This piece was originally published in the February 2018 issue of electroindustry.
Donald J. Hendler, CEO, Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.
In the early days of personal computers, a familiar quote circled: “If cars advanced at the rate of personal computers, they would get 1,000 miles per gallon and cost $25.” While this is a humorous exaggeration, it nonetheless highlighted the astounding rate of advancement in solid state technology. In 2018, we find ourselves in a similar situation with solid state lighting and controls.
Just as in the computing realm, light-emitting diode (LED) technology continues to make great advances in capability and efficiency that would have been unheard of in the past. Similarly, thanks to the rapid development and propagation of wireless protocols and cloud technology, controls now perform advanced functions—easily programmed by the installer using a smartphone or tablet—that previously involved cost and complexity. The convergence of these technologies, “intelligent lighting,” holds the promise to collectively compound the gains they provide individually.
Merging lighting and controls, and the simplicity and ease of use it entails, lowers the barrier to adopting high performance lighting and will help us realize meaningful contributions to energy efficiency, performance, and productivity that intelligent lighting can offer. The broader adoption of intelligent lighting creates the foundation for further convergence in the built environment. Data gathered by individual luminaires will contribute to the efficient use and performance of HVAC and other building systems. This same information supports business efficiency through the ability to analyze space utilization, customer traffic patterns, and other facility use metrics.
While the promise of the ultimate capabilities of intelligent lighting may seem far off, reflect for a moment on the opening quote. These possibilities do not seem nearly speculative or distant. Working together, our industry can, should, and will bring about this innovation.