With “collaboration” the mantra in the IoT of lighting, Bluetooth technology specialist Silvair today gave plenty of cause to recite it, announcing several partnerships across the value chain including luminaire maker Feilo Sylvania and half a dozen subsystem makers such as driver maker Fulham.
Silvair, based in Krakow and San Francisco, led the push toward last summer’s certification of the Bluetooth Mesh protocol, which extends Bluetooth’s range well beyond the 30-ft limitation for which it’s known. Enthusiasts believe that Bluetooth Mesh will usher in a wave of Internet of Things (IoT) lighting implementations that, among other things, will make it possible to control lighting levels and temperatures remotely, wirelessly, and through the Internet.
Silvair provides Bluetooth Mesh firmware — chips programmed with software.
“We are very excited by the release of the Bluetooth Mesh standard, and in particular Silvair’s lighting control stack,” said Feilo Sylvania’s global senior product line manager for smart lighting and controls Edward Lees.
The Silvair firmware marks one of many IoT offerings to have caught Feilo’s eye, which as LEDs Magazine has reported is positioning itself as a systems integrator working with many different information technology partners to tie luminaires into the Internet. The company might even be eyeing the acquisition of GE’s commercial smart lighting and energy entity, called Current, powered by GE.
Silvair CEO Rafal Han said the collaborations mark “the next big step on the way to creating a fully interoperable global ecosystem” with Bluetooth Mesh technology.
Silvair CEO Rafal Han said the collaborations mark “the next big step on the way to creating a fully interoperable global ecosystem” with Bluetooth Mesh technology.
Feilo’s new SylSmart integration program is aimed at expanding the role of smart lighting to include luminaire-embedded sensors that collect data. The data helps facility managers analyze building use and to make informed decisions on how to allocate space. It can also help automate other building systems, such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). (Watch for further insights on Feilo Sylvania’s smart lighting initiatives in LEDs’ Q&A with Feilo CEO Christian Schraft and global director of strategy and new business development Bastiaan de Groot in the March issue).
Feilo works with some of its partners such as Silvair through its two new Smart Lighting Innovation Centers (SLICs).
“We will continue our collaboration, fostering and pushing the adoption of this much-needed standard [Bluetooth Mesh] with Silvair as the industry pioneers,” Lees said.
Silvair and Feilo are expected to reveal more details of their partnership at the Light+Building 2018 exhibition later this month in Frankfurt.
Meanwhile, Silvair said Fulham and five other subsystem manufacturers are working to embed Silvair Bluetooth Mesh capabilities into their products, which between them include drivers, controllers, sensors, switches, LED engines, and other components. The idea is to provide Bluetooth Mesh-based smart lighting in commercial settings.
Silvair plans to reveal more details of the partnerships at Light+Building. At the same time, it will also launch software to assist in the commissioning process of Bluetooth Mesh smart lighting. The tools will include a web portal and a mobile app.
“I am truly excited for all the changes in the industry that are about to happen because of smart lighting solutions based on Bluetooth Mesh technology,” said Silvair CEO Rafal Han. “We are looking forward to presenting a vast number of high-quality products using our lighting control firmware as well as introducing our commissioning platform. This is undoubtedly the next big step on the way to creating a fully interoperable global ecosystem.”
In addition to Hawhtorne, CA-based Fulham, the other partners are McWong International, based in Sacramento with a significant presence in China; Murata, based in Kyoto, Japan; Danlers, based in Chippenham, UK; ERP Power, based in Moorpark, CA; and DG Light, based in Turin, Italy.
Marking further collaboration, Silvair said all of the products will support energy harvesting owing to Silvair’s ongoing partnership with EnOcean, based in Oberhaching, Germany.
“Addressing the needs of modern lighting control systems was a key requirement in the development of the Bluetooth Mesh networking standard,” said Ken Kolderup, vice president of marketing at the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, which oversaw the Bluetooth Mesh ratifications. “We are delighted to see the rapid adoption of Bluetooth in the lighting industry, which will help accelerate the deployment of interoperable connected lighting systems that will serve as a platform for a variety of IoT services in the future.”
Source: LEDs Magazine
Bluetooth mesh networking technology is finally here. Was it worth waiting for? Can it really drive widespread adoption of connected solid-state lighting (SSL)? And what exactly does it mean that it has been designed for professional lighting applications? As one of the leading contributors to the development of this new wireless standard, Silvair has answers to questions you might be asking yourself today. Let's review the development of the standard and consider the impact it may have in bringing LED lighting into the Internet of Things (IoT) movement.
