Kevin Stubbs FSLL, Technical Manager at Llumarlite, asks the question that we should all know the answer to.
What is the IoT/IoA?
The Internet of Things (AKA the Internet of All) is the theoretical connecting of all “Things” – in the same way as you got a digital clock (and a few years later a calculator!) in every pen, ruler, key fob or advertising handout etc that you got in the 1980’s, you can now theoretically connect anything to the internet, either hard wired or wirelessly.
As in the 80’s you didn’t always need to know the time whenever you wrote to somebody or drew a line – you just could. Today you may not always need to connect them to the internet either, you just can.
Why ‘connect’ my device or system?
There are many potential benefits:
Yes, really. You can. Your job is to decide if you should?
Again, there are many clever ways to share information, but we all know that most of us don’t need to turn our heating on or off when we are not at home, or change the temperature, unless we are only home at odd times (perhaps it would suit a holiday home?) – as the time clock and thermostat are already quite capable of balancing energy saving with comfort.
Should you ‘connect’ your lighting?
Work out what you need from your lighting? Whether local independent controls or system control.
Enormous potential benefits to lighting applications
What may I not have thought of?
To quote Nanny McPhee, a fictional but wise character – I wonder, was the ‘I’ she spoke about the IoT or Power over Ethernet (PoE)?
“There is something you should understand about the way I work. When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go.”
So, use it if you need it.
Unused functions, updates, ongoing rental costs, shared responsibilities and obligations for safety, through life security, support availability and maintenance complexity are all worries that should be considered when thinking about the unintended potential legacy issues and wonders that connectivity may bring.
The IoT is a vast subject with a lot of enormous potential benefits to lighting applications, but make sure the bits you want to use are practical, can be sensibly managed and properly maintained through life.
To help users, specifiers, installers and manufacturers understand the technology and make more informed decisions for their application the Lighting Industry Association (LIA) have just published a thought provoking interim guide with a useful glossary.