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The Future of Lighting Controls

Posted: Dec 30 | Author: Sinjin Anterola | Category: Controls

  • We have had many customers be skeptical about lighting controls until they understand how they work and why. We’ve been asked… Can the government can really spy on us through lighting controls? Do they really help save energy and money? What is the point of all the machines talking to one another?  One word.  Efficiency.  

Big Brother isn’t watching. I suppose can’t exactly attest to that, but I can tell you that this isn’t the intent. Let me take a couple of steps back.  Since the beginning of time, we have always been in pursuit of the next best solution. Example:  The light bulb was created.  Since then engineers, scientists, and generally, those who enjoy tinkering with electricity have evolved the, now, simplistic design of said light bulb to a multitude of various methods of producing light.

Fast forward now from 1879, when Edison filed his patent, 137 years.  Present day.  LEDs are abundant and energy conservation is alive and well.  The reality is that the efficiency for lighting is better than it’s ever been, but as I said, we strive for improvement.  We are well past the point of just saving electricity.  We are embarking on a very interesting journey because I believe we have finally come to a point in our society that we trust our computers and the information that they generate and we are utilizing this technology to create solutions.      

IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) - This is a fancy acronym that basically alludes to the concept that, moving forward, machines will generate data and send them to other machines to process and, in turn, do something with this collected data.  This does happen now, but the IIOT is on a much larger scale. 

Entire cities will be interconnected.

Ok, at this point we are at a fork.  This is the part where you go screaming for your life, put on your tin foil hat, lock yourself in your bomb shelter, and start chipping away at your reserve supplies or… you could decide that this is somewhat intriguing and listen for just a minute longer. What is the point of all the machines talking to one another?  One word.  Efficiency.  We have proven the value of energy efficiency, but there are other avenues that have yet to be explored.

Time.  If we are efficient with our time, we have the ability to be more productive.  This translates heavily into the IIOT.  Here are a few examples:

  • Parking detection.  What if there was a way for your phone to tell you where the nearest available parking spot was on the block you were on or when your meter was about to run out?
  • Traffic analytics. What if there was a way to count the vehicular and foot traffic in an intersection to optimize the traffic lights and pedestrian crossings?
  • Gunshot and emergency detection.  What if there was a way that your street lights could guide an emergency vehicle to the scene of a crime or accident

What I’m providing you is just a sliver of some of the concepts and technologies that are already either developed or being developed.  Other technologies that exist include: city wide wi-fi, building occupancy for shooter/hostage situations in schools, digital advertising to smart phones in stores to provide coupons and information on sale items.  For all the conspiracy theorists out there, all manufactures and developers cannot have any sort of facial, retinal, or identity recognition technologies in their products!

In short, technology and its capabilities are well on the rise and Northwest Edison can help answer the questions you may have about controls. Yes, we install the latest and greatest in lighting technology, but we’re also on the forefront of installing the infrastructure for the examples above. So why not get started now? Give us a call 425.806.9200