Is this the future of commercial LED lighting?
Thanks to the wonders of (solid-state) LED lighting, imagine this; you’ve been online shopping for a few items you need to pick up at your local Target outlet. Using Targets (free) app, you’ve added them to your digital wish list.
Off to the store…
Upon arrival, with your Bluetooth setting ON and Target’s app up and running on your mobile phone, you receive an invitation to enjoy a free coffee at the in-store Starbucks. This is Target’s welcoming gift to get you off to a great start!
Let the shopping begin…
Now it’s time to track down the items on your list. But instead of guessing directions, your smart phone shows you exactly where you are in the store, and the shortest route to the first item on the list.
How accurate is this in-store GPS? To within 10 cm, or less than half-an-inch of the item on your list. In other words; very accurate.
So let’s say your shopping list includes a new pair of running shoes for that 10K run you’ve been meaning to enter for the past few months; “If only I had the right shoes…then I’d enter.”
As you approach the shoe department you’re presented with promotional deals and recommendations, as well as a coupon for a pair of Nike’s on sale this week. You can even see what running shoes are trending on Pinterest!
Can’t find the size you’re looking for? No problem… your app even includes a feature to request help from a store team member!
Well… no more excuses – race ON!
Introducing Visible Light Technology
This imagined shopping experience is just one small example of the way visible light technology (VLC) has the power to change the way we interact and communicate using nothing more than your smart phone’s camera, and everyday LED light bulbs.
Here’s how it works: Communication through visible light technology is accomplished by switching a light source on and off, similar to a Morse code signal. However, to serve as a practical source of illumination, this on/off switching must be transmitted so fast that it’s not detected. That’s where intelligent LED lighting can provide the ideal solution.
LED lighting, also known as solid-state lighting (SSL), are made from LED chips which are semiconductor devices similar to silicon chips. LEDs can switch on and off at very high speeds that were not possible with older light bulb technologies such as fluorescent and incandescent lamps. Speeds are so fast they are invisible to the eye.
When producing light, the luminaires (LEDs) emit unique codes, which are read by the mobile device’s camera. However, the luminaire light levels can be dimmed down so low that light is not detected, yet the signals still transmit.
What Does the Future Hold for VLC Technology?
- Smart Buildings will include smart lighting where VLC technology provides the infrastructure for illumination, control and communications. In addition this can reduce wiring and energy consumption within the building.
- Automobiles, traffic signage, traffic lights, and street lights are quickly adopting LED technology, creating massive applications for visible light to communicate between these devises.
- Navigation within Malls, Airports, and Public Spaces is ideally suited to visible light communications. Light sources can be uniquely identified, so the location of any VLC enabled LED light source can be identified quickly and accurately, including outdoor LED lighting.
- In the aviation industry, radio frequency RF signals within the passenger compartments of aircraft are undesirable. Commercial LED lighting is already used for lighting and can also be used instead of wires to provide media services to passengers. This reduces the aircraft construction costs and its weight.
- Unlike Wi-Fi radio frequency (RF) which does not work under water, visible light can support high speed data transmission over short distances under water. This could allow divers and underwater vehicles to talk to each other
- Wi-Fi cannot keep up with demand for wireless data. VLC can provide data rates greatly in excess of current WiFi and this can be done at low cost since the RF components and antenna system have been eliminated
The Cost-Saving Side Benefit of Visible Light Communications
One of the great side benefits to commercial retailers and businesses that adapt VLC technology in their lighting is the simple fact that they have made the switch to commercial LED lighting. This in itself provides great cost savings over traditional lighting such as fluorescent, incandescent, and halogen lighting.
Commercial LED lighting can easily lower hydro costs by 50 to 70 percent over traditional lighting, as well as removing maintenance costs for up to ten years, depending on store hours.
LEDs can also provide superior light quality, no matter what the business. Commercial LED lighting can enhance a shopper experience, increase productivity, or improve output quality through better lighting.
For a free guide on how what to look for when buying commercial LED lighting, download our free 6 TIPS guide today.
Founder, NexGen Energy Group
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