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    Lightfair 2018: A great stomping ground for lighting geeks

    May 1, 2018


    This will be my tenth Lightfair. I’ve been attending this lighting conference since 2009 when everybody was talking about LEDs and the only electronic discussions happening in some of the booths were around electronic ballasts acting friendly with an old 1962 lamp.

    Lightfair 2018: a great stomping ground for lighting geeks

    At best there were some caps and inductors here and there in the so-called E-Ballast, but nobody cared or had a clue what they were. I’m glad I stuck around and got be at the core of the lighting revolution that was about to happen. Soon after, it all started with power supply “drivers” with steady current output and some royal blue phosphor dyes that produce some light but consumed less power. I remember how funny we looked with our photometric studies done to accompany new LED products that didn’t even reached 0.5 foot-candle next to the pole and at twice the cost of the other options that included a forward-through shinny “reflector” that could light up the 4th neighbor with un-useful light.


    A humble start but what a great technology enabler we had, that helped to push me at the fore front of the smart city and smart building discussions.


    IoT (Internet of thing)

    Are you attending LFI this year? Here’s a sneak preview at some new trends or technologies you might want to see and learn more about in Chicago. Talking about our “things” … the Internet of Things? Yep our industry is “in” now since we have platforms, sensors and network solutions that provide us the foundation to be part of it. Not only, are we part of it, but to be a leader in the lighting industry since luminaires are real estate already installed everywhere! Think about it, how can a smart building or a smart city deploy sensors that will help them to understand the traffic flow to optimise urban mobility? What about the pedestrian street-crossing path to get ZERO traffic deaths on downtown streets? Once the citizen has reached the building, how about optimising room occupancy with links to your outlook agenda? That would be easy to do with hardware that’s been installed somewhere.


    This year you will be able to see products and systems that include sensors that connect to network and link to database. These also enable parties to use the data that will maximise business/public entities, passive revenues, and mostly heighten the citizens/tourists experience.


    Human-centric lighting experience

    Lighting geeks indoor hockey

    Talking about citizens, tourists and end-users: Everything now is about the experience. Like when you’re at a hockey game, and there’s just as much to see around the ice as there is on the ice. Big screen replay, on ice projections, live music in the stands, great restaurants… Now that I think about it, and with LFI taking place in Chicago this year, don’t ask Black Hawks fans about their hockey experience this year. Back to lighting, we are not different, and we bring a lot to the experience! Think about that new restaurant where you had a quick lunch or a cozy dinner with your wife. Restaurant owner can create 2 different types of ambiances thanks to tunable white that can go from cool white to warm white. And what about that iconic bridge that you crossed-over while going back home, that’s lit with the Golden State colors after that final playoff win? It is hard to get lost with these dynamic illuminated buildings and structures in cities?

    Some manufacturers will create booths sections with controllable tunable white to show visitors a human-centric experience and other booths will even rely on virtual reality (VR) to demonstrate how different tunable white scenes would look like in a school class room or how dynamic colorful architectural lighting would look on an iconic bridge at night.


    Indoor Positioning System

    Lighting geeks indoor positioning system

    What about when you’re indoor? Do you ever get lost in a store or at a tradeshow? You will undoubtedly top your 10,000-foot steps on your Fitbit or smartwatch at LFI to cover your must-see check list, but soon it won’t be the case when shopping or doing your grocery, because of lighting! Indoor positioning systems can guide you to your final indoor destination or to all your grocery store app items list! Get your list in your app and you’ll be guided to every single item and be informed of the rebates of the week. An IPS system is part of what is referred as Visual Lighting Communication technology that can get you beyond positioning and even securely connect you to the internet. As for positioning, light communication can also be combined with Bluetooth Low Energy, to cover areas where light can’t be used.


    Talking about Bluetooth, our good old friend, Bluetooth, is now talking mesh network. Have you heard of it? You might see more network lighting system based on that technology at LFI, as well as more ZigBee 3.0 “open” system, providing us with a more IoT friendly tool. Let’s see who will cheer for ZigBee and who will have changed camps for the new promising Bluetooth mesh based on Bluetooth low energy protocol.


    Added Value and beyond lighting services.

    Softview LED parking garage luminaire comfort

    With new, even more open and energy efficient network options, I wonder what kind of beyond added value features or services we will see this year? With all that data collected, there must be something we can do with it? How can we help these self-driven cars to become safer? Or in a parking garage, how can lighting help guide the drivers to their pre-paid parking spot? Once in the office can the ambient light follow daylight colors to maximise my circadian rhythm? I sure wish I already had that installed in my office, so I could simulate a nice energizing sunny day to finish my blog article before 5PM on this rainy Friday afternoon.


    I’m totally excited about Lightfair. Yes, I know it’s ironic how at one point in time, I said that I didn’t care about lighting, I’m just an EE electronic geek that happens to be sitting in an office at lighting company. You know that photon won’t change, there’s not much to innovate here. But these days are long gone, and I’m proud to say, “I AM A LIGHTING GEEK!”


    I can’t wait to read what you have to say on new trends and techy stuff or to chat with all of you at #LFI2018! So much to discuss when we think about the future of lighting, smart poles, LIFI, plug and play network system for offices, Smart City sensors enabled by new IoT platforms such as the SR (sensor ready) platform.


    I’ll be at the Philips Lighting booth #1402, looking forward to connecting on these topics or what ever else lighting means to you. See you there.


    Martin Mercier
    Martin Mercier

    Post tags

    human centric lighting, indoor positioning system, internet of things, iot, lifi, lightfair 2018, lighting geek, smart city, smart city sensors, smart poles

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