Over recent years, our various devices have started to be more connected to each other. Our phones recognise when we are in our car and switch to that system automatically, for example. Some phones go even further and activate a driving mode to limit the number of notifications in order to minimise distractions. Another example is the smart watch, which not only gives you information without having to fish your phone out of your pocket, but can also monitor physical indicators like pulse. The gadgets in our lives are getting more and more useful with this interconnectedness and it only makes sense that our lighting systems follow suit.
Much of this technology was initially developed for large scale projects like shopping malls, university campuses and factories. Using sensors to have lights turn off after a set period of inactivity in a space can save facilities like that significant money in power and lamp replacement. Moving forward, engineering departments got involved and started receiving information from these sensors and light fixtures too, so they could monitor power consumption and schedule maintenance. Now these systems seem to be all around us, in office or apartment buildings, hotels and airports to name a few.
This is all very utilitarian, though. Whilst the benefits are obvious, little thought has been given to the people using these spaces. Lights would [and still do!] snap on to full intensity when you walk into a room, or suddenly turn off if you were sitting down. We’ve all been in the situation of waving our arms around to try to get a sensor to recognise us and turn the lights back on. But things are improving at a significant rate now, which is where our passion for technology really shines through.
With the introduction of multi-coloured LEDs, wireless capabilities, apps and more advanced control systems, our lighting systems are able to become much functional than before. Not only can we use gentle fades when a person is detected in a room, but we can also work with heat and CO2 sensors to know if someone is actually still in the room or not. More usefully, we can use control systems to automatically bring up settings at certain time of the day. This can also be set by geographical locations, so we can account for the different dusk and dawn times as the seasons change.
More interestingly, systems like Siri, Nest and Cortana are able to get to know your routine [if you let them] and some can even tell if you’ve left the office. The newer lighting systems can get triggers from these to set the lights as you like just as you’re about to arrive home. Or for something more personal, we can make lights flash a certain colour when you are tagged on a social media site or your favourite team scores a goal. Perhaps you’d like the lights to change colour with the weather outside? Or have one change colour briefly when your order has been received on a home delivery site? Almost anything is possible with current control systems and fixtures.
Much of this is possible even in rented homes, and we are able to implement even more bespoke connected experiences in new projects.
So what are you waiting for? Get in touch and see how we can help you!