Smart lighting technologies such as LiFi, bio-adaptive ‘scene management’ systems and eco-friendly light projection systems can improve productivity and well-being sustainably.
We all know that the quality of ambient light affects our moods, productivity level, circadian rhythm, and many other habits and preferences.
Many people will tell you that they prefer natural light over artificial lighting anytime, especially since natural light is linked to the climate and weather, while many types of artificial lighting contain a static spectrum of frequencies that do not mimic the way natural light appeals to humans.
However, decades of research and technological advances are bearing fruit in improving the qualities of artificial lighting to close the gap with natural light.
Using bio-adaptive lighting
Advanced lighting systems can now mimic nature and automatically adjust the colour and intensity levels of lighting around the clock to satisfy situational and preferential needs of occupants in any room or area.
This ensures that we are energized by being exposed to the right light at the right time for the right purposes. Just as a student will want a desk lamp with bright, polarized light to keep alert and reduce eye strain, using the same lamp next to a bed will be counterproductive unless the user wants to experience insomnia!
This is why light therapy is used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), in patients whose lifestyles have somehow involved excessive exposure or sensitivity to inappropriate lighting and other aspects of their environment.
In the hospitality industry, ‘bio-adaptive’ lighting is being used in an attempt to enhance the guest experience in terms of eye comfort, mood setting and ergonomics. For example, in Singapore, Swissôtel The Stamford is the first hotel in the world to implement specially-designed human-centric lighting using IoT technology.
In addition to offering the benefits of smart power management and eco-friendly features, the bio-adaptive part of the system allows the hotel to coordinate the characteristics of multitudes of lamps to emulate ‘scenes’ such as a view of sunset or the glare of high-intensity meeting rooms—instantly and in real time. Integrated, connected IoT sensors located at strategic places allow hotel management to vary lighting conditions to ongoing human activities via a centralized software dashboard.
Throughout the hotel premises, reduced light levels are applied in the evening to promote better sleep, provide low-level illumination for bathroom access at night; and to simulate a natural wake-up experience at the start of the day to energize guests.
Color kinetics in action
Another use case of bio-adaptive lighting can be found at the rooftop level of OUE Bayfront at Collyer Quay in Singapore.
There, the VUE restaurant not only offers a great view of the city skyline, but imbues the guest experience with LED lighting solutions to complement the view, food, and atmosphere.
Through the use of premium interior concealed fixtures; a light show controller and small high-output lights in concealed form factors—the restaurant can mix white and colored lighting in sophisticated ways to add to the ambience via numerous dimming levels, wall washing effects, indirect light distribution and a wide range of color temperatures to create any light scene for any occasion.
By the same token, bio-adaptive lighting can be used in task-focused environments such as gyms, pre-schools and offices to divide areas for specialized activities.
Gyms are now able to make use of bio-adaptive lighting for different workout areas. For example, during cool-down stretches or yoga activities, a dimmer setting would invoke a sense of comfort, whereas high-intensity workouts would use brighter white light for more energy.
Likewise, preschools are now able to manage the use of brighter white light levels during study activities, while invoking dimmer lights during rest periods or breaks.
Workplaces and offices are also able to benefit from bio-adaptive lighting, especially those that operate in different time zones. Bio-adaptive lighting can vary the lighting to cater to specific time zones, allowing workers to be alert during the night shifts without disrupting their circadian
Finally, in the battle against pathogens, robotics can be outfitted with UV-C lighting to deactivate viruses and bacteria within minutes, while intelligent sensors can be deployed to protect humans from UV-C exposure during disinfection operations.
Making the most of sustainability and bio-adaptation
Smart lighting technology is set to benefit organizations and businesses around the world in terms of cost control, eco-friendliness and user experience improvement.
According to Eric Rondolat, CEO, Signify (the new corporate name for Philips Lighting), it is important to “unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. To fulfil this purpose our researchers continually focus on lighting research that delivers new experiences and value to our customers, and innovations that benefit the environment and society. These include improving products that are already on the market.”
The firm recently unveiled its take on another advanced technology, LiFi, which uses existing lighting infrastructure to transmit data wirelessly at up to 250Mbps and with AES encryption. The firm’s variation on the tech—Trulifi—is a complete solution for implementing LiFi to overcome the increasing congestion of the radio spectrum.
The technology is set to co-exist alongside Wi-Fi setups where additional bandwidth is needed or where interference or security issues require special attention.