How to create a sustainability strategy with 'interconnected products'

It may seem to be a stretch to assert that LEDs play a truly important role in the future of the Internet of Things. After all, by themselves, they’re just lights. However, with sensors tucked inside and a bit of intelligence added throughout, LEDs are already evolving to be our eyes and ears as the rapidly expanding IoT unfolds before us.

The use of smart lighting has become a major component of IoT-enabled homes, as lighting plays a larger role in metering, heating systems and appliances. The impact of this trend can be deducted from statistics and projections provided by several market research companies:

  • According to ON World research, wireless LED light bulbs will be one of the fastest growing IoT markets over the next decade, driven by demand for smart device apps and cloud-connected LED lighting systems.
  • Navigant Research states that annual sales for occupancy sensors, photo sensors and lighting network gear related to LED lighting applications are expected to grow from 1.1 billion USD in 2013 to 2.7 billion USD by 2020.
  • Global revenue growth of smart lighting is expected to reach more than 56 billion USD by 2020, with an estimated CAGR of 15.8 percent between 2014 to 2020, says MarketsandMarkets in a recent report.
  • Worldwide, grid-based electric lighting consumes 19 percent of total global electricity production, slightly more than what is used by the nations of OECD Europe for all purposes, according to the International Energy Agency.
  • Philips estimates that worldwide, a complete switch to LED technology will generate savings of approximately $170 billion, equivalent to the elimination of 640 medium-sized power stations globally. 

Collecting and using data

The impact of large-scale networks of LEDs will surely be larger than that of LED household light bulbs. As LED lighting eventually gathers, processes, and reacts to stimuli in the environment, their benefit to the IoT becomes immeasurable. 

A few examples

Adaptive LED lights in cars can establish an interaction of the lighting systems with its environment. As well as auto-levelling and cornering, fully adaptive front light systems automatically adapt the light beam pattern to the driving environment. This way, LED lights are connected to interactive systems.


With smartnodes or smart lighting systems each luminaire is equipped with sensors. Thanks to distributed intelligence, the system creates a "light bubble" moving with the road users.



By making the smart car lighting system and the smart street lighting system communicate it will become possible to reach optimal performance, safety and energy efficiency. In this chances are to be found to offer new, additional functionality, without having to manufacture or install new luminaires. A software application would suffice. 

With (small scale) systems such as Philips Hue consumers can control every lamp in their homes with one smart device: they can automate the lights to make it seem like someone is home or let the lights switch on or off automatically when they come or leave home (geofencing technology). 

Intelligent lighting systems (on a larger industrial scale), such as Digital Lumens drive radical energy efficiency and provide a platform for distributed building intelligence: occupancy sensing & dimming, scheduling, energy reporting, …. In this manner, companies are able to offer lighting systems in an ESCO form and other services that are impossible with traditional lighting, such as reporting or analysing work station occupancy. 


Building as a service can provide a role to lighting devices, since these are present in every room in the smart building concept. All systems automatically adjust to your dynamic life style: the car informs the exact time of your arrival, aware of all influencing parameters (weather predictions, air quality, availability and cost of energy, …), while the house automatically adjusts all systems and is prepared for “plug & play” service integration.  

A forthcoming blog will illustrate that it is also possible to eco-innovate on LED materials to make a sustainability strategy a reality.   

The first of the LED Events takes place in the Elewijt Center (Elewijt - Zemst) on 2 December when Thomas Vandenhaute from Sirris will be giving a presentation titled, ‘The role of technology in the sustainability strategies of the lighting sector'. Further examples and a strategic framework will be presented.     

Would you like to participate? Click here for the programme plus lots of practical information!     

(Source picture above: DTU Denmark)