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    How near field communication is driving innovation in the LED lighting business  

    You’re probably already familiar with near field communication (NFC), the technology enabling contactless communication between devices like smartphones and tablets. NFC is what lets a user wave a smartphone over another NFC-compatible device and send or receive information without physically connecting the devices. When you touch your phone to a payment terminal in a store or press your public transit card to the sensor on a turnstile, you’re using NFC. In short, NFC can help businesses increase staff efficiency and deliver better customer service. It can also give individuals easier access to services.

    The lighting industry benefits from NFC, too

    Digital and LED lighting already benefits from wireless connection, but NFC could cut its reliance on coded mains and wiring even more. NFC gives manufacturers the opportunity to configure lighting components, like LED drivers, to their required specifications before or even after installation. The benefits of the in-the-field ability to revert to factory settings or change settings in general are many:

    • Speed: You can configure fixtures faster without dealing with complex and time-consuming wiring mechanics or with the need to power up drivers.
    • Flexibility: You can reconfigure settings of spare parts before or after installation in the fixture. The option to reconfigure lets you offer multiple settings and lumen output options to customers at the beginning of a project. Down the line, if circumstances change, a customer can switch to a setting that now suits it better.
    • Safety: You can configure fixtures while they are off the grid, meaning they don’t need to be powered. This means you can configure your fixtures safety any time, even while they are open.
    • Reduced costs: You can significantly reduce your inventory and can perform easy troubleshooting in the field if settings are incorrect.

    Reaping NFC’s benefits with Philips SimpleSet  

    Philips SimpleSet wireless LED drivers based on NFC technology are designed to offer the benefits described above in the simplest way. Using SimpleSet, you can quickly configure lumen output and a dimming schedule, then receive confirmation of your configuration change within seconds. You can do that even before powering the fixtures. SimpleSet technology also tracks a driver’s configuration history, delivering greater control and access to information over time. In addition, the technology enables in-field diagnostics, for easy maintenance. 


    These are some of SimpleSet’s most important functionalities:

    • The ability to create adjustable output current to ensure constant light output throughout the lifetime of the luminaire. 
    • The ability to create a temperature guard: a configuration setting that protects and stabilizes the operating temperature of the driver and/or other modules.
    • The ability to pre-set dimming levels. You can combine this function with presence detection (in an office, for instance) or set up multiple-stage dimming scenarios on nighttime roads, using Philips Dynadimmer, for instance.
    • You can use it even in the case of a cabinet control solution. 

    How does SimpleSet work in practice?  

    Let’s assume a new driver for an existing luminaire needs to be reconfigured back to its original settings to deliver a particular dimming schedule on a residential street. NFC makes that easy: Just hold your configuration device, with its NFC module, to the new driver to facilitate reconfiguration at the push of a button.  In a few seconds the driver can be reinstalled in the luminaire and powered up again.

    From installation to troubleshooting to placing orders

    Driver configuration alone offers manufactures and installers working in the field great advantages. But innovations like the Philips Service tag are elaborating on this feature, building NFC configuring into their application. Using QR codes to identify components and luminaires, the Philips Service tag makes installation and maintenance faster and more efficient. The application gives users access to installation and troubleshooting guides for each individual luminaire that requires servicing. Once it identifies that the driver, say, is broken, it enables the ordering as well as the configuration of the replacement driver. All this happens via a single tablet.


    Click here to learn more about the Philips Service tag. 

    The disruptive bottom line

    NFC, with its capacity to simplify and speed up operations, has been disrupting lighting. Technologies like Philips SimpleSet improve field operations by removing the need for electrical mains, thus making operations easier and safer. They speed up configuration and make possible late-stage configuration, even in the field, and they provide diagnostics and troubleshooting support. Such tech is helping to drive lighting farther into its wireless, connected future.