May/June 2015

What does the construction industry need to consider when it comes to M2M and IoT?

How are the trends around energy efficiency encouraging the use of connected tech in construction?
As the construction industry continues to strive to meet and support the demand for ‘green’ initiatives and energy-consumption regulatory compliance, more people are looking for ways to do so quickly and efficiently. This has driven widespread demand for innovative ways to design, install, and manage lighting systems within new and existing construction. As a solution, technology companies have created innovative and intelligent devices, which promote automation, deliver remote-monitoring capability, and offer additional features needed to quickly and properly enhance lighting systems without adding headcount and increasing expenses.

In addition, merging technology with construction projects provides those using and managing the building an incredible tool that provides actionable insight. The additional information can be used to make realtime decisions—which ultimately impact a company’s bottomline.

How are collaborative efforts between lighting suppliers and lighting tech companies producing new benefits for construction?
The lighting market has always focused on developing better and more efficient light sources, which reduce energy waste. However, integrated controls can increase savings by up to 80%. A perfect example of lighting evolution is the LED, which uses less energy and has a longer burn life than traditional bulbs. Products like this provide great enhancement to the industry. Their positive impact is increased when combined with technological innovation as part of the design. For example, creating a tropher with wireless control and integrated sensors is one of many capabilities considered by lighting suppliers and technology companies as they collaborate to meet the growing need for intelligent lighting. This translates to solution ready lighting fixtures that significantly reduce the scope and cost of implementing smart lighting. It also adds the benefit of accelerated installation time. Furthermore, the collaboration between these parties fosters long-term advantages, since the partnership not only addresses current marketplace trends, but also fosters strategic collaboration for the lighting needs and energy trends of the future.

What should project owners consider when evaluating the integration of smart lighting into their construction project?
There are many factors to consider when evaluating and identifying a lighting solutions provider. It is important to partner with someone who is established in the industry. This means the provider has both credibility and a reputation of providing knowledge and expertise. In such partnership, the provider not only addresses your immediate needs, but considers long-term opportunities and the risks of the installed solution based upon the construction type, use, and location. Other factors that should not be ignored include the provider demonstrating that the company’s products and solution are proven. The company should be able to cite active and deployed solutions in the marketplace. They should demonstrate how the solution contributes to cost reduction, while revealing additional opportunities for savings based upon the information gathered and tracked by the solution network. You should also ask yourself questions:

Do I need a solution that will benefit from using the cloud—or is my project size one that can reap the same benefits from a site-based solution?

Is this an indoor installation or an outdoor installation?

What if there is a long-term need to have both?

Can the selected provider come back and assist with additional projects if indoor and outdoor systems are one day needed?

A knowledgeable provider will suggest the best solution and have the ability to upgrade your network in the future, if needed, having designed the solution with this consideration in mind. The ideal solution is wireless, but it is key to note how the wireless lighting solution integrates and interacts with other smart systems within the construction zones. Can the provider offer site survey tools and assist in site planning? I would also encourage customers to evaluate the service level they are going to receive before, during, and after the installation. A good lighting provider is going to give you a solution, a great lighting provider is going to give you the solution you expect on time and within budget. A best-in-class provider will deliver more than what you asked—educating you before the install, listening to your needs, working to innovate new products, and giving unbeatable customer service, which will position you to save money.

What steps do lighting solutions providers take to ensure lighting controls and cloud-based networks are secure?
Security is always a concern and as society becomes more connected to the Internet, there is a greater focus on this topic. At Synapse, our security team is comprised of software, hardware, IT, business, and operations professionals who build security into the products as they are developed. In addition, we have a response team in place that is able to quickly react to vulnerabilities should they arise, then contain and recover as soon as possible; in addition, our products always meet industry security standards.

Another advantage our solutions have is the multi-hop functionality of our wireless network. In the unlikely event that one component or zone is compromised, there is an immediate alert and the other parts of the system are not affected. This is accomplished through the buffered communication that is built within the network. The system is designed to ensure the sensors within the network are authorized to communicate within the system and perform certain functions. In addition, we proactively and routinely perform quality checks on our software and products as well.

How is smart lighting impacting the construction industry?
Smart lighting is constantly evolving to not only meet the needs of today’s construction requirements, but also paving the way for future opportunities as well. While many may believe the primary focus and opportunity lies within new construction, there is actually a large market to upgrade the lighting systems for existing construction as well. The ability to retrofit and install smart lighting into existing structures is an even greater incentive for owners and managers of these buildings to consider smart lighting as an additional cost savings investment.

A solid, intelligent lighting solutions provider will approach both new and existing installs with the same desired outcome in mind: to automatically control lights and save the customer money.

What advantages are observed by clients who install solutions?
Customers who have smart lighting are usually impressed that the systems save them more money than anticipated. In addition, the systems provide data that was never captured before. This data can be used for further analysis and contribute to the optimization of energy consumption. Smart lighting also gives increased control with automated scheduling features, alerts, increased security, and more.

For example, we recently partnered with our sister company, McWane Ductile New Jersey, where we implemented smart lighting in the facility, resulting in a 78% energy savings.

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