Welcome to the university without light switches

THE WORLD'S smartest university has become a showcase for IoT lighting – and there isn’t a light switch in sight.

Students attending Dubai’s Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) need never flick a light switch or search for a tutorial or classroom again.

The facility has been equipped with state-of the-art lighting controlled by a cloud-based technology. It enables faculty staff to control and personalise light settings using a smartphone app, while students can be guided to rooms using lighting-based indoor positioning technology.

HBMSU students receive a combination of web-based and classroom learning that places it at the forefront of modern university education.

The university BMS receives data from Interact Office. Information on energy consumption, the performance of each light point and the occupancy of each room can be accessed on a mouse click. 

Instead of using light switches, HBMSU’s lighting is controlled in a variety of ways: by occupancy sensors in luminaires that detect people’s presence, switching on and off lighting; by automatic adjustment of light levels according to the availability of natural daylight; by a smartphone or tablet app; or from a central console.

The Interact Office platform – from Philips – enables the university to deliver new experiences and services. The software system is integrated with the university’s Building Management System (BMS) so that all the building systems work together seamlessly.

Also, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is synced with the class schedule so that air conditioning is switched on before a class starts and students don’t have to enter a warm room.

As staff or students enter a room, the lights switch on using presence detection and when the room is vacated the lights and HVAC switch off.

The indoor navigation service uses the university’s smartphone app. LED light points, installed in the hallway, lobby areas and corridors, transmit a light code containing their individual geographical location.

This is achieved by a modulation in the light which is invisible to the human eye but may be detected by a smart phone camera. The geo-location information is then used by the smartphone app to locate the user’s position in the building and guide them to their destination.

The university BMS receives data from Interact Office. Information on energy consumption, the performance of each light point and the occupancy of each room can be accessed on a mouse click. These insights help site managers to maintain and maximize the building to its full potential and respond to requests, produce reports and predict trends.

Can’t find your classroom? Don’t worry, the lights will guide you

In the Chancellor’s Office, the Grand Meeting Room and the Auditorium, university staff can easily adjust the light settings; the lighting in these areas are controlled via wall-mounted iPads. In addition, the faculty team use the smartphone app to personalize the lighting in their offices, with options to select the brightness level and color temperature of light.

 ‘Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University has always been at the forefront of realizing the vision of the Dubai government as it implements forward-looking initiatives that position Dubai as the smartest city in the world.

‘Our collaboration with Philips Lighting means we’re able to deliver a better environment for our students and faculty and a highly personalised learning experience.

'This lighting network will enable us to intuitively support and complement the university’s needs, both today and into the future. As the first university globally to incorporate this technology we’re paving the way for future smart learning institutions,’ Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, chancellor of HBMSU, told Lux.

The luminaires are connected in a so-called Power over Ethernet arrangement in which power, control and data are all transmitted using Ethernet cables.

The low-energy LED luminaires can also supply data back to the BMS about their status and energy use.

‘Our first collaboration with Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University demonstrates the many ways our connected lighting and software applications can support Dubai’s most forward-thinking university, improving the daily life for staff, students and visitors. 

'We are not just providing good quality, energy efficient lighting but data-based insights that help the university’s site management team to maximize use of their building and help to deliver a first class learning environment,” said Goktug Gur, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Middle East and Turkey. 




  • Lux's first Property Technology conference – which covers smart buildings and IoT lighting platforms – takes place on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018 alongside the LuxLive 2018 exhibition at London ExCeL. Entry is free to those with a relevant lighting estate. For more information, click HERE