that assure product compatibility and interoperability. Lighting control standards, such as ZigBee, DALI (the Digital Addressable Lighting Interface), and Thread are becoming more commonplace but don’t guarantee end users can buy lighting components from multiple vendors and operate them with a common control system. As a result, interoperability is only assured if you standardize on a single vendor.
“LED systems can be controlled in any number of ways, but there is no standardized means of mixing vendors,” Sharer said. “End users want to create multivendor lighting systems that use a common language, but as yet there are no established standards that guarantee compatibility for lighting control.”
The need for interoperable lighting control systems is becoming more urgent with the growing adoption of related applications and standards. For example, the Internet of Things (IoT) is enabling IP-based control of networked devices and components. In turn, IoT is driving demand for centralized network control of devices, including lighting, for applications such as automated building management. Wireless networking standards such as 802.11ac are being adopted for in-home systems management, including home security, climate control, and remote lighting control. Power over Ethernet (PoE) also is becoming popular for new construction and applications such as retail lighting, where lighting is frequently moved. All of these standards are well defined so they can be incorporated into a central control system.
“As smart lighting continues to evolve, interoperability of controls has become more important,” said Sharer. “The lighting industry is going to see more demand for lighting standards-compliance, interoperability testing, and certification procedures for both new and retrofit products. And customers are going to shop for standards-certified products that are guaranteed to be compatible with new smart lighting platforms. Those lighting vendors that will prosper in the future are the ones that embrace standards and promote product interoperability.”
Fulham Co., Inc. is a leading global provider of intelligent, socially-conscious sustainable commercial lighting components and electronics for use in commercial general lighting, parking structure, signage, horticultural, UV and other applications. The company develops and manufactures a variety of award-winning LED and emergency products, as well as legacy products across multiple lighting platforms. Fulham sells its lighting solutions worldwide through original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and electrical equipment distribution channels. Headquartered in Hawthorne, Calif., the company has sales and/or manufacturing facilities in the Netherlands, China, India and the UAE. For more information, visit www.fulham.com.