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Brilliant Buildings—Much More Than Energy Savings

Like many companies, Agilent Technologies sought to reduce its costs for energy, operations, and maintenance.

Instead of trying to solve the problems piecemeal, the company addressed all of them by upgrading its aging lighting system with the Enlighted Inc. Advanced Lighting Control System. It updated more than 400 fixtures with dimming ballasts, while smart sensors replaced large lighting zones to create hundreds of much smaller, more manageable “zones” of space.

Smart sensors allow Agilent to save energy by taking advantage of daylight harvesting, shutting off fixtures when they aren't being used, and by adjusting to individual employee needs. Agilent has reduced its lighting costs by 20 percent on weekdays and more than 90 percent on weekends. It expects maintenance costs to drop by 25 percent.

Agilent is not alone. Concerned about energy consumption and operating costs, and under pressure from regulators to become more efficient, commercial building owners are flocking to smart lighting solutions. According to Gartner, smart lighting in office and industrial buildings has the potential to reduce energy costs by 90 percent.

Typically, buildings have lighting, HVAC, and other systems going from early in the morning to 8 or 9 at night. This means energy consumption is happening throughout the building when it's not needed. Clearly there's a big opportunity to save. “Intelligent lighting can usually pay for itself through energy savings within three to five years—or even sooner if the HVAC system is included,” said Sanjiv Kaul, EVP, Enlighted.

Not All Smart Sensors Are Alike

This is where the Enlighted Inc. Advanced Lighting Control system leads the way. At the heart of its solution are software-defined smart sensors deployed with LED lighting—one sensor per fixture.

When firms upgrade their lighting, Enlighted's latest technology makes it easy to attach sensors with new, more powerful processors to light fixtures. They don't need to call an electrician for help. It's as easy as changing a lightbulb.

Plus, with built-in wireless, data is securely transmitted across the network — from the edge to the cloud. The Energy Manager provides data analysis and includes a secure browser-based interface to create profiles and adjust settings of the entire Advanced Lighting Control system (Figure 1).

Figure 1. An intelligent lighting system processes information at the edge for immediate action and in the cloud for extensive analysis. [Source: Enlighted]

Lighting and Beyond—The Value of Applications

Unique to the Enlighted solution are system applications that provide actionable, data-driven insights into energy, asset, and space utilization via analytics and intuitive reports. Using the data collected by the advanced distributed sensor network, they enable facility managers to reduce lighting energy, lower HVAC costs, optimize space utilization, and enhance productivity (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Applications increase value and optimize building operations. (Source Intel®)

One of the most effective uses of sensors is for space utilization analysis. “The savings companies gain from better space utilization can be 10 to 20 times the amount they save on energy costs,” said Kaul. By revealing where people congregate and how they use office space, Enlighted's platform can guide managers to better decisions about building use.

One company Enlighted worked with needed to hire another 70 employees and was considering renting a new building. But by examining the systems sensor usage data, it found a way to reconfigure the company's existing space to accommodate the new workers without crowding anyone, saving it from paying for a new lease.

With a partner, Enlighted also developed an app allowing companies to book conference rooms more efficiently. If a group reserves a room but doesn't use it within a set time, the conference room becomes available for others to book.

Beyond Building Efficiency: Finding Equipment and People

Enlighted's Bluetooth® tags are sensors connected to its smart lighting platform, which can be attached to tools and supplies to help staff find them faster. Hospitals track wheelchairs so that patients don't have to wait an hour or more after release to be taken to the exit. Emergency room workers receive notification as soon as a room becomes available for one of their patients.

Bluetooth tags can also be attached to badges, so people or virtual geographical boundaries can be tracked and monitored to ensure that visitors are not entering controlled areas.

Sensors can tell if a person is in a restricted location even if they are out of view of the security camera. Also, if there is an event, the data can be valuable in knowing where and how people moved through the building.

Intel® Processing Power Is Key

The Enlighted system moves and analyzes data from the edge to the cloud. “Intel® processors are able to handle the load. They can scale from small to very large buildings. They enable us to write the apps that bring real value to customers,” Kaul said.

Built for the Future

As the Internet of Things expands, new applications for increasing efficiency and productivity are bound to develop. Enlighted and Intel will allow companies to take advantage of them without breaking the bank.

Smart lighting is a great way for office buildings, hospitals, and factories to save money on energy. But even more exciting are its applications, which enable companies to configure their buildings more efficiently and locate people and equipment quickly and with pinpoint accuracy.

The IoT is a young technology poised for tremendous growth. Enlighted and Intel already have systems in place to follow it to a brighter future.