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Philips and Cisco partner on smart lighting for networks

29 Dec 2015

Companies developing Internet of Things-Power over Ethernet solution based on joint skills in LED lighting and communications.

Integrated: LED lighting and optical networks.

Integrated: LED lighting and optical networks.

Optical and communications giants Royal Philips (“Philips”) and Cisco have announced a global strategic alliance aimed at addressing the Internet of things (IoT) in the commercial office lighting market.

In their joint announcement, the partners said that the commercial office lighting market has been “a stable but fast growing market for some time now”, adding, “However with Philips and Cisco now aligned, this agreement could signal a significant shift in the direction for the industry.”

“Lighting in the IoT has recently been a major topic of conversation in lighting and communications companies," the partners added. "Although the concept of smart lighting in commercial applications has been around for decades, control systems are becoming more complex, and the recent evolution of the IoT is helping companies beyond the lighting industry see new possibilities and take advantage of the increased opportunities that a smart lighting system can provide. Facilities managers can now not only increase efficiency, but also help improve employee productivity.”

Power and communications

Current lighting control systems typically employ a dedicated lighting control network, using either a wired system (such as DALI) or a wireless system. However with the falling power needs of the latest high-efficiency LED lights, it is now possible to provide both power and communications capability to a luminaire using just one connection.

The partners say that POE offers the benefits of high data-rate communications via lighting luminaires, while also providing enhanced security options and reducing installation costs using infrastructure already installed in the building: “It can even remove the need for a dedicated lighting-control network completely. However POE has only recently become commercially viable in lighting control systems, and so it has yet to achieve any significant penetration in the market.”

How the partnership will work

The companies say that the new alliance brings together Philips’ LED based connected lighting system and Cisco’s IT network capbilities to address a global market they estimate to be worth at least €1 billion. Philips and Cisco will also collaborate on a joint go-to-market strategy.

Bill Bien, SVP, Head of Strategy and Marketing, at Philips Lighting, commented, “Customers will receive the best energy efficient lighting experience in the connected world and be able to use information acquired from their connected lighting system to save energy, reduce costs, improve productivity and optimize their workspace environment. Lighting that is connected to highly secure, reliable IT infrastructure will form the backbone of the smart office of the future.”

Edwin Paalvast, SVP EMEAR, Cisco and executive sponsor of the alliance, said, “By working with Philips, we can help building owners more quickly digitize their lighting networks to drive better user experiences and efficiency. By partnering with Philips, we are delivering a reliable PoE-powered LED lighting solution using a highly secure IT network.”

To showcase how the companies can work together in this field, Cisco is installing a state-of-the-art Philips connected lighting system at its Canadian headquarters in Toronto, Canada.

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