New nLight® AIR Wireless Controls from Acuity Brands Reduce Complexity and Cost of LED Retrofit for Building Owners and Contractors
Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI) today announced the nLight® AIR platform, a wireless extension of its widely deployed nLight® digital lighting control platform. As a fully wireless lighting control system with a five-tier security architecture, nLight AIR is ideal for building owners and contractors looking to seamlessly upgrade facilities to LED lighting control solutions that are designed to support compliance with state energy code requirements. nLight Air is especially suited for spaces where wiring is cost prohibitive, or for retrofits where running new wires can be difficult or complex.
The nLight AIR control system consists of nLight AIR enabled LED luminaires (equipped with eldoLED® LED drivers), wireless battery powered wall switches and a mobile configuration app, CLAIRITY™, for quick and easy startup. nLight AIR systems are deployed using the building’s existing wiring, which reduces installation costs and accelerates payback.
“Commercial lighting integration suffers all too often from a fragmented approach with disparate systems, software and networks that make installation and maintenance cumbersome and costly,” said Audwin Cash, Vice President, Acuity Controls. “nLight AIR is designed to be contractor-friendly, with a consistent, simplified installation and start-up procedure, a single interface into the network and an intuitive mobile app which can be used to configure the system. Combining the nLight AIR control system together with Acuity’s long-life LED luminaires offers facility managers, building owners and electrical contractors with a solution that can provide energy savings for years to come.”
This new wireless lighting control solution represents significant advancements in lighting system technology:
Last week we mentioned the possibilities of wireless mesh controls integrating with LED light
fixtures. When the time comes that we are able to offer lighting options like this on a large
scale, the energy savings and environmental impact could be quite significant. Last Thursday
(August 3, 2017), an article came out that discussed a current application, in southern Holland
(yes - across the pond), at the Chemelot Industrial Park in Geleen. One top priority of the
conversion from fluorescent lighting to wireless mesh controlled LED lighting was to be able to
control the 17,000 outdoor lights to either turn on or off and/or increase or decrease the lumen
output when and where it is necessary. Now that is awesome!
The article that I am referring to is “Wireless mesh controls augur huge savings, slash light
pollution at Dutch chemical plant” Published on August 3, 2017, By Mark Halper, Contributing
Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist. The article states:
“The new ability to turn lights off and to dim them augurs enormous savings in electricity and
CO 2 emissions. It should also drastically reduce light pollution…The combination of the LED
luminaires and the wireless mesh controls should also slash maintenance costs, given the
expected long life of the LEDs as well as the modules' ability to monitor the performance of the
“Because we 'switch' the lights with software, dimming and switching is now possible,” said Han
Bak, CEO of Haarlem-based Chess Wise, the company providing the mesh technology which it
calls MyriaMesh [Chess Wise is one of several lighting-related companies involved in a one-for-
one replacement of existing fluorescent luminaires with LED models in a 15-year service-based
scheme]. “The main thing is the lights are only on when you really need light, which is
completely the opposite of the existing situation, when the lights were on 24/7.”
“MyriaMesh uses Bluetooth radio chips, but Chess Wise deploys its own proprietary radio-
agnostic mesh protocol, rather than using the recently ratified Bluetooth mesh standard. Chess
Wise builds modules that operate at either 868 MHz or at the Bluetooth frequency of 2.4 GHz,
as it has done for Chemelot.
Bak said Chess Wise is considering a Bluetooth mesh version to support customers who might
prefer it. Different requirements would benefit from different protocols. For example,
MyriaMesh might work better when signals have to travel longer distances between luminaires.
Chemelot's 17,000 lights are an apt fit with the MyriaMesh brand name, as “myria” literally
means a unit of 10,000.”
We will keep our eyes out for more examples and do our best to keep you updated on the
progress of Bluetooth mesh and LED lighting.
