General Lighting Future of technology LED wireless technology

New LiFi LED App Illuminates the Future of Shopping

While strolling the aisles of the Carrefour supermarket in Lille, France, supermarket shoppers may be unaware that they are able to participate in a technological revolution known as LiFi. The supermarket has installed an LED lighting system that beams promotional specials and location information directly to in-store consumers via their smartphones through VLC technology. Invisible to the human eye, the LEDs transmit a digital code via light waves and provide merchants with a viable, more accurate option than the Bluetooth-based beacons.

Beyond Illumination

The intent of the LiFi system is to assist and track consumers as they move throughout the retail establishment. The LED lighting system has the capacity to broadcast up to 10 gigabits per second. Carrefour executive Celine Martin asserts that the new technology will provide consumers with a more pleasant shopping experience, allowing them to find the promotions and products they desire, in a more efficient and effective manner. For instance, you would no longer need to search up and down for that particular brand of soda that grandma likes—now you can simply ask your phone which aisle to find it in.

The technology, developed by Philips, is a non-invasive and cost effective application. The LED system requires only 50% of the electricity that is used by traditional lighting systems. Each of the specially designed LiFi lamps broadcasts a unique, distinct code throughout the store. Consumers are informed of the LED system and are able to open an “app,” on their smartphone, then point their smartphone upward towards the overhead LED lighting. The LiFi system is then able to get a fix on their location, within an accuracy of three feet and can determine the direction the consumer is facing.

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Better Than Beacons

The LiFi LED lighting system is similar in nature to GPS-based maps and is comparable to WiFi based location systems, though location data through LiFi has proven to be more accurate than WiFi. Most retailers have been employing Bluetooth beacons as a less expensive option to investigate and engage a trial run of similar type systems, rather than invest in full the cost and labor required to replace an existing in-store lighting system. However, replacing the lighting system with LED would still provide the same long term ROI due to their increased efficiency. Additionally, the beacons require users’ phones to have Bluetooth capabilities turned on and be compatible with the latest Bluetooth standard.

Davies Murphy Group technology analyst, Chris Green believes that merchants should consider the LiFi LED lighting system as a long-term investment, which provides them more beneficial options as opposed to the beacon system. While they may be cheaper, to implement a Bluetooth beacon system with a similar level of accuracy would require a multitude of beacons strategically situated throughout the establishment and support current Bluetooth technology.

Still not convinced the use of VLC is the coolest thing since sliced bread? Do you think it would make your shopping experience more convenient? Worried about invasions of privacy? Watch the video and tell us what you think!

General Lighting Future of technology LED

DOE’s LED Report Highlights A Missed Opportunity

The US Department of Energy has recently released an update to its 2013 report “Adaptation of LEDs in Common Lighting Applications,” which apprises the scientific community on some of the developments in the applications discussed in the original report. The original report focused on the adoption of LED technology in 10 common applications for general lighting, as well as the projected savings for full market penetration of LEDs.

A More Efficient State of Being

The Department of Energy’s updated LED report states that the US would have saved up to 4896 trillion BTUs (tBTUs) of energy in 2014 if 10 out of 10 of these common applications had been converted from traditional lighting to SSL-based lighting. At 3% total penetration by LED lighting, the US was able to save 143 tBTUs, which translates to a total of $1.4 billion in saved energy costs. Compared to 71 tBTUs ($675 Million) saved in 2013, the trend is certainly a positive one. Most of these conversions were A-lamps, which do not offer the same energy saving opportunities as other forms of lighting. In response to these findings, the DOE has announced opportunities for funding into research on substituting SSL-based lighting in situations that would greatly increase the amount of energy saved per year.

Some of the most compelling data is in commercial applications for lighting, which typically use high/low bay and linear fixtures. These applications have not reached anywhere near their potential, currently at only 1.3% for linear fixtures and 2.2% for high/low-bay fixtures. The long hours and high lumen output requirements for these fixtures, if converted to SSL lighting, would represent a significant portion of the available energy savings in the US. If every commercial venue converted 100% of its lighting to LED, the DOE states the immediate energy savings would be up to 1165 tBTUs.

Elektrostandard LED light bulb- Anton Fomkin


The Only Way Forward

The price of LED lighting continues to decrease as developments in technology reduce production costs. Developments in smart lighting technology will also put LEDs in a favorable position on the market. As LED CRI improves to be more human friendly, and the initial price of conversion continues to go down, it has been predicted the DOE will be able report a steady increase in the number of BTUs the US saves each year. In some cases, linear fluorescent lighting with state-of-the-art ballasts remain the most frugal competition, but cannot compare with LED lamps and fixtures in long term ROI.

The DOE plans to provide researching funding opportunities in the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. A webinar was held on the July 30th to review the applications for LED and OLED projects. A second webinar is scheduled for August 21st.


General Lighting Fixtures Future of technology LED Technology

White LED Lighting Tunes In to Protect Precious Artwork

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The Warsaw National Museum in Poland has joined the ranks of art museums around the world who are choosing LED for their display lighting. Along with institutions such as the Louvre, the WNM has chosen to upgrade their fixtures to all LED luminaires with no exceptions.

The WNM is a safe haven for more than 800,000 historical works of art by Polish and European artists, with items dating back as far as the 8th century. These delicate pieces require precise conditions if they are to be maintained and preserved, including minimized exposure to light and UV rays. The directors of the WNM’s primary goals for the lighting upgrade were to employ state-of-the-art preservation techniques, bring out the best qualities of the pieces with the highest possible light quality, and reduce their carbon footprint by minimizing electrical energy use.

