This post was written by Keith Dawson for UBM Tech’s community Web site All LED Lighting, sponsored by Philips Lumileds. It is archived here for informational purposes only because the All LED Lighting site may go dark at any time. This material is Copyright 2013-2015 by UBM Americas.


Internet-Connected Lights Are Surging

The number of wirelessly connected light bulbs and lamps will grow from 2.4 million now to over 100 million by 2020, according to a market analysis by ON World.

In a quick poll some months back we asked how much readers would be willing to pay per bulb for color-controllable lights. An earlier poll had asked about the prospects of IP-based control protocols to displace incumbents such as DALI and DMX512.

Now a report from global technology research firm ON World lends some support to this community's informally gathered opinions earlier in the year.

Wireless LED light bulbs will be one of the fastest-growing corners of the Internet of Things over the next decade, reaching tens of millions of homes by 2020, ON World projects.

19% of both installers and developers currently provide RF-enabled lighting fixtures.

The research firm proposes that wireless smart lighting is entering the phase of early mass market adoption. Among the indicators they cite are "thousands of deployments with >1,000 wireless lighting control devices per network," "dozens of recently launched wireless lighting control systems," and the emergence of new wireless lighting industry groups promoting standards.

The firm surveyed 300 early adopters of technology (using, I am sure, a more scientifically sound methodology than our quick polls). Over 50% said that they are "interested" or "most interested" in adopting a smart lighting system, and 60% said they would want their system to control more than half the lights in their homes.

According to ON World, the ZigBee Light Link control protocol is emerging as the market leader, driven in no small part by the residential market. (This market is smaller now than that for commercial building energy management, but is growing faster.) In our quick poll, 71% of this community chose "yes" or "mostly" to the question of whether IP-based lighting control networks will displace DALI and DMX512 in the next five to seven years.

The question of cost
ON World notes that, in the commercial sector, the cost of two way (mesh) wireless controls remains an issue, as it is often several times more than for standalone, one-way wireless controls. The report's authors believe that the smart-home platforms are putting downward pressure on prices that will affect commercial products.

In surveying early adaptors, ON World asked about their willingness to pay for smart lighting. More than two-thirds said they would be willing to pay for such services, and 29% are willing to pay at least $20 per light bulb. Compare these results with our quick poll from May, when 37% said they would pay $10 or less, while 17% would pay $25 per bulb. TCP's wirelessly controlled bulb is nearing that range, selling for $28 at Home Depot stores, though it is white-only, not controllable as to color.

Have you come around this year to believing that wirelessly controlled lighting will be an important market?

Related post:

— Keith Dawson Circle me on Google+ Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn page, Editor-in-Chief, All LED Lighting