The IoT-Ready Alliance has been established with the goal of upgrading lighting fixtures for the commercial IoT as simple as screwing in a light bulb.

A press release from the association said industry players including Enlighted, Tridonic and the DesignLights Consortium are working to establish a standard for IoT-Ready light fixtures that can easily be upgraded with sensors and connectivity modules after installation. The Alliance says it’s setting industry standards that will also enable building operators to easily upgrade the sensors, ultimately future-proofing their buildings as IoT technology continues to advance at a much more rapid pace than that of LED fixtures.

“Lighting fixtures are an ideal carrier for IoT technology in smart buildings, providing ubiquitous location for granular data collection throughout the building while delivering electric power to the sensors,” the release said. “Yet today, only a small percentage of LED fixtures have smart sensors. After the initial installation of LED fixtures, installing a sensor is cost prohibitive, making the later addition of sensors unlikely.”

LED light fixtures typically boast a long lifetime of 15 years or more, while IoT and smart sensor technology is evolving rapidly, at a similar pace to that of the mobile phone. This means major IoT technology upgrades will certainly occur throughout the LED fixture's life. These upgrade cycles for the IoT sensors call for a cost-effective, low-impact method of changing sensors. Enlighted CEO Joe Costello said in the release a need exists to solve this challenge. "There is tremendous urgency to enable today's shipping LED luminaires to be easily upgraded with IoT technology. Otherwise, these luminaires condemn buildings to be unintelligent for the entire lifecycle of those fixtures. Fifteen or more years is a long time before building owners have another chance to install smart sensors. With IoT-Ready fixtures, customers can install future-proof LED luminaires in their buildings."

"We are very pleased key players from the lighting industry have come together to meet the needs of our customers, and Tridonic is a driving part of it," added Guido van Tartwijk, CEO, Tridonic, in the press release. "IoT-Ready future-proofs lighting fixtures so that customers do not have to worry about forward compatibility to upcoming technology upgrades that are expected in the fast- developing world of IoT."

The IoT-Ready Alliance is currently working to standardize the key interface characteristics needed to make this happen. Both fixture-integrated and external sensors are being addressed. The IoT-Ready standards will include definitions for electrical interfaces, connectors, and mechanical form-factors.

Initial industry participants include Aruba (a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company), Click Technology Co., Ltd., DECO Lighting, DesignLights Consortium™, Enlighted, ERP Power LLC, Focal Point, Mean Well, Orion Energy Systems, Inc., Selux, Shenzhen Lighting Control Co., Silergy Corp, Tridonic, Universal Lighting Technologies and USAI Lighting.