The museum has opted to use Zumtobel’s Arcos LED spotlights, which can be easily re-configured to suit any changes in the exhibits. The fixtures have been modified with Tunable White technology. Based on PI LED technology developed by Lumitech, co-marketed by Tridonic, the Tunable White technology allows LEDs to efficiently produce the full spectrum of white light via a combination of blue LEDs with green-tinted phosphor, red LEDs and blue LEDs. An integrated DALI (digitally addressable lighting interface) controller system can adjust the color temperature of the light as needed, or each lamp can be adjusted by hand.

The LED fixtures give curators an element of control they did not previously have. Fixtures can be individually adjusted to bring out the best of each piece, such as a warmer white light to bring out the golden undertones of a medieval painting. The WNM, unlike other museums, uses almost no natural light from the outside. The upgraded LED fixtures provide maximum illumination without the damaging effects of UV rays and, during certain hours, are operated by proximity sensors so that light exposure as well as energy use is minimized.

So far, the museum has renovated five main galleries, equating to a 40% reduction in energy use. The total reduction in energy load is expected to be from 110,000W down to 22,400W, representing a decrease of 80%. Developments in LED technology continue to make them the best energy efficient lighting option. With accoutrements like wireless controls and precision color rendering, it is likely that LED will continue to take over in applications such as museums where presentation is key.

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The Buzz on LED Lighting & Insect Attraction

When LED lights first became widely available, there was a lot of buzz centered around how these energy efficient lamps didn’t attract insects. However, as often happens with new technologies, misinformation abounds. The simple fact is LED lights do attract bugs, simply because insects are attracted to sources of light.

A Bug’s Favorite Color

A 2005 study conducted by the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Pakistan, found that 60%–70% of insects prefer light at the blue end of the spectrum. What about the others? Like humans, insects have their own preferences. An additional 18% chose white light, while 10% looked for yellow, and 2% preferred red. Ultraviolet (UV) light also attracts bugs which was source of the assumption that LEDs would not bring all the bugs to the yard—they emit very little UV light.

Why is it that LED lamps attract bugs? Quite simply, where there is light, there will be bugs. In addition, LED lamps typically emit light in the cool end of the color spectrum. The color temperatures of light bulbs is measured on the Kelvin absolute temperature scale. The greater the number, the cooler the light appears. LED lights—especially those with higher Kelvin ratings—produce a significant amount of blue light, thus making them more attractive to insects.

Into the Light

Good lighting, however, is an important part of an outdoor environment at night because lights provide safety while also allowing you to enjoy your outdoor living area well into the evening. Many proponents of LED lights claim that these lamps don’t attract as many bugs as other types of lighting. In a matter of speaking, this claim is correct as LED lamps do not attract as many insects as traditional CFL bulbs.
So what are homeowners supposed to do when purchasing porch lights for an outdoor living area? The answer is yellow bug lights. While yellow bug lights aren’t exactly an insect repellant, they do help keep insects away from your lighted outdoor activities at night. They work because insects have a difficult time seeing light in the yellow end of the spectrum. The good news is LED bug lights are now available, allowing you to save money while reducing insects in your backyard.

General Lighting Fixtures Future Future of technology Internet of Things IoT Technology wireless technology

Lighting Networks Could Make For a Wonderful Tomorrow

We are barreling head first into the next generation of the internet. After ecommerce, social media and the cloud, connecting everything is the obvious next step. The trend has been called the “Internet of Things”, or IoT. The connected devices can be as simple as sensors and security cameras or as complicated as vehicles and production machinery. Bosch Software Innovations expects before 2022 there will be 14 billion connected devices.

The Internet of Things

IoT refers to the network of objects embedded with electronics, software, sensors and the capability to connect which are able to exchange data. Generally, the capability is used to communicate with manufacturers, operators, or other devices. For instance, Ford, is working to create cars which are able to “sense” one another and their outside environments, thereby preventing collisions due to operator error.

The term “the Internet of Things” was coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton. It is expected that, as wireless technology  continues to advance, the interconnection of embedded devices will allow for automation in nearly all fields. In fact, the automation industry already depends heavily on IoT technology. New applications for IoT innovations are being developed every day, and it appears that lighting may play an important part thanks to VLC.

Visual Light Communication, or VLC, can best be explained with a metaphor: imagine using a flashlight to send a message using morse code. Turning the flashlight off and on at specific intervals expresses the message. VLC works much the same way, except that the light transmits the message via flickers which occur so quickly, our eyes can not perceive them.

Given that our cities, homes, cars and cell phones are brimming with usable light, it makes sense that researchers would seek a way to combine efficient lighting technologies with the communication requirements of an IoT world. Streetlights can be fitted with sensors which are able to monitor urban environments. With their height and numbers, streetlights could be highly effective at detecting air particulates and providing important ecological data about the quality of a city’s air.

Have you ever had trouble finding a parking space in the city? Streetlights could help with that problem, too. Siemens has developed a system whereby sensors would detect cars, motorbikes or even motorcycles that are parked illegally and send an automatic signal to the authorities. Now, pair that same technology with a smartphone app and you have a system that can tell you where the open parking spots are and if they are even big enough for your car.

In Newark Airport, a wireless network of lights has already been implemented which is able to monitor the movement of people and vehicles. This enables the airport to observe traffic and travel patterns, predict outages or delays with higher accuracy, and send marketing promotions. Mostly, the system is used for security and maintenance purposes. Apparently it’s still not good enough to replace the lengthy pat-downs at security, though.

IoT and VLC have more attractive, less Big Brother type applications as well. The Philips Hue LED bulb is capable of communicating with your television set. Once synced to your TV, the bulbs will flash, pulse, dim or change color in accordance with what is happening onscreen. Imagine watching that action film on a big screen, with surround sound, and bright flashes of light every time something explodes on screen. Who needs movie tickets when you have an immersive theater at home?