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

As a result, smart lighting adoption has not spread as widely as many predicted. Geoffrey Fowler wrote about the problem with smart home adoption in a Wall Street Journal article, noting, "Most of us aren't lighting design pros. […] The current state of affairs cannot hold. […] But I'm also hoping Apple, Google or someone else will solve this problem with software."

Most manufacturers market and sell smart home devices as basic tools, not considering that many users are not knowledgeable on how to best use such tools. They leave it to the consumers to figure out what to do with them, and then are surprised that there is not wide adoption. They measure the usefulness of tools in terms of how much hardware is integrated across how many segments. Instead, the hardware manufacturer or software engineers should approach the ecosystem in terms of how the user experience should be improved to create added value for consumers, and how expert knowledge can be translated into the software.

To properly employ these devices, users require ample learning time to decipher product functionality and best practices for integrating smart technology in the home. All of these details can be addressed during the software creation process.

Instead of expounding upon complex technical advancements that the average user has trouble understanding and appreciating, the IoT community should focus instead on creating value for users. Attention should be diverted from techies, toward designers who can differentiate what creates most value to users. In addition, apps should no longer be considered a bonus for a piece of hardware; the value is actually reverse.

I strongly believe that smart lighting should be developed through the collaboration of three key players that need to work together to create one market offering: the hardware manufacturer, the software developer and the lighting designer. Together, these partners can create meaningful experiences that set up environments according to users' needs and activities, thus enhancing their lifestyles and overall well-being.

Beatrice Witzgall is an award-winning lighting designer and architect with more than 20 years of experience on hospitality, residential, commercial, institutional and superyacht projects. In 2014, she founded LumiFi, launching a smart lighting platform that incorporates lighting intelligence into new software. Her patent-pending algorithm marries lighting controls with the Internet of Things by analyzing the parameters for each light and assigning different attributes to create automatic, meaningful lighting experiences.

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