PoE: the Future of Commercial & Industrial Lighting
Everyone in the lighting industry recognizes the impact that proper lighting has on safety, performance and productivity. But recent technological developments in Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting are poised to help the electrical industry take those basic functions to an entirely new level.
What is Power over Ethernet (PoE) Lighting?
It’s no secret that LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) is rapidly replacing incandescent, halogen, and even fluorescent lights (CFLs) in commercial and industrial use. LED’s longer operational life, higher energy efficiency, and more compact size give them the distinct advantage.
Traditionally LEDS have been powered by standard AC. Now, however, modern Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology enables DC powering of LED lighting.
While system efficiency is comparable for both traditional AC and DC, PoE technology offers many added benefits obtained by networking the lights using the Ethernet local area network (LAN).
PoE offers the capability to change both the color and intensity of the lighting, enabling end users to “dial in” their personal lighting preferences via computer network or smartphone application. PoE also enables all of the lighting in a single facility to be controlled and adjusted from a single point.
PoE and Personally Optimized Lighting
In a commercial building, utility costs typically account for 1% of the budget, while employees comprise roughly 90% of a company’s operating costs. Harnessing the power of a PoE lighting control system, employers can take merely adequate lighting, and “personally optimized” it to improve employee productivity, morale and well-being.
Industry studies show that when workers are polled, more than 50% would like to improve the lighting in their workspace. Personally Optimized Lighting offers employees a menu of positive lighting attributes from which they can choose – to customize their work-space and improve their productivity.
Personally Optimized Lighting also has similar applications in the healthcare arena, where patients and providers can control a variety of lighting attributes for optimal comfort and treatment. Similarly, Personally Optimized Lighting can be utilized in educational institutions (from pre-school through university) to create adaptive learning environments depending upon age of pupil, time of day and course of study (e.g. reading time vs. lab work vs. physical activity).
PoE and Better Power Management
LED light fixtures powered by PoE are able to be paired with sensors, wireless communication modules, and embedded processors into smart hubs – in order to take advantage of emergent Internet of Things (IoT) technologies without additional, expensive lighting replacement.
This means that the PoE network can enable better overall network power management – by offering single point control over the power of all of the connected lighting. Additionally, almost all LAN systems run battery backup – meaning the connected PoE/DC LED lighting will continue to function during power outages. This can lead to substantial savings for employers by avoiding costly closures and downtime due to power outages – as operations can continue with the PoE/DC lighting running.
The Future of Power over Ethernet (PoE) Lighting
Lighting industry experts and IoT visionaries concur that by the year 2020 PoE/DC LED lighting will be the industry standard. By 2020 fully integrated PoE lighting systems are expected to be the norm in replacing collections of independent lighting components – providing lighting that adapts as the user’s needs change.
Demand for PoE lighting is expected to increase, as employers recognize the cost savings of PoE lighting’s ability to improve the performance and well-being of employees in commercial, industrial, educational, healthcare and office environments.
Single, unified PoE lighting systems will also be increasingly desired for their ability to offer businesses better usage management (and energy conservation) across an entire facility – or even group of facilities.
Indeed, “the future is now!” And every lighting professional needs to stay ahead of the curve with PoE lighting technologies, in order to remain competitive as this segment of the lighting market dramatically expands in the coming years.