A PINCH OF HISTORY
For Silvair, the interest in Bluetooth all started back in 2013 when Google rolled out Android 4.3 with API level 18, introducing support for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). At that time, the company wasn't too familiar with Bluetooth, but already knew that IPv6 over the 802.15.4 standard (used by ZigBee, for example) was a pipe dream. Even with the 6Lo compression (6LoWPAN - Ipv6 over Low Power Wireless Personal Area Network, a lightweight protocol envisioned to bring IP networking to embedded or IoT devices), IPv6 was simply too heavy to fly, and 802.15.4 turned out to be too slow to give it a lift. Back in 2012-2013, Silvair was experimenting with something very similar to what Thread is today. But eventually we found this combination (IPv6 + 802.15.4) incapable of addressing the needs of professional wireless lighting. Hence, Silvair kept looking for a suitable radio technology.
Google's announcement of support for Bluetooth Low Energy in Android sparked hopes. BLE was already supported by iOS, so with Android on board, it seemed like a good candidate to try. But it did not fly, either. The single-hop range was very limited and the hub-and-spoke topology was far from anything usable for lighting needs; it could provide only a handful of point-to-point connections. Great for linking a heart rate monitor to a phone but certainly not to control a ceiling with 500 lights in a hotel lobby. There was hope, though.
BLE OFFERED THE PHYSICS
The underlying physics of BLE was very promising. Within a couple of months, Silvair managed to build a BLE module capable of communicating over a 500m single-hop distance. The company also discovered that with proper software engineering, it was able to run multiple Bluetooth roles (a GAP Observer and a GAP Broadcaster) at the same time (GAP stands for General Access Profile). This experiment was carried out in early 2014 and you can see it now being the fundamental requirement of the Mesh Profile specification (see the last paragraph in Section 3.3.1).
This could be described as the conception of Bluetooth mesh networking. After all, if the software part of an off-the-shelf Bluetooth SoC (system-on-chip) could be modified in a way that allowed receiving and retransmitting messages, building a mesh network on Bluetooth would be possible. It was "just" a matter of nailing down the details of this software and documenting it as an open specification, so others could do the same.
This "just" step took more than three years and resulted in the publication of three specifications, approximately 1000 pages combined. Indeed, it is a complex solution. But along the way, it turned out that a solid technology for connected lighting simply could not be outlined in a dozen pages and delivered within several months. The nature of wireless mesh networks is complex. Jet engines are complex, too. Cars are complex. So are cellular networks and many other technology wonders we're using every day. They are all successful because they are complex and solve the intricate nature of problems. This is what Bluetooth mesh is doing, too - trying to address the complex challenge of low-power communications in the resource-scarce IoT environment while ensuring wire-like performance in connected lighting networks. Many technologies have promised that, but none of them has delivered so far.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PACKET
Why should we trust that Bluetooth mesh will be different? As the Bluetooth mesh networking specifications are now public, we can start dissecting and discussing various building blocks of this new wireless standard. There are many novel and unique concepts in mesh, but perhaps the key asset and differentiator is the packet. It is extremely compact. This compactness contributes to the spectral efficiency (and throughput) of Bluetooth mesh networks.
Radio is a shared medium and data-packet collisions are one of the key problems to address. This is what makes scalability such an enormous challenge in connected lighting networks. The math is simple: A shorter packet means fewer collisions. But how short can it be? The answer is up to 29 bytes, as described in Section 3.4.4 of the Mesh Profile specification.
Of course, such design begins with the basics: compressed binary payload instead of a text representation. Covering a broad set of use cases (including connected lighting, building automation, and sensors), 11 bytes for the application payload seems appropriate. The standard allows 1-2 bytes for an opcode and up to 10 bytes for parameters, such as a value measured by a sensor, or a multidimensional light (light level, hue, saturation) with a transition time.
On top of that, there are two items that may be considered overhead, but it is an absolutely necessary overhead: addressing and propagation control (SRC, DST, CTL+TTL: 5 bytes in total) and security (IVI+NID, SEQ, AppMIC, and NetMIC). The IVI+NID is 1 byte. This byte helps identify a network (is this a network I know and have keys to interact with?). SEQ is 3 bytes and together with the unique concept of a slowly propagated IV Index, forms a 7-byte-long sequence number. Each packet sent on a mesh network has a unique sequence number, per given SRC address. The smart part here is that only 3 bytes are included in the air interface packet. The remaining 4 bytes are slow changing and are "known" to the network. Sequence is essential in two areas: detecting replayed packets (very trivial security attack) and also being the key ingredient of both network and application nonces - see Section 3.8.5 of the aforementioned spec.
