We hear a lot about ‘smart’ technology at the moment - smart TVs and smart fridges in the home, extending to smart buildings and even smart cities. But what does ‘smart’ really mean?

Too often, the terminology is used to simply mean web connected or app operated. But for connected devices and solutions to really be smart, they must be able to deliver insight and control back to the user.
As a conduit for connectivity and data, lighting has one major advantage – it is everywhere that people are. LED lighting can act as a platform to deliver a wide variety of intelligent applications and improved functionality. Whilst this presents businesses with myriad options it also demands a change of mindset. Business leaders must recognise the emergence of lighting provision as an essential element of business strategy rather than a legacy service.
Distinct and tailored lighting solutions exist to control lighting at room, floor, building and city level. These are non-proprietary, open-architecture solutions, designed to work with existing IT platforms and to allow scalability. The onus is on decision-makers to understand current needs but to also project forward so that lighting installed today can deliver insight and value for years to come.
Often, such expertise will not exist in-house. As lighting solutions become evermore sophisticated, so the value of third-party expert consultancy grows. The importance of the right lighting cannot be overplayed. We worked with a nursing home in Vienna to establish the correct light levels and colour temperature. Colour temperature has a proven effect on mood, and by adjusting its lighting the nursing home has reported an increase in the level of sociability between residents and a decrease in the amount of drugs issued. Significant results.
Today’s lighting decisions are not solely about light provision but also about the type and frequency of data that is captured and how that data might then improve business performance. Solutions must have the flexibility and ease of control to adapt to changing room, building or city needs.
The days of businesses being held to ransom over legacy lighting service contracts are over. Lighting as a service moves lighting provision to a true partnership where the performance of the lighting solution is managed by experts over its lifetime. Today’s sophisticated controls and systems are taking lighting beyond illumination towards data capture and business insight. The smart buyers are those that use this capability strategically to deliver tangible business benefits now, and ongoing strategic advances well into the future.