The Explosive Demand for Sensor-Based Intelligent Environments


Industrial companies are fueling the explosive growth in sensor-based intelligent environments. Evidence of such growth is seen in the skyrocketing production of GE’s Albeo LED fixture, which has grown from 20,000 units to 1 million in just five years.

Much of the growth stems from manufacturers’ increasing desire for intelligent, digitally connected lighting. Current, an arm of GE, reported that Albeo fixtures equipped with sensors doubled from 16% of shipments in 2015 to 30% in 2016. By 2020, Current expects the number of digitally connected units to exceed 90%. Companies like GM, Cummins, Nissan and Berry are just a few that have turned to sensor-based LED lighting.

“Industrial customers are quickly realizing that the most efficient lighting solution is one that communicates with other building systems and solves a plethora of business challenges all at once,” said Maryrose Sylvester, President & CEO of Current by GE.

For most commercial buildings, lighting represents approximately 40% of all energy consumption. Today, the industry has advanced beyond simple energy efficiency benefits, as Fortune 500 companies are increasingly using intelligent lighting to streamline operations, reduce maintenance costs and improve employee safety and productivity.

In addition to reducing energy expenses by 60%, the sensor-enabled fixtures collect data on temperature, humidity and movement. When fixtures work together to share insights across GM’s entire footprint, the company can realize even greater efficiencies.

“The energy story is a critical starting point, but it is only part of the promise of intelligent building technologies,” explained Casey Talon, Principal Research Analyst at Navigant Research. “As the market continues to mature, a more comprehensive story is unfolding around the business value of digital transformation in commercial buildings.”

On a similar note, a recent experiment by the Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab found that using advanced lighting and automated shades resulted in a reduction of lighting energy use of nearly 80%. The project was launched to show that installing the latest generation of smart, actively controlled energy efficient lighting and shading can dramatically lower energy costs and enhance the quality of the work environment in office buildings.

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