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How the right lighting infrastructure will let you scale into the future – and keep your supplier options open

 

Lighting used to be something you didn’t notice – as long as it worked. In this era of connectivity, however, it’s assumed new prominence.

City planners, operations managers, designers, and others who take lighting seriously have realized it makes sense to maximize lighting infrastructure, combining it with sensors and software applications to make it part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart lighting can better enhance comfort, save energy, and enable operational excellence. No wonder the market for smart lighting applications is growing at a steady clip.

 

Key to smart lighting’s expanding profile is how crucial it can be to the smart city: an urban area that uses IoT tech to gather data that city managers can then use to improve quality of life. Although the smart city concept has spread like wildfire, not every municipality has a clear picture of how to realize it. What innovations should a city put into practice? How will they integrate into the infrastructure and planning schema that already exist?

 

The variety of the technology on the market doesn’t make things any easier. Since there are few widely-accepted international standards for smart city tech, each manufacturer has tended to develop its own solutions, resulting in incompatible systems. This has hampered the spread of connectivity and meant that innovations have been unable to build on each other to expand lighting’s possibilities.

 

What a city needs is a smart lighting platform that can scale; that lends itself to immediate use but will remain “future-proof"; and that relieves the city of the need to use just one supplier. Ledification, which is growing more popular in outdoor lighting, makes these needs even more acute. One of the first questions a city that’s contemplating switching its public lighting over to LED should ask itself is how its new LED system will be able to incorporate future innovations.

 

Long-term lighting partners need to be able to answer that question. A city needs to know that the piece of hardware it purchases will remain up to date, and in use, for decades.

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A partnership for a connected future

 

That’s where Signify's SR Partner Program comes in, offering an open innovation platform that uses standardized components and technologies to enable scalable smart city applications across the globe, no matter their manufacturer. The program’s open ecosystem allows OEM’s to develop their own solutions on the basis of a framework that ensures compatibility.

 

To join the partnership, a company applies to Signify. Once the OEM is part of the SR program, Signify provides it with a specification document and a testing tool with which it can verify the new equipment that it makes before submitting it. After internal testing, the OEM can ask Signify to mark this as an SR-certified component and include it on its published list.

 

Besides functioning as a standard for connected lighting devices, the Signify SR platform rests on three building blocks (so far). They were designed to accelerate the creation of smart city lighting networks – they’re easy to configure and integrate, intelligent, widely compatible, and future-proof.

 

The first of these building blocks is the SR driver, which integrates directly into luminaires, preparing their transformation into connected light points. The driver includes power supply, diagnostics and metering as standard features and makes luminaires compatible with any SR-certified components, without the need for additional external components.

 

The second building block is the SR connector. This device integrates into a luminaire, functioning much the same way as a USB slot. It allows all manner of SR-certified sensors, controllers, and other modules to attach to the luminaire with ease; it’s plug and play. The unobtrusive and waterproof socket itself connects to the luminaire in a straightforward way, its mere three wires inserting into slots in the driver.

 

The third of these blocks are, collectively, the SR certified nodes, which can act as transmitters for a wide range of applications, such as those that detect presence and allow easy adjustability of light levels. The nodes can also enable connection and facilitate communication with a light management system or software such as Interact City.

 

A new innovation in this latter category is the EasyAir outdoor module, which functions as a stand-alone controller when plugged into the socket connector. Thanks to a GPS receiver, which determines location, date and time, it lets users set up a highly accurate dimming schedule and automatically calculates when a luminaire should switch on or off. You can configure the module using a smartphone app, which communicates with it via Bluetooth. This app enables you also to monitor and analyze burning hours, the number of times a luminaire switches on and off, and the energy use of each individual lamp in a city network.

Parallel applications

 

Even as Signify has created this SR ecosystem to facilitate the work of its partners, it’s building its own applications for it in parallel. Philips System-ready luminaires, like its DigiStreet products, are ready to pair with existing and upcoming sensor and software applications.

 

A DigiStreet luminaire come with a universal SR connector on the top and bottom, making it simple to click in controllers or sensors so that you can activate new applications. That means you can install your luminaires today and mount controllers and sensors at a later date, without hassle. When you’re ready for remote light management, for example, you can click in the controller connected to Interact City and the application will start right away. Using state-of-the-art architectures and components, these SR-certified Philips products are compatible with all SR-certified components, and they feature industry-wide standardized sockets (the Zhaga SR socket and the ANSI 7-pin NEMA socket). This ensures you’ll always be ready for the latest innovations, so you can get more out of your lighting infrastructure.

 

The smart city is an idea whose time has come, a technological step forward that will improve the lives of urban residents, every day. Connected lighting infrastructure will play a huge role in facilitating it, and Signify’s SR partnership is making that infrastructure come to life.