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amBX launches IoT-based PoE LED lighting control system

Lighting control software company amBX has launched SmartCore, which is designed for use with connected lighting systems enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT).

The launch event in London on 1 March also saw a demonstration of the Transcend Network Connected LED Lighting System. Transcend includes luminaires from various manufacturers designed for power over Ethernet (PoE) operation with tunable white capability; a range of smart sensors, network gateways and drivers from connectivity solutions manufacturer Molex; Cisco Catalyst network switches; plus a complete set of amBX software tools, including SmartCore.

John Niebel, CEO of amBX, said that he believes that Cisco’s UPOE technology, which can send 60W of power over an Ethernet cable, is set to deliver “a paradigm shift in lighting”. However, he added: “PoE lighting will happen – but there is a real danger that the true benefits of connected lighting will not happen – we’ll just get what we have now, only cheaper.”

Rather than taking the rules-based approach of conventional lighting control systems, SmartCore defines different areas of a room by usage – meeting rooms, corridors, desk areas and so on. The lighting fixtures then behave automatically to suit those purposes, guided by input from sensors and direct control by users. Among other advantages, this slashes system commissioning times, said amBX CTO David Eves: “A building that would take two weeks to program conventionally can be completed in a morning.”

The SmartCore system demonstrated by Eves (pictured) uses five different types of sensors: daylight harvesting, occupancy, colour temperature, air quality, and room humidity and temperature. Additionally, a graphical user interface (demonstrated on a tablet) enables users to select different scenes – such as presentation or meeting, which have different white colour temperature requirements. This approach, according to amBX, enables a more “human-centric” approach to lighting – providing systems that not only respond to ambient lighting conditions but also offer a control interface that is easy to understand, and so much more likely to be used.

John Baekelmans, CTO of the IoT Solutions Group at Cisco, discussed how SmartCore and Transcend fit into the Cisco Digital Ceiling, in which multiple building networks – including lighting, HVAC, IP video, building automation, WiFi and more – are converged onto a single IP network. “The time has come when every lighting point has an IP address,” he said.

Niebel added: “This represents an exciting opportunity to improve the lighting experience for users and bring real human-centric lighting to the workplace. New control techniques are now essential for the smart connected world to move beyond the traditional inflexible experience of lighting in building and to deliver truly smart lighting.”

amBX – high-performance lighting control