TILS 2017: When Lighting Plays Smart- VLC & Smart Lighting

The 4-day event, Taiwan International Lighting Show 2017, was held from 12th to 15th April at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Centre. Together with LED Taiwan, the exposition provided a platform, gathering exhibitors and buyers from each sector of the supply chain, for business dialogues, technique exchange, and product showcasing.

At this moment, whether we like it or not, we need to unblind ourselves and understand LED lighting, especially in the backlight and general lighting markets, has already entered its maturity stage. The industry is trying to move beyond the stagnation and to cultivate niche markets showing possibilities of LED adoption. LEDinside anticipates that apart from automotive lighting, which grows rather fast and indeed has a certain market size, CSP LED applications such as flashes for smartphones, infrared LED and UV LED; smart lighting and even IoT will be the next key markets for LED lighting.

This year at the show, LEDinside discovered a few exhibitors showcased their visible light communication (VLC) and smart lighting solutions. Here are the three most noteworthy picks from Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and China Electric Manufacturing Corporation.

Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI)

The LED Real Time Location module: the light, the router and the receiver with an outward design as a bee. (LEDinside)

Among several lighting applications ITRI showcased, the LED Real Time Location Service and the LED Spectrum Tunable Lighting System were the two most-visited exhibits.

The LED Real Time Location Service, simply consisting of a VLC module, a illuminator, and a driver IC, features technologies of visible light communication (VLC) enabling indoor location, explained Shih-yi Wen, an engineer at ITRI. By simply plugging the receiver in mobile devices and connecting to the network, when exposing those devices to the light rays, users can receive information of a certain object (a watch, for example, as shown in the photo), which travels via light rays from the light source. Each light can be programmed to send different signals carrying different information, said Wen, demonstrating with other lights.

The LED Real Time Location Service has already been introduced to a hospital in Taiwan for medical inventory counts and work hour calculation, saving up quite a great deal and facilitating better operation. The engineer went on telling LEDinside that ITRI attempted to bring more VLC advancements, including high speed VLC for data transmission.

When placing the receiver under the LED light, the device showed a certain commodity’s information that rode on signals carried by visible light rays from the illuminator. (LEDinside)
Just simply plugging the receiver in any mobile devices enables immediate connection to the location service. (LEDinside)

The LED Spectrum Tunable Lighting System, on the other hand, emphasizes the concept of human centric lighting (HLC), namely lighting that improves overall human wellbeing.

The light sources of the system provide seven color temperatures from approximately 2750K to 6500K. According to ITRI, a technology creating metamerism was introduced to the LED package manufacture so as to enable the illuminator to project light rays of those color temperatures with multiple spectral combinations, and further to cater more to human circadian rhythms.

With that mechanism, the system not only provides optimized lighting but reduces the level of harmful light stimulation.

ITRI’s app-controlled human centric lighting system provides seven color temperature choices, of which the circadian action spectra were optimized wellbeing oriented. (LEDinside)
On the light source strip of the LED tunable lighting system, each LED package sports seven chips that when powered project different colors. (LEDinside)


China Electric Manufacturing Corp.

China Electronic Mfg. launched the Retail Smart Lighting Control System. (LEDinside)

At this year’s lighting show, quite to the public’s surprise, China Electric Mfg. displayed a multitude of smart lighting solutions for at least five location types including factories, classrooms, houses, streets, and shops.

The solution gaining the most favourable reception was the Retail Smart Lighting Control System, especially the Aurora series.

By giving forces on the mobile display, users are able to tune the brightness and color temperatures of the Aurora series. The system is sensitive to voice as well. (LEDinside)

The series encompasses five smart lighting objects- a LED bulb, a floor lamp, a  lantern, a wall mounted lamp, and a smart plug. Very similar to Philip’s Hue family and Xiaomi’s Yeelight bulbs, the series are an app-controlled multi color lighting solution. However, it could possibly be a more enticing option to consumers than its equivalents because neither does it require a hub as Hue does nor does it have compatibility issues as Yeelight bulbs do for its operating voltage ranges from 90V to 240V.

The lantern, in particular, supports wireless charging. The base serves as a power bank once fully charged. Alston Shih, one of China Electric Mfg. representatives, proved to LEDinside any phone could become a wireless charging phone by connecting it to a bridger chip and contacting the base with the chip.

The series will be available soon in a month or two. The price? ' I'm sure, compared to purchases of similar devices, gadget lovers won't have to shell out too much for one (of these),' said Shih.

The lantern and bridger chips. (LEDinside)
The phone started to charge once the base and the bridger chip contacted. (LEDinside)

LEDinside projects that the scale of the global LED smart lighting market to hit US$2.35 billion by the end of 2016 and increase to around US$13.43 billion in 2020.  In comparison to other lighting applications, an incipient market as it is, LED smart lighting still has the most growth potential once technology progresses and it communicates the future relationship between human beings and lighting. Essentially, it’s the simple ubiquity of lighting that makes smart lighting and IoT the next monuments in the lighting history.

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