SECURING THE SYSTEM
MICs, or Message Integrity Checks, define the level of security of the system. Bluetooth mesh has dual-layer security - it includes the network layer and the application layer. Messages may be secured with two independent keys. This is useful for relay nodes to authenticate a message on a network layer without enabling tampering with the application payload. A lightbulb that relays a message to a door lock cannot change the payload from "open" to "close," but it does check whether the packet belongs to its own network. The network layer MIC can be either 8 or 4 bytes long. In its shorter form, it is combined with the application layer MIC that can again be 8 or 4 bytes long.
The end result is an application payload that is sufficient for almost any building automation, lighting control, and sensor application, with strong security and flexible addressing. And this all comes in an extremely compact form factor. Combined with the modulation scheme offered by BLE, it is also feather light. Including all necessary radio interface fields, such as a preamble, an access address, and a CRC (cyclical redundancy check), it totals 47 octets. As a result, a single transmission on a single frequency lasts less than 400 μs. This is 10× less than it takes to transmit a comparable message using other existing wireless technologies. And when using the new 2M PHY introduced by Bluetooth 5, this advantage can potentially be doubled.
The success of any wireless system fundamentally relies on the spectral efficiency. It is similar to how the success of an airliner fundamentally rests on its fuel efficiency. In the low-power, ultrashort-message category, Bluetooth mesh delivers an order of magnitude more than other wireless solutions. As far as data transmission is concerned, it is the first wireless standard capable of meeting the enormous expectations of the IoT era.
Still, you may wonder why a technology from the IT and telecommunications field is right for lighting. When working on the architecture of the Bluetooth mesh system, the Bluetooth SIG's (Special Interest Group's) Mesh Working Group kept on diving deep into the roots of problems it was aiming to solve. In particular, the team of contributors has focused strongly on addressing the many challenges of the smart lighting environment. There are many reasons to treat lighting as the primary application for a mesh system. Most important, lights are everywhere and they are powered. So depending on how you look at it, a lighting control system may be the goal itself or may just be the initial step to develop more services that are based on a mesh-connected infrastructure.
Imagine an airport, a hospital, a company campus, or a high-rise, multi-tenant office building. Now imagine you want to roll out a service that requires a dense infrastructure of radio nodes - perhaps thousands of them. Rolling out adequate hardware would be very expensive, as each component would require a mounting point and power supply. Now suppose that each light is already mounted and powered, and is capable of supporting your wireless application. Suddenly, you realize the hardware is already there: a mesh network of thousands of low-power wireless computing nodes.
This is why the lighting category is so crucial for Bluetooth mesh technology. And to be a winning solution in that category, the new wireless standard had to be outstanding for connected lighting applications. Everything else comes afterward.
A TOUGH WORLD OF LIGHTING CONTROLS
There are many important details that contribute to why a given solution is good for lighting. Let's take a closer look at two simple examples.
First, consider eliminating the so-called popcorn effect. There are two challenges for wireless lighting control systems here:
A lot of effort has been put into ensuring that Bluetooth mesh networking can effectively address both of these challenges. First, it is primarily optimized for multicast traffic. So regardless of whether there are ten, a hundred, or a thousand lights in a ceiling, they can all be addressed with a single message that goes out. This message, in real life, may reach around 90% of lights. To ensure that all of them are eventually reached, the message is repeated a couple of times. With two messages, the probability of delivery of at least one message goes up to approximately 99%. With five messages in a row, the reliability jumps to five nines, or 99.999%.
Now, some lights will receive the first message, while some lights will receive one of the later messages. But we want all of the lights to turn on at exactly the same time, since this is how lighting controls have worked for us for decades. How does the new standard ensure that? Here comes the Delay parameter to the rescue. Let's say that five messages are spaced 20 ms apart. The first one goes out at T=0 with the Delay set to 100 ms. The second is sent at T=20 ms with the Delay set to 80 ms. The scheme repeats until the fifth message is sent at T=100 ms with the Delay set to 0. Now, regardless of which one is picked by a given light, all lights will turn on at exactly the same time. Of course, there is the overall execution delay of 100 ms, but that is below the human perception level. The speed of the underlying radio, combined with multicast transmissions and time-compensated retransmissions, guarantees that the final effect matches application requirements.
The second example is simpler but nicely illustrates the attention to details characterizing the Bluetooth mesh specifications. How does a lighting system behave when the power is cut off and restored later on? How should it behave? The answer is that it depends. Of course, it depends on the type of lights, what purpose they serve, etc. In some cases, you might not want a power cycle to turn the lights on (this is unfortunately the case with some popular home lighting systems). But in many other scenarios, this may be the desired behavior.
