Acuity Brands - Branded Feature

Expanding the boundaries of lighting - The Evolution of Lighting as a Platform

Acuity Brands

By Sarah Golish, SVP Marketing, Acuity Brands Lighting

Light has the capability to transform and improve spaces where we live, work and play. It's this amazing possibility that drives Acuity Brands to seek new and innovative lighting technologies for our customers. As LEDs made possible digital lighting, we saw the opportunity to make lighting intelligent and more connected, expanding lighting's role from simply illuminating a space to establishing it as a foundational platform. That lighting platform can now network to building and facility systems, as well as power, house and support the burgeoning amount of IoT devices. The key to providing new lighting solutions is through a relentless focus on innovation, which I define as the curiosity and willingness to change or solve a problem by making and developing new products and solutions.

Our corporate commitment and vision of Expanding the boundaries of lightingTM means using innovative processes to develop advanced LED luminaires and controls. New lighting technologies allow us to provide lighting that reduces glare and aids in visual comfort for educational and office applications or enhances the aesthetics of a meeting or gathering space using varied architectural lighting. Digital and networked control products provide zoned lighting control for color tuning or creating task-specific/function light areas.

These innovations, the LEDs, controls and other digital technologies, are what we consider as foundational in supporting new and connected IoT solutions. One of the ways we do this is by embedding lighting with the digital technologies to form a platform for location-aware service. We call this medium bandwidth network a sensory network.

This sensory network has Bluetooth® and Visible Light Communications (VLC) enabled gateways/controllers strategically placed around a building or facility to send and receive data collected throughout the space for further analysis and evaluation. The installed lighting network provides the bandwidth needed to connect with other building systems, contributing to energy savings that customers can use as a funding mechanism for additional lighting renovations and IoT projects. Additionally, we also apply our deep experience with lighting and controls to bring this technology to scale, opening applicability across verticals such as retail, warehouses, manufacturing and healthcare.

Now that digitally connected lighting can form an IoT platform, we can connect with building management, refrigeration, and other systems/devices to gather data that informs facility teams where and how to improve operations with the biggest impact. Our innovations provide analytics and insights from tags and sensors, which is delivered through the lighting network to help improve and solve for challenging situations in business operations.

How does the sensory network work across industries and verticals?

In healthcare facilities, for example, a sensory network can be used to track valuable and time-sensitive equipment such as defibrillators, wheelchairs or other critical equipment. In several airports, we are working to create navigation applications that help customers navigate more efficiently to their gates or find dining and shopping destinations throughout the airport. In the industrial space, critical assets can be tracked and operational flow in a manufacturing process can be monitored. In addition, we are actively engaged with several retailers in transforming their store operations through real-time technologies that improve associate efficiency and support ship-from-store and buy online/pickup at store services.

By creating solutions for retailers that deliver business insights from the connected lighting network, renovation investments become-technology investments and have the capacity to serve the business well into the future as highlighted in the recent Walgreens News that covers their first year of partnering with Microsoft on the "future of healthcare" initiative.

How do we imagine this future of lighting? Acuity Brands responds by listening to the needs of customers who seek to improve the experience of their customers and employees/staff. Download the Navigant white paper to learn more about creating intelligent, connected buildings with lighting as a foundational IoT platform.

Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »