Strategies Unlimited recently conducted an in-depth market wide study where it surveyed market professionals such as lighting designers, engineers, product managers, lighting sales managers and other industry players to assess some rising trends in the connected lighting market. The responses were highly enthusiastic with approximately 150 lighting professional giving their opinions on where they saw connected lighting headed. Networked lighting or connected lighting has been such a hot topic that buzz words linked to this market are darting out in nearly every article related to LED lighting, general lighting or energy savings. That being said, this market itself is in its infancy, which means there is a lot of uncertainty and even misinformation out there. One burning question that many industry players are asking is: what should manufacturers and/or lighting/controls/network suppliers be investing into with so many protocols and lighting communication technologies currently in the market? With no industry standard dictating the lighting protocol to be used for professional indoor lighting, we thought our market surveys might be able to steer us in a more “enlightened” direction.
For the purpose of this survey respondents were asked to specify what lighting communication technology they thought will dominate the indoor lighting market in the next 3-5 year. The provided options were: DALI, DMX, Li-Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 6LoWPAN, Power line Communication, Analog, EnOcean, Power over Ethernet or Other. Close to half of the respondents suggested that ZigBee, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will dominate the indoor lighting market in the coming years. The respondents were also asked to respond by the specific lighting applications such as for retail, office, hospitality and industrial. All applications except for industrial echoed similar responses that ZigBee, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will dominate the indoor lighting market in the coming years. Below are the results for the retail, office, hospitality and industrial lighting applications.
The results were surprising in some ways. Strategies Unlimited is currently conducting research for the Connected Indoor Lighting market and our initial research indicates that ZigBee and DALI are the predominately installed protocols in the current market. Our survey results however, indicate that DALI is not being considered as one of the major protocols for connected lighting in the future. It was also surprising to see that Wi-Fi was being considered as a big contender in the connected lighting space. Our initial research indicated that Wi-Fi may have difficulties in scaling to large projects and that it might impede on the network bandwidth of a building. It is interesting to see that maybe the market does not have such an impression regarding Wi-Fi and this needs to get delve into deeper.
The responses to the data can be interpreted in a number of ways since it is still too early to take a hard stance for one protocol over another. These responses could be suggesting that ZigBee, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will be the dominate protocols used in indoor lighting applications with other protocols in the market slowly fading away. It can also suggest that there is still too much confusion and uncertainty in the market so manufacturers are carrying multiple lighting technologies in their product line so that they can cater to various customer.