Connectivity is critical to smart lighting. But you don’t need to lose sleep over it!

Connectivity: The first step towards making smart lighting "smart"?

Connectivity enhances a building’s responsiveness to internal changes as well as its resilience to external challenges. Today, high-performing smart buildings respond to a myriad of internal stimuli. These range from changes in lighting, temperature, ventilation, and occupancy levels to IT data requirements and the operational technology that controls elevators and security apparatus. At the same time, buildings must be able to respond to external events such as weather or earthquake warnings, or signals from the electric grid.

The digitization of lights has considerably accelerated the development and adoption of smart lighting. And their omnipresence naturally lends them to be the eyes and ears of a building. The Boston Consulting Group predicts about 25 percent of all luminaires will be "smart" by 2020.

By embedding sensors into lighting fixtures and connecting them to the cloud, organizations can collect vast volumes of valuable information. These sensors accumulate and communicate real-time data, transmitting it through routers, gateways, nodes, and edge computers, to the cloud, and enabling high-level communications with other systems or buildings.

In turn, data analysis allows facility managers to intelligently respond, refine, and improve building performance. They can leverage these insights to improve energy efficiency, reduce maintenance costs and enhance comfort and security for building occupants.

Traditionally, Arm technology has been located at the heart of these vital sensor and gateway technologies in the form of a micro-controller, a type of semiconductor chip. Arm now provides all the necessary building blocks for a connected, secure, and future-proof smart lighting system with an IoT platform for the creation, connection and management of smart lighting end-points.

Simplifying smart lighting connectivity

Arm considered connectivity when designing solutions that address key requirements in a smart lighting topography, and in particular to simplify the development and deployment of smart lighting at an enterprise/commercial scale.

Connectivity Abstraction

Your choice of connectivity protocol may depend on several factors – power consumption, required range and accuracy, front-haul and back-haul bandwidth, and received signal strength, to name a few. Mbed enables any connectivity option for any device including 6LoWPAN, Bluetooth Low Energy, Thread, WiFi, NFC, RFID, LPWA, cellular and Ethernet.

Mbed abstracts these protocols and offers one set of APIs that allows you to work with a lean team of embedded hardware and firmware engineers to build applications in the cloud and on the endpoint via the same APIs, regardless of the connectivity option. This means you can focus on your high-value differentiators – building your end-user applications.

As an example, we estimate that software development effort for a new BLE-mesh oriented lighting module using Mbed would be at least 60 percent less than developing from a standalone chipset + embedded RTOS + security/device management solution.

Arm Mbed Cloud graphic

Gateways

Gateways play a critical role in IoT networks by acting as a bridge between local wired and wirelessly connected devices, for both IP and non-IP based devices, and in many cases running local applications to control devices. Enterprises deploying gateways with Mbed Edge benefit from high uptime and the ability to recover quickly from hardware failure through rich gateway management capabilities.

Secure access during commissioning

Mbed’s secure device access functionality lets you give specific users permissions to access and manipulate deployed IoT devices. Once authorization has been provided by Mbed Cloud, service technicians can connect to IoT devices using a mobile application. You can give each group of users different levels of access to the device, so for example, the device user has a different level of access compared to the service company technician or the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) technician.

Outdoor lighting

Read an example of how you can get started with a private LoRaWAN network and even do firmware updates over the air, despite constrained data rates.

Further, following the recent Stream Technologies acquisition, the Mbed IoT solution provides seamless connectivity management across cellular, satellite and LPWAN through a single user interface.

Integrated connectivity graphic Arm

Conclusion

There is no better method of collecting data about a building and its occupants than leveraging a smart lighting grid. And connectivity is what makes smart lighting “smart”.

However, connectivity doesn’t need to be complicated. Mbed abstracts out the complexities of the various underlying protocols and offers one set of APIs that allows you to focus on your high-value differentiators – building your end-user applications.

To find out more about Arm’s vision for connected lighting, visit our smart lighting page.

Smart lighting page

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