Commercial smart lighting control systems: illuminating the future

Not too long ago, smart lighting control systems were a neat invention to show friends at dinner parties. We have moved far beyond the realm of clapping to switch lights on and off, however. It is becoming widely accepted that commercial smart lighting control systems can improve business practices, reduce carbon emissions, and save money. Indeed, it is lighting the way forward as a smart component of the built environment.

With the rapid pace at which smart building solutions have developed, many businesses are now seeing the true benefits of adopting smart lighting systems across the UK and globally. Digitally connected smart buildings hold the key to fully unlocking the potential of smart energy usage, improved security, and increased visibility within built spaces.

Take a look at our Complete Guide to Smart Buildings to find out the role smart lighting plays in this network of smart building solutions.

The real impact of lighting systems

Around 15% of the world’s electricity consumption and 5% of greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to lighting. It is also anticipated that, at our current rate of urbanisation and population growth, lighting demand is set to increase by 50% by 2030.

Adopting a new approach to lighting is both an environmental and economic imperative. As the UK and other countries continue to push towards a net-zero, carbon-neutral status, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to audit existing lighting systems and identify areas for improvement. Smart buildings will ultimately play a microcosmic role and smart city lighting is set to optimise lighting at a city-wide scale in the future.

Lighting, however, also has secondary subtle yet powerful and important roles to play on building occupant comfort, safety and security, and functionality.

How smart lighting works

LED lighting controls empower remote control and automation of building lighting systems. Commercial smart lighting control systems like those from Smarter Technologies Group comprise a system of smart plugs, smart bulbs, smart fixtures, and wall-smart switches that work together with sensors and IoT technology.

These systems collect and assimilate data, communicating this to a central building management dashboard. This creates a real-time blueprint of your building or buildings – and the status of the lighting – that is remotely accessible and actionable at all times. This dashboard is the control panel for automation. This could mean saving energy by automating lighting according to occupancy or aiding security efforts through pre-programmed motion detection and instant alerts.

Which smart lighting is the best? Top smart lighting control systems, like those available from Smarter Technologies Group:

  • Guide significant energy consumption reductions and cost savings
  • Improve bulb lifespan
  • Easily integrable and user-friendly
  • Have considerable security benefits
  • Enhance working environments

Benefits of commercial smart lighting control systems

Energy efficiency

The traditional approach to lighting commercial buildings is unsustainable when one considers the amount of wasted energy it generates. Lit parking lots and vacant offices, constantly lit hallways and unoccupied areas create easy room for improvement. However, when it comes to responsible power use, automation is the most effective way to reduce waste and improve lighting systems around actual occupancy.

Scheduling and occupancy monitoring, mentioned below, are a couple of the ways that energy efficiency is achieved through smart building lighting control systems. Smart LED solutions also provide optimal illumination levels and the data collected by smart building technologies allow for long-term strategy and action around actual occupant behaviour and natural light optimisation.

Making the case for safety

Smart lighting, combined with motion control sensors are an excellent deterrent against theft and damage to property. Studies have shown that outdoor lighting can reduce the chance of crime and anti-social behaviour by up to 39%. This makes it a significant consideration in any building’s security strategy. However, leaving lights on constantly during the night is not environmentally conscientious or financially prudent. Smart systems including motion detection and pre-programmed alerts around out-of-the-norm activity create smart, simplified ways to boost security through lighting.

Smart building systems do more than light an area when motion is detected. They can also provide alerts directly to your security team and interface directly with your security platforms to deter theft, help capture evidence, and provide accurate timestamps of when activity has occurred.

The question of safety extends beyond crime. From a safety perspective, lighting plays an important role for workers and customers. Slips and trips are the most common cause of injury at work in the UK, for instance. Poor lighting could certainly be flagged as a hazard during a risk assessment and so should be a focal point for employers.

Poor lighting can also cause eye strain, headaches, and accidents. Commercial smart lighting control systems have the ability to optimise lighting, avoid glare, and optimise the use of natural light in built environments – making them safer and more pleasant for occupants. In emergency situations such as fires or events requiring evacuation, good lighting can play a key role in lighting stairwells and passageways.

Scheduling and occupancy monitoring

Smart lighting systems can be programmed to automatically turn off outside of business hours. This removes the element of human error – when large lighting systems are left on by mistake. Alternatively, occupancy monitoring allows for lighting systems to only switch on when people are in its vicinity. This ensures that no lights are on unnecessarily and you never need to turn lights on or off.

The right light for your business

Studies on the effects of lighting on human health is evolving. However, research has shown that light affects building occupants in myriad ways. This includes everything from how our bodies react to natural light cycles to the role the wrong lighting can play in everything from eye strain and loss in productivity to workplace accidents.

Commercial smart lighting control systems contribute to a sense of balance between artificial light and daylight in office and workspaces. It is widely acknowledged that the right lighting impacts productivity, influences emotion, and contributes to wellbeing and this stands to be regulated through smart building lighting control systems.  

Smart lighting systems have the ability to transition from blue lighting to warmer tones according to the function and circumstances of a building. By using data, this can be adapted to the daily needs of the building’s occupants to create an engineered light system and an enhanced work environment.  

Additionally, some commercial enterprises use lighting for its ambient quality. For example, restaurants may adjust their lighting according to the time of day to create a comfortable atmosphere for diners. These adjustments stand to be optimised and streamlined through the automation on offer from smart LED systems.

With a smart lighting system – you can optimise day-to-day processes and align these lighting settings to optimise productivity.

Your name in lights

These days, it is common for lighting to be used as a marketing and branding tool in built environments. On closer inspection, keeping your signage and branding in lights could be at odds with your green goals, however. It could also pique the attention of green-minded consumers – and the impact of your reputation will be at odds with your marketing efforts.

Again, smart lighting solutions can be adapted to ensure lighting is optimally used and is turned off during daylight hours to mitigate energy waste.

What Are the Disadvantages of Smart Lighting?

Among regular criticisms of smart lighting systems is the cost of installation. The outlay costs need to be quantified alongside potential benefits and savings over time. It is also a good idea to look for smart LED solutions that are designed to be easily integrable, scalable, and cost-effective – making the transition to smart technologies more accessible.

Are smart lights worth it?

Combining the use of low-energy, smart LED bulbs with smart building capabilities – such as occupancy and building movement monitoring – allows for businesses to make real gains when it comes to energy efficiency, cost savings, practical lighting solutions and AI capability, as well as occupancy optimisation and security.

Additionally, building lighting control systems should not necessarily be viewed in isolation. Incorporating smart technology into operations provides full visibility of workplace behaviour and efficacy in real-time. These data insights allow for better auditing and optimisation of other energy and operational practices. In multi-site operations where this information can be hard to come by through other means, this information can be vital to saving costs and improving efficiency.

Where to start with your commercial smart lighting control system

Every building has bespoke lighting requirements. Our team of experts at Smarter Technologies Group are on hand to audit your current lighting systems and provide guidance for your particular set of needs. With cutting-edge technology and the expertise to match smart solutions to your business operations, we’ll identify the best route forward and take charge of implementing these systems for you.

The future pivots on the power of data. Contact Smarter Technologies Group today to find out more about the role of commercial smart lighting control systems within the broader context of smart buildings and let’s take your operations into the future.

Contact us to find out more about how our team can implement smart lighting systems in your business.