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The New World of Web Based Lighting Control

Dec. 9, 2016
Top News Stories of 2016 A mix of M&As, new web-based technologies and economic trends made headlines in 2016.

When I look back at all the headlines in the electrical industry over the past year, the one thing that stands out is the amount of acquisition and partnership activity in the control of LED lighting systems. One day we may look back at 2016 as the year when the concept of remotely controlling lights with web-based apps; analyzing usage and maintenance data of individual lighting systems and using IoT-based (Internet of Things); or integrating a building’s lighting system with the HVAC, security and other systems started to gain critical mass.

One acquisition exemplifies two key trends in the new world of web-based lighting control — the strategically important real estate that lighting fixtures occupy and the interest in lighting from companies far outside the lighting arena — Verizon’s acquisition of Sensity Systems Inc., Sunnyvale, CA. Sensity was one of the first companies in the market to see lighting fixtures as a place to add sensors to monitor other building systems, including HVAC, motion detection, security cameras and CO2 detection for both indoor and outdoor applications.

Verizon will be competing with Cisco’s Digital Ceiling program, as well as a host of established lighting players to control this strategic real estate. Cisco has signed on an impressive lineup of manufacturers of lighting and electrical equipment for its Digital Ceiling, an open-standards solution for whole-building control that includes Cree, Delta Controls, DGLogik (Acuity), Eaton, Emerson Network Power, Innovative Lighting, Johnson Controls, Legrand, Molex, NuLeds, Philips, Siemon and Superior Essex.

There seems to be a non-stop flow of acquisition and partnership activity in this arena, including the deals where Acuity Brands Inc., Atlanta, GA, acquired GeoMetri, Braunfels, TX, to add indoor mapping and navigation capabilities to its ByteLight indoor positioning solution; and DGLogik Inc., Oakland, CA, a provider of software solutions that uses IoT to help users utilize data analytics to visualize, analyze and optimize facility operations based upon various sets of data from multiple types of devices; the purchase by GE’s Current, Boston, MA, of Daintree Networks, Los Altos, CA, a provider of building controls solutions for commercial facilities; and three different acquisitions by Legrand North America, West Hartford, CT in the lighting area — Pinnacle Architectural Lighting, Denver, CO; Luxul Wireless, Draper, UT; and Solarfective Products Ltd., Toronto, ON.

In addition, Cree Inc., Durham, NC, announced its partnership to link its SmartCast Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology with Cisco’s Digital Ceiling initiative, and Eaton Corp.’s collaboration with NuLEDs, Inc., Carlsbad, Calif., a specialist in Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) lighting systems The two companies will go to market with a joint product offering including Eaton’s complete portfolio of PoE-enabled light-emitting diode (LED) luminaires and NuLEDs’ drivers, software, sensors and keypads.