EINDHOVEN: PHILIPS HAS SHOWN OFF its Ethernet-powered connected lighting for offices of the future, which can transmit data to mobile devices through light via embedded code.
Arriving in the form of LED "luminaires", Philips' connected office lighting will aim to not only save businesses money on energy costs, but also serve as a means of providing information and data about the general running of a building, transmitted through light, to improve the overall efficiency of business infrastructure.
"These luminaires of ours have become so efficient that with less than 30 Watts of power we can actually generate more than 3000 lumen of light, which is really a lot of light - more than enough for an office," the firm's global director of internet connected lighting systems Onno Willemse told The INQUIRER on Friday during our time at the Philips Lighting High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
"And what we also found out that a standard computer cable coming from a standard powered suite in a building [...] by connecting it to a standard IT infrastructure we generate connected light. That's a technology we have where we can make [the luminaire] an IP device - a new standard IP luminaire - a 'light emitting computer'."
The Ethernet cable-connected luminaire means that Philips has been able to develop another technology on top of the lighting, where the light can be used as a means of communication with embedded code.
"Over the light, we can project a code - its number, its IP address, its MAC address - making each fixture unique and recognisable," Willemse added. "We can also receive that light on our mobile phones, so if you hold the lens of a mobile device under the luminaire, it actually reads the code and makes a connection to it over WiFi."
By focusing on the fixture with the lens of a mobile device, in this case - a mobile phone, it reads the code via a specially designed app and gives the user control of the light. It also means the mobile device knows where you are located in the building via the positioning of the connected luminaires. The picture below shows the screen of the connected mobile device on a TV set, where the light intensity can be controlled via an app.
"So imagine the use case: you enter the office, you throw your phone on the table, it locks in with the light [and] it knows exactly which room you are in and then lets you control the room," Willemse explained. "Then you go to another room, you put your phone there it synchronises through and then you can control the meeting room, too, for example, so the indoor location is anonymously organised as it recognises your device."
The system can also make in-context intelligence and services available throughout office spaces by outfitting LED luminaires with intelligent devices - such as locator beacons, sensors, and transmitters built into the luminaire's housing - and connecting them to intelligent monitoring and management systems.
"Another thing is this luminaire consists of a sensor and in our commercial fixtures we can have empty face plates - an empty slot so that when the facility [is developed] and has more information on the building, such as temperature, humidity, occupancy, air quality, or whatever - or wants to install future technologies, such as 'Greentooth' - an imaginary new technology for communication - they can leverage our digital ceiling to add this component into it and make the building owners keep their buildings accurate for new communication information technologies."
Willemse said that this is the main purpose of the connected office lighting: to help others keep their building infrastructures accurate, fast and up-to-date as well as being a simple way of scaling information needs as well as other upcoming communications trends.
After Philips' Willemse had demonstrated its connected office luminaires, the firm then took us to a mock supermarket to show off the technology in a retail environment. The video below shows how the mobile device - in this case an iPad Mini - was able to present where exactly the device was on the shop floor due to the signal in the lights being transmitted to the iPad's camera.
Philips believes that this technology could also be used as a more accurate means of indoor location services, and a supermarket environment for example could see the implementation of this technology via advertisements for promotions of products straight to users' mobile devices as they pass the part of an aisle where a product is stocked. µ