The pandemic has changed how we interact with the physical world and has taught us to follow a more stringent hygiene routine. Well-being, Health holistic way of life and Maintaining cleanliness are the most important tools to score over the virus. The trend has significantly increased consumer interest in exploring Lighting beyond illumination – and thus well-being is scoring high in tandem with contactless product categories making the smart lighting industry mainstream in India and across the globe.

Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary responses. With the advent of new technologies such as IoT and AI etc., the lighting industry continues to transform our society by promoting a healthy and sustainable environment around us. The adoption of smart, eco-friendly, and IoT based technologies in lighting is expected to increase in the coming years. By using artificial intelligence and machine learning motto is to make buildings that think and remember.

Let us discuss a few trends that will redefine the lighting industry:

Human-centric lighting: The modern-day worker spends around 8-12 hours at the workplace each day. Therefore, designing workspaces that foster employee wellbeing and boost efficiency is imperative today. Human health and productivity are at the heart of human-centric lighting and those aim at creating a work environment that is in harmony with our bodies’ internal clocks, also called the circadian rhythm. It does so by mimicking the natural daylight and different hours of the day. Moreover, human-centric lighting also helps in uplifting people’s moods and improving visibility. The lighting industry is headed towards solutions that do not come at the cost of one’s health and foster a workplace that leads to doubling of employee wellbeing, productivity as well as creativity. Lighting should add value to visual performance. There are 20,000 clusters of neurons in our brain known as SUPRACHIASMATIC Nuclei that forms our biological clock mainly responsible for our awaken and sleep patterns. When the circadian rhythm is disturbed major sleep happens. However, in today’s world the nights are days and the days are nights for many of us. The solution is to choose and implement correct form of light for the respective spaces and the journey of therapy starts from here for the people associated with lighting industry, as the human biological clock is ingrained and developed since millions of years. LED Lights should adhere to photo biological safety standard. Increased usage of Tunable white light limiting exposure to Blue lights and thus mimicking the natural light pattern is expected from all manufacturers. It is important to remember you need blue light first thing in the morning to shut off your melatonin production. As it is an important part of your circadian rhythm, you should also seek to reduce your exposure to blue light after 7 p.m. when the sun naturally begins to set.

Smart and contactless lighting: Lighting that remembers walkways and think ahead –  so you don’t have to. The contactless product category is set to provide a boost to the smart lighting ecosystem in India. Even though this technology has been around for a while now, but its adoption has been fairly low. Now with the new normal smart lighting is set to evolve in the direction of contactless products. In addition to enabling hygiene in a post-pandemic due to touchless operation, it will also promote ease of usage, sustainability, and energy savings, etc.

With Smart Lighting, each luminaire can be controlled remotely using Network Powered Lighting Controller and configurations of a specific area can be adapted conveniently through an interface accessible on a phone, tablet, or computer. According to the report ‘Smart Lighting Market in India 2019,’ the smart lighting industry in India was valued at INR 7.63 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach INR 80.56 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of ~48.87% during the forecast period. The focus will need to be on real time personalisation combining individual consumer behaviour and past data to build enriched user profiles

Smart Thermostats, App-Enabled LED Lighting next Growth Opportunities: Success of Nest’s digital thermostats, which learn about a user’s habits over time and anticipate changes, intuitive control has arrived in the lighting world. Alexa on Amazon Echo, Google nest on Assistant Siri on Apple Home Pod, and Cortana on Harman Kardon-Microsoft Invoke can control lighting at home through voice commands. Soon, the market will also be able to see gesture controls and motion detecting smart lighting technology, which will further decrease human-to-electrical interaction. The thermostat does more than just read the home’s temperature — it records data to illustrate how the indoor climate fluctuates through the day. Devices need to learn the movement patterns in the space they are installed and use those patterns to adjust the luminaire operations to offer an unobtrusive experience. Sensors should easily adapt to possible changes, such as, a wall installation or removal. Being one step ahead of you means you will never enter a dark space again. Bandwidth will cease to be a constraint when it comes to connectivity as we move from 4G to 5G. Consuming less power effortlessly connected on wireless and proliferation of pocket friendly data usage. No doubt the air around is buzzing with a gazillion zeros and ones every second, data streams that connect hundreds of devices and control units.

Lighting for smart cities: In the cities of the future, smart lighting infrastructure will become a part of the primary city infrastructure. Due to its presence throughout the city, connected streetlights will also offer enormous potential to be part of a city-wide network capable of acquiring data and delivering information and services to and from tons of devices, from garbage bins to autonomous vehicles. Lighting poles with smart streetlights will also provide Wi-Fi and RF connectivity, pollution level detection, monitor parking areas, identify road hazards, public notification system, smart screens for advertising, and more.

Autonomous vehicles will be able to navigate safely with the aid of sensors in streetlights that scan the road and pavements. Therefore, smartly managed city lighting will fulfill many functions for municipal governments, enhance the beauty of the cityscape and enable drivers, pedestrians, and autonomous vehicles to navigate the roads effortlessly. Usage of networked technology win Smart Lighting for Smart cities represent an interesting opportunity that want to get smarter. Compatibility, scalability in terms of the overall network size as well as in terms of upgrades of future applications/functionality should be considered.

Solar lighting: The energy demand is endless and increasing every day. Solar lighting is a great alternative to traditional lighting. The adoption of solar lighting is expected to rise due to more and more people opting for renewable sources of energy. In 2018, the global market of solar lighting was valued at USD 3,128.3 million and the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.9% from 2019–2027. Solar based LED lighting solutions will fulfill the requirements of the consumers at a lower cost, which is predicted to boost the growth of the market.

Li-fi: Li-fi or light fidelity refers to mobile wireless technology that uses light rather than radio frequencies to transmit data. It is much more efficient when it comes to power and cost consumption. Since it uses LED bulbs for communication, these bulbs can double up as regular lighting for a household reducing power consumption of a LiFi network and making it far efficient than existing technologies. Additionally, due to the use of LED bulbs, LiFi can be made available everywhere by replacing traditional LED bulbs with LiFi compatible bulbs. It is also much more secure as the technology makes use of the visible light spectrum. Thus, it cannot penetrate through walls making it difficult for unauthorized access.

Corona times has shown “When you become comfortable with uncertainty, Infinite Possibilities open up in your life.” — Eckhart TolleI. It is natural to uphold a level of control, yet we need uncertainty to prevail since the seeds of opportunity lie in the unexpected. At a deeper level, we fear uncertainty because we lack the life skills to navigate through it. Lighting fraternity will need to be customer centric and responsive to the needs. Being Non-customer centric will be to my view the biggest threat in business.

Parag Bhatnagar
Sr. Vice President at Havells India Ltd

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