Laying the foundations for the future

3 mins read

The LED lighting industry is contributing to the adoption of IoT for building communications and controls. Smart lighting systems coming to market supporting two-way communications are helping to revolutionise the convergence of building and lighting control, using the same infrastructure extensible to support the IoT and to manage other building systems.

However, successfully implementing a smart lighting infrastructure starts with smart components that can serve as building blocks for IoT.

Lighting manufacturers such as Fulham are transforming lighting and building controls in innovative ways by designing components that can be used to help OEMs build interoperable IoT systems helping global commercial building owners, developers, and facility managers conserve energy and save money.

At Fulham, for example, we are bringing together global light fixture OEMs and smart IoT building controls System Integrators to deliver smart IoT convergent lighting controls that are vendor independent, and based on interoperable open standards.


What do we mean by convergent? In brief, convergence allows disparate products and applications to be integrated, often by adding a driver or controller, to enable two-way data flow even though the products don’t use the same platform.

Vertical convergence is the integration of software and smart devices (such as intelligent LED components) to provide a common platform for independent devices. Horizontal or IT convergence uses IP technology (like IoT) to connect IP devices into a common physical network.

By applying convergence using open standards, lighting component manufacturers are creating the components needed to serve as the “building blocks” required by global light fixture manufacturers to create the next-generation of smart lighting products. They also are creating the software “building blocks” to integrate industry standard controls such as IoT.

For example, network interfaces that use the plus Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) can empower the global Niagara system integrator, distribution and OEM communities. DALI is the only open standard specifically created for smart lighting dimming and controls. Up to 64 DALI light fixtures can be connected into a single network for complete on/off and dimming control. By creating components to support open standards such as DALI, we can offer solutions for any Tridium Niagara Framework platform to create smart IoT convergent lighting control solutions that can be accessed both locally and remotely (i.e., “cloud based”).

The Tridium Niagara Framework was originally created by Honeywell and has become the de facto standard for convergent lighting and building controls based on IoT. The software was specifically developed to create device-to-enterprise applications and Internet-enabled products to control and manage smart devices across an enterprise network in real time.

Today there are more than 400 global OEMs delivering building management, automation, and energy management solutions based on Niagara.

By creating interoperable products for smart lighting controls, lighting component manufacturers are providing the convergent building blocks needed to create an extended ecosystem of IoT controls. Using IoT as a common, framework makes it relatively simple to incorporate additional IP-based communications. Once installed, the same two-way communications infrastructure can use IoT to manage building systems such as HVAC, emergency alarms, and building security.

More importantly, every participant in the value chain benefits with smart lighting systems. OEMs, distributors, and integrators can create customised, smart IoT convergent lighting control solutions that are extensible to support future IoT solutions.


Fulham became a Tridium Global Development Partner in 2005 and went on to create and release the first IoT DALI building block products in 2008 resulting in, everyone in the value chain winning.

OEMs and distributors win with smart technology that are:

Extremely flexible

Reduce equipment requirements

Provided seamless access to all value data, both locally and in the cloud

Offer continuous optimisation with the aid of analytics, machine learning, and AI

Result in products that save energy, are sustainable, promote health and wellness

Reduce cost of ownership

Partners in the delivery channel win by being able to deliver more with less:

They can make the most of existing technology, knowledge, and experience

They can build their business faster with reduced risk

They can deliver additional, value-added smart services.

Component suppliers like Fulham win by empowering their partners:

Creating new business opportunities for the future

Offering more product with greater capabilities

Developing new products built on open interoperable standards that deliver real value to channel partners and their customers.

IoT is the future, but it’s up to component manufacturers, OEMs, distributors, and installers to lay the foundation today. Innovation starts with the smart components that form the building blocks of IoT-enabled products. Once you have versatile components you can mix and match open standards to create new solutions that address real-world control challenges.

Smart IoT in Lighting October 17, 2018 at 10.15am

Mike Welch is VP Controls Business Development, Fulham

He is a professional engineer by education and a business creator, involved since the 1990s in the world of ubiquitous computing, peer-to-peer and M2M intelligent networks.

Since the early 2000’s the business developed into a smart IoT device networking product creator.

Mike will be presenting a session at EDS entitled, “Smart IoT in Lighting - The Promise, The Reality, The Challenges”.