Lighting: where the ceiling meets the cloud

-March 15, 2016

This is the kind fodder for headlines you hope come your way! What’s happening is an announcement of collaboration between Cree and Cisco—sound interesting? It is. The gist is that together they will enable LEDs to be connected via Internet, yet customized for the facility or building involved. Naturally, they will save both energy and money while providing spaces given more to productivity than in the past.

Cree is bringing its SmartCast Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting platform with lights, light switches, and dimmers, and it is meeting Cisco’s Digital Ceiling framework— of course the lighting will spur greater adoption and deployment of that framework. In effect, the out-of-the-box lighting system connects to a secure building framework via business analytics so that the complete building can be commissioned at the same time, reducing complexity and saving a lot in the process. With this solution, there is no longer a need for data and high-voltage power connections as separate entities.

Source: Cree

Cree estimates that the savings will reach into the 70% range compared with other LED lights. Down the road, the system’s lighting may also be used to signal emergencies, for example, if used in schools where there is a security breach. Lights can flash, or change color, signaling a lockdown or an event such as an active fire. While the early installations are complete, the platform will be available in Q2 this year.

According to a recent Cisco white paper, Cisco’s Digital Ceiling is the next frontier in the Internet of Things (IoT). It accelerates digital transformation, expands IoT benefits throughout the facility, and brings together such networks as lighting, heating, IP video, sensors, and cooling.

We’ll look at this again when it becomes available for the masses. I guess what Cisco and Cree are saying, however, is that if you want to know where the IoT is headed, just look up.

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