One of the world’s oldest technologies is going digital with the introduction of network lights.

Networked lights are an expansion of the switch to LED lights which is expected to continuously grow. LED light bulbs are solid-state devices which means that they produce light from a semiconductor chip and already have a circuit board. This allows them to be connected through, for example, wireless chips.

An example of this type of light is the Philips Hue system which they released with Apple. It offered colour changing LED light bulbs that could be controlled by an app. The apps Goldee and Ambify were specially created for this system. Goldee offers different settings to best represent natural light from sunrise to sunset whereas, Ambify connects your lights to your music meaning that the lights flash with the music – kind of like your own mini lights show.

Later this year, Philips will be installing 6,500 networked LED light bulbs into a 14 storey building for Deloitte in Amsterdam. Each light will have an IP address and five sensors that will be wired to Ethernet cables. Included in these lights is a sensor to monitor temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, heat and natural light. When natural light is detected the lights automatically dim, saving energy. There is also a motion detector fitted so the lights turn off if there’s no one there. Chief information officer at Deloitte, Erik Ubels, said:

We expect to spend 70% less on light, because systems [give] us much more control.

There are still other ways to use LED light bulbs. A department store in Germany is using LED light bulbs to send out light frequencies that communicate with shoppers’ smartphones.

In terms of other uses of LED light bulbs, Philips seems to be leading the way and has recently put street lights in Barcelona that react to how many people are walking past.

Brian Bernstein, Philips’ Global Head of Indoor Lighting Systems, said:

With the new digitalization of light we have only begun to scratch the surface on how we can control it, integrate it with other systems and collect rich data.

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