20 Nov 2015
Internet of Things to Revolutionise the Lighting Market
- Photo: The Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Autumn 2015)
- Photo: Couch said the IoT technology could help save up to 80% of lighting systems’ energy
- Photo: Routledge: Lighting system is of the capability to integrate with other IoT applications.
- Photo: Kreuter: Cyber security is one of the challenges for the IoT industry to overcome.
One of the most important developments to the lighting industry is that the cities of the future would become smarter on the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is a technology to connect different devices at home and beyond by a smart platform, including the lighting apparatus, other installed appliances as well as mobile devices. Enhanced convenience and smarter living, as well as energy saving, are among the major benefits to the users.
At “The Internet of Things: Lighting’s Next Revolution”, a seminar held on 27 October 2015 at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair, speakers suggested IoT would become a major stimulus for market demand in the future, while also creating a number of challenges for industry players.
Services key to generating revenue
By making use of the IoT technology, smart lighting systems are predicted to make US$550 billion in software and services revenue for the industry by the year of 2019, as compared to the mere US$50 billion revenue generated from hardware sales, according to John Couch, the Vice President of Gooee. Speaking at the seminar, Couch explained that the software and services for managing the ‘big data’ collected from the connected devices were among the keys to create value for the users, so would come to account for a larger proportion of the industry’s overall revenue.
Couch said the IoT technology connecting different lighting devices could help reduce energy consumption by up to 80%. This can be achieved by a smart network equipped with built-in sensors and cloud computing. The system makes use of the ‘big data’ collected by the sensors to control the lighting hardware infrastructure of the premises, thus, achieving energy saving, as well as other smart benefits. To enable the system to work in practice, however, a communication protocol is among the keys to enable the devices to communicate with each other, and to enable the data to be transmitted and be analysed in real-time basis.
Optimism and challenges
The positive outlook for the smart lighting market was echoed by Gordon Routledge, Publisher of Lux Review. Routledge told the seminar audience that daily used devices such as lighting, security system, fire detection, telephone items and so on, would become more intelligent, and therefore the home would become smarter in the future. In particular to lighting, the easiness of implementation of advanced controls would mean that smart lighting system could let users realise the benefits of smart systems conveniently. As such lighting system was of the capability to integrate with other applications, this would offer an ideal entry point for industry players to explore other IoT opportunities.
But there are still a number of challenges for the industry to overcome when exploring the smart lighting/IoT market. Beat Kreuter of DEKRA Testing and Certification, another speaker at the seminar, pointed out that cyber security was among the key issues for the smart lighting sector to overcome, as some current smart systems were vulnerable to hackers.
To protect user privacy and strengthen security, Kreuter said that industry players had to take care of the potential threats when considering their IoT applications, such as those related to insufficient authentication, lack of transport encryption, and insecure web, cloud and mobile interfaces. He urged industry players to undertake appropriate security risk assessment on their systems and products. This would include the enhancement of the security testing on communication ports making use of Zigbee, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and other solutions, as well as strengthening abuse testing focused on unexpected inputs to the products.
(Remark: For more details about the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair held in October 2015, please see “Smart Lighting to Shine in 2016: the Autumn 2015 Hong Kong Lighting Fair Survey”)
 Gooee is a new technology venture focusing on IoT applications to lighting systems, as well as design, engineering and supply of hardware, software and data management components across the LED lighting value chain.