Smart lighting systems are now being adopted by everyone from regular people who just want to use them domestically, to industrial leaders who understand their long-term benefits. This can lead one to wonder what the differences in use are between industrial and domestic lighting systems and why they exist.
Smart lighting systems have become popular in many circles because their long term return on investment is considerable and their many features. There are estimates that say in industrial settings, these systems can lead to energy savings of up to 90%. In homes they can save up to 27% of the costs families normally spend on energy.
If you’re curious about how lighting systems can be used in industrial and domestic settings, you’ve come to the right place. In the following sections, we will answer many of the most common questions people have about these systems and how they can be applied in a variety of settings.
- How Do Smart Lighting Systems Work?
- What’s the Difference Between Industrial and Domestic Systems?
- How Can Lighting Systems Be Used at Home?
- How Can Lighting Systems Be Used in Industrial Settings?
- Potential Challenges
- Are There Other Potential Challenges?
How Do Smart Lighting Systems Work?
Smart lighting systems work by linking your LED smart lights together through your WiFi. Generally, you can use an app on your smart device (smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc) to control the lights. The smart device just has to be connected to the same WiFi.
The way the lights themselves are linked together can vary based on what type of system you’re using. Some are linked by hubs or controllers/switches, while others operate right off the WiFi itself.
At a deeper level, smart lighting systems rely on the interactions between various technologies and mathematical tools. That’s why researchers from The Catalonia Institute for Energy Research describe them as systems that “[contain] energy efficient LED drivers, miniaturized digital lighting sensors, advanced control algorithms and standardized communication interfaces to cooperate and interact in a lighting network.”
Industrial Smart Lighting Systems
So what exactly is an industrial smart lighting system and what makes it unique from domestic lighting systems?
Industrial lighting systems are used for many of the same things domestic ones are: energy efficiency, security, ease of use and longer lifespans than traditional lights. The difference is that they are used for optimization in the business world, and therefore put more weight on features designed for productivity.
Oftentimes the user interface for industrial smart lighting systems can be more complicated and technical than that which you would use at home.
Domestic Smart Lighting Systems
Domestic smart lighting systems are great for giving your lights increased functionality while affording you practical savings when it comes time to pay your bills. They’re used for convenience and tend to have an easy user interface that connects to your smartphone or other such devices.
What’s the Difference Between Industrial and Domestic Systems?
Fundamentally, there isn’t really much of a difference between how industrial and domestic systems work. There are just specific features that are more likely to be put front and center in one environment over another. Also, the scope of what they are meant to accomplish can be dramatically incongruent, leading to differing benefits.
Features and Benefits for Domestic Smart Lighting
The following features and benefits are used and enjoyed more often in domestic smart lighting systems:
- They have features geared towards entertainment: Smart lighting systems can sync to things like your music playlist and either light the room appropriately or–depending on which ones you have–cause your lights to change colors with the groove. Of course, to do this you will need to incorporate smart bulbs into your system.
- They have features for personal health: There are features that help with things like sleep and stress that are often a bigger selling point for domestic smart lighting than industrial.
- They’re easier to set up: Smart lighting systems for the home can be set up quickly and easily. You can put up controllers/switches that connect directly to your light switch or your charging outlets. They’re usually just attached and then synced through your WiFi and smart devices.
Features and Benefits of Industrial Smart Lighting
The following features and benefits are generally seen in industrial smart lighting systems more often than domestic ones:
- They tend to utilize more sensor technologies: Both home and industrial lighting systems can utilize sensor technology to make their lights more efficient and useful. However, industrial lighting systems tend to use more complex sensors.
- They tend to have a bigger return on investment: The energy savings in the industrial use of smart lights tend to be much bigger. This is in large part because businesses can afford to outfit their operations with more complex and costly systems that don’t have to sacrifice as much for an easier user interface.
- They’ll be more robust than domestic systems: In a house or an apartment, there’s only so much you need your lights to do. However, industrial systems need more precise tools. For example, instead of basic motion sensors, they may want to go as far as using more advanced ultrasonic technology to tell if anyone is in a room.
We should note here that though these features usually appear in one or the other, they can be adapted to either. For example, some businesses could use the entertainment features of smart lighting systems in their break rooms or places where workers get together. In the same way individuals concerned about security may use more advanced sensor technology.
How Can Lighting Systems Be Used at Home?
With an upfront cost that can be admittedly steep ($750 and up), you’ll want to know the best ways you can put your lighting system to use. In the following sections we’ll break down all the major ways you can use your smart lighting system to improve life at home:
Efficient Domestic Energy Consumption
Smart lighting systems can reduce your household’s energy consumption by up to 27%, and in some cases even more. You might think this is simply a good way of saving money in the long run, however, there are other benefits as well.
Less energy consumption and a longer-lasting product both contribute to smart lighting being so good for the environment.
Home Security With Smart Lighting Systems
There are a litany of ways you homeowners can use smart lighting to boost their home security. They range from getting more out of your security cameras to warding off intruders when you’re out of town, with carefully timed lighting tricks.
- Smart lighting and cameras: Smart lights can now be outfitted with cameras. They are usually equipped with motion sensors to turn on if an intruder approaches. They can connect to your system and alert you when danger is near. There are even some models equipped with night vision.
- Timers for smart light security: People notice when you’re out of town on vacation. If some would-be-burglars were to see that your lights had been off for several nights, they may see your place as a target. With smart light timers, however, you can set lights in specific rooms to turn on and off at particular times to create the illusion you’re still there.
Smart lighting mimics the things a person would do themselves if they thought an intruder was coming. Since it looks like a physical person is in the house or on the porch, turning on lights, intruders are much more likely to think it’s not worth it to break in. It can almost give them the impression that they’ve already been caught, more so than less lifelike forms of security.