In Bluetooth mesh networking, there is a configuration state called OnPowerUp (Section 3.1.4 of the Mesh Model specification). It can be set to Off, Default, or Restore (to the last value before the power was cut off). It works in tandem with another configuration state, the Light Lightness Default (Section 220.127.116.11), which can be any arbitrary level, or the last non-zero value (e.g., if you dimmed the lights down to 20% and then turned them off, after a power cycle they will turn on but at 20%, not at their full brightness). Again, the attention to tiny details presented by the design team seems to be going much deeper than in the case of other wireless solutions.
SCALING IT UP
Scalability was the initial reason why Silvair turned to BLE when trying to find a foundation for a robust low-power mesh networking technology. Its wireless capabilities were simply much better than anything else available. This was primarily due to the extremely compact packet structure, which flies over the fastest low-energy radio. But, of course, every solution has certain limits. So what are the limits of Bluetooth mesh? The answer is, as always, it depends. It depends what the network is doing (how many and what types of messages it keeps sending around) and how it is set up. Bluetooth mesh has many parameters that may be fine-tuned to adjust its performance to specific requirements.
As a general rule of thumb, one can assume that at 200 devices (or fewer), there is no need to worry about any tuning at all. The likelihood that any two communications will collide is pretty low. So let them loose at will.
Above 200 devices, depending on how talkative they are, some collisions might occur. This is why Bluetooth mesh provides a number of tools that help optimize the network and let it grow significantly while maintaining an excellent packet delivery ratio. The most important ones include the following.
TTL, or Time To Live. It defines how many relay hops a message is allowed to travel. It is rarely the case for large networks that every sender has to be heard across the entire network. An occupancy sensor, for example, usually needs to report only to light fixtures in the same room. And maybe to a gateway, but not across the entire building, to locations where nobody is interested in its status. Setting the Default TTL to a low value (even to 0 in some cases) is a good way to significantly increase scalability.
Relays. They retransmit received messages, obviously multiplying traffic in a given space. Usually, the default setting for the relay function is "on" in order to make setting up small networks seamless. In large networks, it pays to carefully select how many devices are designated as relays and disable relaying where it is not needed. Ericsson Research has recently published a thorough case study (http://bit.ly/2xV2XLm) modeling an office floor with close to 900 talkative mesh devices. It is based on real data captured from a live network. It shows that for a case like an office floor, it is enough to assign about 1.5% of nodes as relays.
Subnets. Mesh networks can be significant in size, spanning entire multi-story buildings. But it is extremely rare that devices on separate floors need to communicate with each other. Except for administrative tasks like re-keying the entire network or shutting down the whole building, typically each floor is self-contained. This fact is why subnets are a great mechanism to confine network traffic. A mesh node can be a member of multiple subnets, so it is a good practice to have the base network spanning all floors and then have a subnet defined for each floor. And to configure the nodes to transmit only on subnets they belong to, not on the main network (except the administrative tasks). A single mesh network can have more than 4000 subnets. We have yet to build a structure that vast. Until then, subnets should help in scaling up any network you imagine.
IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA?
According to wireless architects from Silvair, the v1.0 of Bluetooth mesh is much more capable than anybody has anticipated. It is a complete system for low-power, fully-interoperable mesh networking, with a deep and flexible application layer addressed in the Mesh Model and Mesh Device Properties specifications. By defining basic functionalities of network nodes, mesh models make devices aware of what function they perform, what other nodes they can connect with, and what actions can be performed upon them.
To enable maximum design flexibility, models include multiple properties that can be adjusted in accordance with specific applications. In addition to covering a full range of standard lighting functionalities, mesh models fully support additional functionality such as advanced lighting control strategies including occupancy sensing, daylight harvesting, or time scheduling. They also come with multiple tunable parameters and properties, effectively future-proofing buildings against increasingly stringent environmental requirements that we can expect to see as the world strives for a low carbon future.
With the Bluetooth mesh networking specifications already published, we will soon be able to see how these networks perform in practice, and whether this new wireless standard has what it takes to move connected lighting to another level. What already seems certain is that no other technology has fostered such a comprehensive approach to challenges typical for lighting applications. Time will tell whether this is enough.
Source: LEDs Magazine
The world's largest known deployment of lighting-based indoor positioning is finally going full speed ahead, as US retail giant Target plans to roll out a customer engagement system in nearly half of its 1800 stores by Christmas.
Using Bluetooth chips embedded in LED ceiling lights from Acuity Brands, Target will send signals to shoppers' phones. Drawing on a Target app, the phones will display an interactive map that guides individuals around the aisles, helping them find specific items and providing information about discounts.
