Networks and Lighting Standards – Follow Up – One Year later

Advanced lighting Controls

 

Paul Eitmant

Last year we posted an article, “Wi-Fi Expansion – Look to the Future”. I wanted to explain the different types of wireless technology in our industry and the standards they conform to.

Well, after all this time we are still discussing which protocol will be the long-term winner. It seems closed protocols are still in use, but the need remains for an open protocol (Wi-Fi base).

I came across this article, written by Doug Changler, which captures the tone of current conversations concerning this subject. 

In a recent article in LEDs Magazine, Tanuj Mohan, founder and chief technology officer of Enlighted, Sunnyvale, Calif., a manufacturer of smart sensors and controls, looks at the existing options for wireless protocols and finds all of them lacking. The need for an open standard that supports advanced applications that would really make use of the Internet of Things hasn’t yet been satisfied by making changes to legacy protocols developed for simpler network functions. The prevailing option, ZigBee, a low-power mesh network standard, as well as most of the alternatives, were developed for small home-scale applications and face scalability problems when applied to larger commercial IoT networks, Mohan said.

Years ago, when new advanced lighting control systems with limited functionality were introduced, ZigBee filled the void for a standard. Fast-forward to today, though, and ZigBee has quickly grown obsolete for advanced lighting controls. It now in fact has become the source of bottlenecks, choking off the greatest source of value from modern enterprise IoT applications – all the data these applications produce.

Mohan expects a wireless networking standard for industrial and enterprise IoT applications, and specifically for lighting controls and smart building systems, to emerge in the next couple of years, and voices hope that it will include open application programming interfaces (APIs) to provide a platform for broader interoperability and innovation. “Deploying systems that have robust and open APIs will ensure that all your systems can work together, which ultimately is what is important,” he said.

As stated in our article last year, we came to same conclusion: Wi-Fi flexibility and the capability for Smartphone apps are viewed as the most likely contender for the home network backbone.

Mohan went on the state, “ZigBee was also developed and is maintained by a consortium that requires paid membership. Yet history has shown that the best way to drive technology innovation is through standards developed by organizations committed to an open process. Protocols that have enabled the Internet and that have stood the test of time, such as TCP/IP, for example, were developed through an open process.”

What is the solution? “The shortcomings of ZigBee make it unacceptable for advanced lighting controls or other enterprise IoT applications. The release of ZigBee 3.0 is unlikely to solve all of its issues. Yet a wireless networking standard for industrial and enterprise IoT applications, and specifically for lighting controls and smart building systems, will emerge within the next couple of years.”

Bottom line we need to open mind when selecting the lighting controls products that meet the needs to bean open process that is growing though out the marketplace. 

We are moving forward, but we are not breaking any speed records moving to this solution.

Read more from Paul Eitmant in CEW:
– A New Player in the Canadian Gray Market
– The Cost of Bad Leaders
– NAFTA Still a Good Show
– On Being an Effective Coach
– The Biggest Risks to Canada’s Economy In 2015 and Beyond
– How Healthy is Your Business?
– Social Media: Is It the Future for the Electrical Industry?
– Customer Service: A Key to Success
– The Right Price to Get the Order — the Last Look
– The Good Old Boys Club “Changing of the Guard”
– Who’s Next Within North America’s Electrical Distributor Channel?
– Generation Y – Next Generation – Never to old to Learn!
– LEDs: the Fastest Growing Product/Market for 2015


 

Paul Eitmant is President and CEO of IP Group International, which serves the needs of business-to-business enterprises in over 30 countries worldwide by adding specialized expertise to the business planning and implementation process; Tel: 480.488.5646; paulipgroup@cox.net.

 

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