Using Smart Lighting to Get a Better Night’s Sleep
Believe it or not, smart lights can help you get healthier. How do they do this, you ask? Well, they do it by helping you to better regulate your sleep cycles.
Our brains use light to interpret whether or not we should be tired enough to go to bed. When it gets dark we produce melatonin, which says it’s time to hit the hay. In the modern world, however, we are inundated with light well past sunset. For many people, this throws off their circadian rhythm and gives them restless nights.
This is where smart lighting systems can help. You can set them to dull or in some cases even change the type of light they’re projecting when the sun starts to go down. This will let your brain know it’s time to start winding down, and it’ll give you a better night’s sleep in the long run.
How Can Lighting Systems Be Used in Industrial Settings?
In industrial settings, smart lighting systems can be used to address a multitude of challenges all at once. In the following sections, we’ll discuss the ways industrial businesses can use smart lighting systems to improve their operations:
Cutting Down on Costs With Smart Lighting Systems
Just like with the domestic systems, industrial ones can significantly reduce energy consumption and the expenses that come along with it. Further, if your business is using LED smart bulbs they won’t have to replace them nearly as often. They can last 5 times as long as the standard fluorescents you see in many workplaces today and therefore will pay for themselves over time.
In the industrial sector, this makes them a powerful tool to reduce business costs in a way that is unlikely to sacrifice entire jobs. Instead, this is the desirable kind of automation that usually doesn’t replace a whole job. Instead, it makes existing ones easier.
Companies like Amazon have invested in smart lighting because the maintenance and operating costs for logistics can be massively reduced using smart lighting. We’ll discuss how they do this in the following section in greater detail.
Monitor Important Data and Meet Lighting Standards
Smart lighting systems engage in what is known as data transmission. They don’t merely project light like regular old bulbs. This means that when it comes to monitoring them, it’s far easier than it would be with old fashion lights.
OSHA enforces lighting standards for industrial workplaces that require constant monitoring and care to ensure they are operating safely. Further, there are global standards that must be kept in mind when you’re thinking about industrial lighting. The lights have to stay within certain temperature, brightness, and energy efficiency ranges to be acceptable.
This leads to the increased maintenance and operating costs logistics departments have to deal with. That said, when you’re able to monitor everything remotely via data transmission, it becomes far easier to catch problems and resolve them quickly.
Industrial Grade Security Incorporating Smart Lighting Systems
Smart lighting systems can be used to boost security in industrial settings in much the same way that they do at home. They can even get an industrial business more bang for their buck because when a motion sensor goes off on a plant that is supposed to be closed, it will draw the attention of the police.
Further, the more advanced sensors can pick up on changes in motion even if the person isn’t directly under a light and even subtle changes in temperature. The increased security will mean increased peace of mind for the business owner and all of the workers.
Now that we’ve examined many of the ways smart lighting systems can improve life at home, let’s discuss some of the challenges they can present. Like all technologies, there are potential cons to using smart lighting systems. Still, like most other technologies these can mostly be overcome with proper planning and maintenance.
The following challenges can affect those who chose to use domestic smart lighting systems:
- Hefty upfront costs: The average cost of installing a basic smart lighting system in your home is $750, but it only goes up from there and can reach the tens of thousands, depending on the scope of your project. The route you choose will determine how long it is before you see a return on your investment.
- It requires your WiFi to work: If the WiFi in your area ever goes out, you’ll have to do things the old fashion way until it comes back. While it may not be the biggest deal when it comes to your daily activities, it can become an issue with security.
- There are still issues to be worked out: In the grand scheme of things, smart lighting systems are still a relatively new technology. As a result, some problems may arise. For example, there were hackers, who at one point, figured out how to use specific system brands to get into people’s networks. While this is unlikely, it can happen.
Though these downsides do exist they’re not the end of the world. The upfront costs will end up paying for themselves over time. The WiFi problem is unlikely to occur frequently and when it does the lights themselves should still work. Finally, the issues with security, while frightening, make up a tiny percentage of the systems on the market and have been addressed in many.
Are There Other Potential Challenges?
Businesses have their own set of challenges when it comes to implementing a smart lighting system in their workplaces.
Each of the following challenges is something you’ll have to think about if you’re planning on using smart lighting systems in the industrial sector:
- Industry trends change: These days technological development is occurring at an exponentially faster rate. Businesses can run the risk of being too late to the party and installing a system that won’t return on its investment for some time but will also be behind in just a few years.
- They also rely on the network: If a business’s network went down for a while this could cause some issues with the lights. Just like with domestic systems, they require a network.
- They have to stick to stricter standards: There are specific standards to which industrial lighting must comply. This can make installing any new system seem like a daunting task.
Similar to the cons of domestic smart lighting systems, these aren’t as big a problem as they might first seem.
Though smart lighting systems have been considered to be rapidly developing since 2017 (though they’ve existed before then), it doesn’t change the fact that you could be saving money and the existing ones will help you follow the industry standards.
Smart lighting systems can be used to enhance both domestic and industrial lighting. In both cases they can save a considerable amount of money by cutting back on energy costs and by the bulbs not needing to be replaced very often. Plus, business owners and homeowners reduce environmental issues that result from the same causes.
When it comes to what they can do, these systems are far more than just some wirelessly connected lights. In both homes and workplaces, they can be used for reducing environmental impact, real-time monitoring, security, entertainment, and more. As they continue to develop we expect that list will only grow longer.
If you found this article helpful, please let us know by voting, cheering us on, and sharing it with friends and colleagues.