The (Near) Future of LED Lighting Controls

The Future of LED Lighting ControlsCustomers want options when it comes to their lighting, especially in the commercial building space.

In the last few years, the realm of lighting controls has made huge advancements and has seen massive growth: The global lighting controls market was valued at $18.61 billion in 2022 and is expected to hit $57.81 billion by 2029.

Equally exciting? The technology is keeping pace: Commercial lighting controls can now incorporate next-gen features like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, providing more adaptive lighting solutions to a clientele who will accept nothing less.

Below, we’ll touch on what’s available now and what’s in store for commercial lighting controls in the (very near) future.

Trends in Advanced LED Lighting Controls

As a distributor or contractor, you’re already well-acquainted with lighting controls. But advanced lighting controls go the extra mile to make energy savings and lighting customization easier and more strategic.

The newest generation of advanced lighting controls can adapt to the needs and activities of users while saving energy. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Luminaire-Level Lighting Controls (LLLCs)

What Are LLLCs?

LLLCs have sensors built into each light fixture, allowing them to collect detailed information about how spaces are used. This helps in saving energy because lights can automatically adjust based on room occupancy or usage.

How Are LLLCs Used?

In an office, LLLCs can automatically dim or turn off lights in unoccupied rooms or areas, saving energy without requiring manual switching.

And the analytics collected about how often the room is used could help management decide that one conference room is so infrequently used that it should be turned into several offices for new hires.

Networked Lighting Controls (NLCs)

What Are NLCs?

CONFERENCE01_ONNLCs are sophisticated systems that connect various lighting elements within a building through a centralized network. This connectivity enables the lighting system to dynamically adjust to changes in room usage or occupancy levels.

For example, an NLC system can automatically modify the lighting when a conference room switches from a formal presentation setting to a more relaxed brainstorming session, ensuring optimal lighting for each scenario. This adaptability not only improves energy management but also enhances the functionality of the space.

How Are NLCs Used?

NLCs are particularly effective in environments with varying lighting needs, like shopping centers. In that setting, NLCs can tailor the lighting in individual stores based on factors like the time of day or the presence of customers.

  • Before most stores are open, lighting might be subdued to conserve energy, but as customer traffic increases, lighting can intensify to create a welcoming shopping environment.
  • And during special events or promotions, lighting can be adjusted to highlight specific products or areas, enhancing the shopping experience while also managing energy usage efficiently.

This level of control reduces operational costs and can improve the ambiance and attractiveness of the retail space.

Bluetooth Networked Lighting Controls (NLCs)

What Are Bluetooth NLCs?

Bluetooth NLCs are a type of NLC that uses Bluetooth technology, commonly found in smartphones and other devices, to allow light fixtures to communicate with each other. This setup lets you control individual lights directly from your mobile device, adjusting settings like brightness with just a few taps.

LED-installation-LiteSmart-01How Is Bluetooth NLC Used?

When it comes to restaurant and bar LED lighting, the lighting mood needs to change from bright during the day to softer and more intimate at night. A manager can use a tablet to adjust the lights in different parts of the restaurant accordingly, enhancing the dining experience without ever needing to access a physical control panel.

Tunable White Controls

What Are Tunable White Controls?

Tunable white lighting is a type of advanced LED light that can change its color, temperature, and brightness. Tunable white lighting controls allow lights to change color temperature to replicate natural daylight patterns. This helps maintain the body’s circadian rhythm, boosting alertness in the morning with cooler light and promoting relaxation in the evening with warmer tones.

This technology has become more popular and affordable in recent years, making it a great option for enhancing the atmosphere and functionality of various spaces.

How Are Tunable White Controls Used?

This flexible lighting is perfect for places where the feel of the room is important, such as schools, offices, or hospitals.

  • For instance, in a classroom, the lights can be set to a cooler, more energizing tone during active learning times to help students stay alert. During quieter reading times, the lights can be switched to a warmer tone to create a calm environment. This ability to adjust the lighting helps support everyone’s focus and well-being throughout the day.
  • In an office setting, the overhead lights can be programmed to be cooler and more invigorating during the morning to increase focus and productivity. As the day progresses into the evening, the lights can warm to help employees wind down before heading home, potentially improving overall well-being and job satisfaction.

Installing tunable white lighting involves choosing the right lights and controls that work well together to ensure everything operates smoothly. These systems use smart technology to precisely manage how the light’s color and intensity change, making it possible to tailor the lighting for any situation or time of day.

Wireless Lighting Controls

What Are Wireless Lighting Controls?

Wireless controls remove the need for traditional electrical wiring in lighting systems, making it much simpler to install and update lighting settings. This technology allows you to control lights remotely without having to physically touch the lighting fixtures or disrupt your space with renovations.

How Are Wireless Lighting Controls Used?

Say you have a lighting client who runs a large warehouse and wants to adjust the lighting in different areas based on the time of day or whether parts of the warehouse are in use. With wireless controls, they can easily make these adjustments from a computer or smartphone, avoiding the hassle and expense of manual reconfigurations.

Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in LED Lighting Controls

What Are Data Analytics and AI in LED Lighting Controls?

Integrating data analytics and AI with lighting controls can significantly enhance the efficiency and responsiveness of lighting systems. AI uses data from the environment, like occupancy or time of day, to automate lighting adjustments, making the system smarter and more energy-efficient.

How Are Data and AI Used in LED Lighting Controls?

A conference center can use AI-driven lighting systems to adjust the lighting in each conference room based on the number of people present or the type of event being held.

If a large event starts in one room, the system can automatically brighten the lights. Conversely, if another room is empty, the lights can dim to save energy until people enter the space.Read the Complete Guide to Commercial LED Lighting Controls


Commercial LED Controls = Human-Centric Lighting Design

Circadian rhythmAll of these new controls can be viewed as part of a trend called human-centric lighting design, an approach that tailors the lighting environment to the needs and well-being of anyone using the space. This design philosophy considers the physiological and psychological effects of light on humans, aiming to enhance comfort, health, and productivity.

By integrating dynamic lighting systems that can adjust based on time of day, activities, and individual preferences, human-centric design goes beyond simple illumination, supporting a healthy interaction between humans and their environments.

Benefits of Human-Centric Lighting

  • Enhanced Comfort and Well-Being: Proper lighting can greatly affect mood and energy levels, reducing the risk of headaches, eye strain, and fatigue. Human-centric lighting design prioritizes these factors to enhance overall comfort and well-being.
  • Improved Productivity and Performance: By aligning lighting conditions with human biological needs and task requirements, business owners may see increased productivity and improved performance from their workforce and educators may see it in their students.
  • Energy Efficiency: Integrating sensors and controls to adjust lighting based on occupancy and natural light levels not only tailors the environment to human needs but also reduces unnecessary energy consumption, promoting sustainability.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Human-centric lighting systems are designed to be flexible, allowing for easy adjustments as needs change over time without requiring extensive retrofitting or reconfiguration.

The Future of Commercial LED Lighting Controls: It’s Here!

As LED lighting controls continue to evolve, the focus is increasingly on the end user.

The next generation of controls will respond to (and maybe one day even predict) the lighting needs of the people who use them. More and more, these controls are designed to give users all the control they need.

And as they become more popular, they’re quickly becoming the standard for modern lighting. We expect to be able to automatically turn off lights we’re not using or easily switch the lighting design in a conference room from presentation mode to brainstorm mode.

And the lighting controls of the near future will evolve to keep meeting those expectations, providing more personalization and energy efficiency in the places we work, shop, and live.

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