Last month the Kirkland, WA based Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), the organization that
oversees Bluetooth wireless communication protocols, agreed to and published a set of specifications
that created a standard that will allow us to integrate smart lighting controls to cover large areas - even
when we mix products from different lighting manufacturers. An article, published a couple of weeks
ago, titled, “Bluetooth’s range just widened, and IoT lighting companies are thrilled”, published on July
18, 2017, by Mark Halper, Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology
Journalist, opened our eyes to just how important this agreement may be to future LED lighting
“After at least two years of internal wrangling and difficult technology choices, the Kirkland, WA-based
Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) ratified a means to mesh together Bluetooth beacons, allowing
them to hand off instructions to each other. The move effectively boosts Bluetooth's reach far beyond
the 30 feet that is typical for the Bluetooth that consumers commonly use to share things like audio files
among smartphone, computers, tables, TVs, and other devices.
“We just completed a several-year effort of completing a set of specifications that define a standardized
approach for creating true industrial-grade mesh networking solutions using Bluetooth technology,”
Bluetooth SIG vice president of marketing Ken Kolderup said in a phone interview with LEDs Magazine.
“Now there's a standard way that defines how mesh networking gets done on Bluetooth, so that all
the vendors can now create interoperable solutions.”
Now that, potentially, clears a lot of road blocks, especially for organizations, like retail stores,
warehouses and commercial offices, that choose to upgrade their lighting to LED over the course of time
and prefer to control them all from a single point or device. “There was some real work to do; it's very
demanding, especially for a commercial environment,” said Bluetooth SIG's Kolderup, who noted that it
took time to work out details related to reliability, scalability, performance, latency, security, and other
aspects. The SIG also performed extensive interoperability testing to assure the best chance of all
Bluetooth devices — the SIG has 32,000 members — working together in any scenario. For example,
“We need to make sure that a switch you buy today can work with a light bulb you buy from a vendor
that may not even exist today, 20 years from now,” he noted.
Now that is truly working together to accomplish a goal that will benefit us all. For more information, or
to read the complete article, please click on the link below.
As we become more familiar with the latest evolutionary (some may even say revolutionary) lighting
options, for both commercial and residential lighting, namely, LED Lighting, we have begun to hear more
and more about smart lighting controls. The beauty of smart lighting controls is that you are able to
integrate wireless controls either directly onto your fixture or in-line at the point of power input of the
fixture. You can then preset or manually adjust dimming levels, conserve energy through daylight
harvesting and/or make use of occupancy sensors to meet your specific application goals. There are
several platforms out there today that require a hardware device, like a gateway or hub, to
communicate with your wireless LED lighting fixture controls, but, lately there has been a push to
develop a way to accomplish this right from your smart phone or mobile device. It looks like that goal is
on the way to being accomplished.
From an article titled, “Vendors roll out compliant Bluetooth Mesh enablers for solid-state lighting
products”, Published on July 26, 2017, By Maury Wright, Editor in Chief, LEDs Magazine, I read the
“…the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) delivered the long-anticipated Bluetooth Mesh standard
last week formalizing support for mesh-based networks, including lighting-centric applications that
combine LEDs and connectivity. Now companies that deliver ICs and/or Bluetooth software stacks that
can accelerate solid-state lighting (SSL) product development are offering Bluetooth Mesh-compliant
building blocks — Qualcomm, Silvair, and Silicon Labs are among the first to announce such enabling
technologies. Those products may be critical in the acceleration of SSL as a part of the Internet of Things
Bluetooth Mesh has been long anticipated because the new mesh technology will still interoperate with
the Bluetooth links in our smart devices allowing connections with LED-based lighting products without
the need for a gateway such as would be required with ZigBee-based products and most other wireless
schemes. Bluetooth has lacked the range to serve in even a robust residential SSL installation or even
the simplest commercial implementation, but the mesh capability extends the range by passing
messages from node to node…
“We expect to see a wave of new devices hit the market quickly by leveraging ubiquitous Bluetooth
connectivity to create hub-less mesh networks that extend the range and reliability of Bluetooth
systems,” said Daniel Cooley, senior vice president and general manager of IoT products at Silicon Labs.”
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