The Current Problem With Value Creation in the IoT Smart Lighting Industry

Lighting is more than a basic necessity; it has the power to improve our well-being and health. But the IoT industry needs more than sensors to make smart lighting, well, smart.
By Beatrice Witzgall
Nov 13, 2015

The media has extensively covered new ecosystems that use sensor technology and other innovations to make our lives easier and our homes smarter, via the Internet of Things (IoT). But it has only sparingly addressed the need for expert guidance needed to best utilize such tools to design meaningful experiences. To achieve the optimal value of such innovations, the average homeowner requires experts, which are expensive to obtain. To resolve this issue, innovators need to create simple, intuitive mobile interfaces that allow users to easily manage smart homes without exhaustive technical guidance.

As a lighting design professional, I currently see a lack of value creation through IoT-enabled lighting. Providing a remote color-changing light switch on your smartphone is not enough. The opportunity is to create dynamic smart lighting scenes that enhance people's activities, experiences and well-being. Lighting and architectural design aspects need to be incorporated in software and hardware to create that additional intelligence.

Lighting is very complex and often difficult for untrained individuals to manage. Yet, light not only has the power to illuminate spaces, but also creates an atmosphere, influences emotions and even impacts the human body. Lighting is one of these intangible things that has a major impact on quality of life, but most people have no idea how to control it in a way that maximizes these benefits.

Currently, most IoT software interfaces that work in conjunction with smart lighting only offer a remote light switch for a lamp, and possibly some additional features, such as a timer or scheduling. These software interfaces address basic utilitarian lighting needs, but do not add value to an end user's life with personalized mood settings designed to benefit that individual's well-being.

Many users are overwhelmed by the complicated technical setup process required for connected lighting systems, and therefore miss out on truly understanding what smart lighting has the power to do. End users may spend countless hours using trial and error to figure out how to set up a lighting scene. They play with different dimming options and color settings for each light within a space in an attempt to find the right combination. Manipulating lighting values and settings in a manner that creates light scenes, which produce meaningful experiences, requires years of expertise and training.

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