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Network Standard Emerges for Smart Lighting Solutions

One challenge in adding intelligence to traditionally dumb devices, such as lights, is a variety of network transports have sprung up through the years. Recently, a handful of industry consortiums banded together to develop a common model: the IP Building and Lighting Standards (IP-BLiS).

BACnet International, KNX Association, OCF, Thread Group and the Zigbee Alliance are all working together to develop the common network standard. This approach offers several potential benefits.

Currently, utilities and facilities managers bounce among different user interfaces to determine what is happening with different lighting systems. With a standard protocol, they control a variety of smart lights from one central console.

Also hardware-based gateways become unnecessary because lighting devices communicate via a common network stack: TCP/IP. The emerging standard meshes with new Internet of Thing (IoT) solutions, which are the foundation of many new smart energy devices.

But the work faces challenges. The various networking options have different foundations, so it becomes challenging to find common group. Support for the standard will add processing overhead to smart lights.

Networks provide visibility to remote end points, like business and residential lights. To date, utilities had trouble managing such devices because they ran on autonomous network stacks. IP-BLiS, has the potential to not only provide greater visibility to all systems but also to make it simpler for utilities to monitor such connections.  

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