“This promises to make it easier than ever to find what you’re looking for, so you can fill up your cart and get on your way,” Target chief information and digital officer Mike McNamara said in a video blog on Target's website. “It'll even tell you if the product's on sale, so you never have to miss out on an opportunity to save.” He likened the system to driving a car using GPS.
Target has been piloting indoor positioning (IPS) for several years, as LEDs Magazine's sister publication Lux first reported exclusively back in April 2015.
But like many early indoor positioning implementations, Target has held back from full-on deployment. As of two years ago, it was trialing the technology in about 100 stores.
At the time, it was kicking the tires on different methods, including both Bluetooth wireless radio as well as something called visible light communication (VLC), which sends signals to phones via LED-generated lightwaves, rather than via radio frequencies.
The lights will not only illuminate, but will also help guide you and deliver information to your phone at hundreds of Target stores.
In a decision that will disappoint VLC advocates and which some observers will find surprising, the retail chain said it has decided to use Bluetooth but not VLC, a Target spokesperson told LEDs. He declined to elaborate, and Acuity would not comment.
It could be that improvements related to the recent ratification of a Bluetooth mesh standard convinced Target to choose the radio method. The mesh standard prescribes a common method for allowing Bluetooth chips to hand off instructions to each other, effectively extending the range of Bluetooth far beyond the 30 ft that it typically provides.
Bluetooth's disadvantage compared to VLC is that it is not as accurate — it can pinpoint a product's location on a shelf to within 2–3m (about 6.5–10 ft) versus VLC's 30 cm, which is less than a foot.
But one of VLC's drawbacks is that it requires a user's phone to constantly point to the ceiling lighting, because lightwaves have to hit the phone's camera in order for the technology to work. In contrast, Bluetooth does not require line of sight for such Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
Another downside for VLC in indoor positioning projects is that lights have to always be on. That means VLC would often not function in a store or mall with plenty of natural light — say, one with a glass atrium and skylights — unless the lights were switched on when they don't have to be for traditional illumination purposes. That's one reason why Philips Lighting, a pioneering VLC enthusiast, is now using Bluetooth as well, and in some instances combining the two technologies.
Target is embedding Bluetooth transmitters in Acuity ceiling lights, the Target spokesperson said, noting that the system will only work with iPhones at first. Android support will follow later.
The rollout at Target could help boost the lighting-based IPS concept and encourage further takeup of the IoT scheme, which has been characterized by one-off implementations in single or small groups of stores — such as at an EDEKA Paschmann store in Dusseldorf and E.Leclerc store in Langon, France; at the Dubai-based retail chain aswaaq; a Carrefour store in Lille, France, and elsewhere.
As of last July, Acuity itself claimed to have deployed lighting-based indoor positioning in over 50 million ft2 of retail space, although it has been reticent about naming its users. Its trials are believed to include Walmart.
Acuity has been steadily building its indoor positioning arsenal. It picked up VLC technology when it acquired VLC specialist company ByteLight in 2015. ByteLight had been working with GE prior to the acquisition. Acuity also uses VLC technology from Qualcomm called Lumicast, and, as LEDs has reported, Acuity has used the former ByteLight team to help integrate VLC and Bluetooth into one system (if that combination exists in the Bluetooth-led system at Target, no one is saying).
Last spring, it launched a systems integration program inviting partners to help develop indoor positioning and other indoor IoT programs such as asset tracking. It also launched a Bluetooth system that tracks shopping carts around stores in order to provide retailers with information on floor traffic and also to keep tabs on the carts' whereabouts.
It's all part of push by lighting companies to morph more into information technology companies, and to develop offerings that collect data, which can then be monetized in many ways, such as by offering promotions and discounts to the IoT application users.
There is the question of whether shoppers even want guidance on their phones as they navigate around physical-world stores.
Another issue that has possibly held back indoor positioning schemes is that they raise security and privacy concerns. With that in mind, Philips Lighting left personalization out of a recent implementation at the four-story Media Markt computer and electronics shop in Eindhoven.
The lighting industry also faces another challenge: Even as more large end users such as Target decide to deploy, those users might buy from a more conventional IT supplier rather than from a lighting company.
For example, Barclays plc has deployed sensors to help monitor office usage at its investment banking headquarters in London, without embedding those sensors in lights.
For reasons like that, lighting company Osram now has a business selling Bluetooth chips, such as when it provided a retail chain with Bluetooth hardware to connect to non-Osram lights for a system at Guess and Marc O'Polo fashion shops in Switzerland.
Likewise, smart lighting specialist Gooee last year teamed with Israel's PointGrab Ltd. to tie that company's CogniPoint wall-mounted sensors into the Gooee cloud data analysis system.
Source: LEDs Magazine
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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