Smart lighting solutions have evolved rapidly over the last decade, with data-collecting sensors now commonplace. In this data-generating environment, artificial intelligence has naturally emerged as a solution. AI solutions promise to streamline efficiency and revolutionise the systems businesses use to organise their building maintenance, stock management, and logistics. AI can maximise the scheduling, power consumption, and efficiency of lights throughout a building. With lighting accounting for around 15% of global electricity consumption, the scope of such application is enormous.
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AI and smart lighting controls
Currently, the most popular energy-saving combination in the lighting industry are, commercial LED lights controlled by a PIR sensor system. This system, composed of simple passive infrared sensors (PIR sensors), turns lights on when motion is detected. The key disadvantages of this system include:
- Unnecessary energy consumption: each time motion is detected, the timer resets. When this timer is set for too long, low footfall spaces remain lit when unoccupied. This inefficiency, multiplied across an estate, results in significant costs.
- PIR sensor systems are frustrating: A common frustration is lights that turn off too soon, as is common in high occupancy, low footfall spaces such as offices. When sat still for longer than the timer, the lights turn off. The lights remain off until motion is detected, at which point the lights turn back on.
AI-based sensor systems can eliminate these problems with powerful self-learning and anonymised observation tools. For instance, an augmented AI camera in place of multiple PIR sensors provides both presence and motion recognition. Therefore, by dynamically lighting spaces where people are in real-time, AI solves the problems of traditional PIR systems. Furthermore, AI-generated insights can measure and increase operational efficiency and improve workforce wellbeing and productivity.
What are the benefits of AI smart lighting?
By lighting areas based on occupancy, AI-based smart lighting systems will provide the right light, in the right place, at the right time. Research suggests that AI sensor controls could reduce operational lighting energy costs by up to 60% (dependent on room size and occupancy). In addition, upfront capital will reduce as an AI system can replace up to 10 standard motion sensors at a fraction of the cost.
Improved employee wellbeing
Lighting levels contribute to the health and wellbeing of employees. An NHS study estimated that 86 million workdays are lost, per year, due to migraines in the UK alone. AI-driven smart lighting can automatically adjust variables like colour temperature and dimming to reduce computer screen glare. In turn, this will reduce light-related migraines and improve employee wellbeing and performance.
AI smart lighting controls explained
An AI-enabled IoT smart lighting system could operate in the following way:
- AI-augmented stereoscopic cameras will be placed at the high point of a room to track motion.
- A small device attached to each light fitting provides a Bluetooth connection and enables the AI camera to communicate what lights to turn on, dim, and turn off.
- As a result, operational efficiency increases by only lighting occupied areas where needed.
With further development, it will be possible to develop an AI sensor and lighting system that is gesture controlled. By adding intuitive elements to lighting environments, AI gesture control is on track to complement and replace traditional interface controls like touchscreen and APPS.
“We’re able to dynamically light the area based on a person’s position and occupancy” – Dr Elliot Richardson, AI and Data Science Specialist at EGG Lighting
Creating automated and tailored lighting environments
Introducing AI to the lighting industry has the potential to produce personalised lighting environments. As a self-learning sensor system, AI could learn an individual’s light preferences through pattern tracking and person recognition. Therefore, over time, AI lighting systems will be able to create tailored lighting scenes based on user preference. Furthermore, cameras augmented with AI will monitor light level sensors and seamlessly adjust light levels to provide occupants with the optimal lighting levels, such as redirecting light near windows to lower levels than those closer to dark corners.
Person detection will be at the forefront of AI decision-making processes. Therefore, when sitting still, people will no longer be plunged into darkness, as is often the case with traditional motion sensor lights. Instead, AI will ensure that you get the right light, in the right place, at the right time.
AI and data security
As with any AI, IoT, and Bluetooth-enabled device and system, it is necessary to establish and maintain data security. With this in mind, developing a system that can operate offline, not storing data, and using 32-bit encryption throughout the network could mitigate security worries.