Is it true that PoE can do a lot more than lighting?

This question was answered by the Dwight Stewart, CTO and founder of Igor.

Lighting control is usually the first step to maximising the benefits that Power over Ethernet (PoE) can provide. Once you have brought your lighting fixtures into the connected world of the internet of things (IoT), you can be confident that you have set up your building to be flexible and meet future needs.

While PoE powers your lights, its real advantage comes with the two-way data transmission it provides. With the right software programs, PoE-powered lighting can immediately reap the following benefits:

• Granular controls and real-time data analytics to maximise energy saving, optimise lighting levels, and provide maximum lighting comfort to the building’s occupants.

• Global compatibility and connectivity as PoE cabling is an international standard.

• Low-voltage cable is more cost effective, easier and safer to install, and provides maximum flexibility for future changes or renovations.

• Certified emergency lighting using a centralised PoE emergency lighting solution.

However, intelligent lighting is just one benefit of PoE systems. To say PoE technology can only control lights is a myth that is finally starting to fade. Good PoE software solutions are designed to grow, adapt, and be flexible to meet the future needs of the entire building, not just lighting management. By having the infrastructure in place in the ceiling, you can consider PoE systems that provide a full smart building solution that can go beyond lighting.

For example, let’s explore a day in the life of a PoE-powered healthcare facility. In our example, we will review a senior living facility that decided to implement an intelligent PoE lighting system last year. They did this to implement circadian rhythm lighting patterns to support the health of its residents and help manage the effects of sundowner’s syndrome associated with its Alzheimer’s patients. It has proven successful and the residents have enjoyed its benefits.

However, the facility is now upgrading its access control system and is looking into adding bed sensors for residents who are at risk of night-time falls, along with asset-tracking devices to track specific medical equipment. With the right smart building PoE software, that facility can use its existing PoE network in the ceiling to power and control its access control system, while managing this program from the same software user interface as its lighting. Bed sensors can be PoE-powered or connected via Bluetooth to a sensor in the ceiling powered by existing PoE cabling. Asset-tracking devices can use a wireless sensor to connect to the PoE system to triangulate its location in real-time.

All of these devices are controlled via PoE devices and are on the same PoE network, managed from the same PoE smart building software, which means new opportunities emerge:

• When the bed sensor is triggered by a resident getting up to use the restroom, low-level lights can come on to create a lit path to the restroom and back.

• When a patient with dementia rises in the night, a nurse can be alerted to ensure the resident is able to return to their bed without confusion.

• Access controls can be logged and trigger lights to turn on or off at particular lighting levels based on the system rules.

• Rules can trigger alerts to specific recipients should items being tracked leave their designated range, or when rooms are accessed when they should not be, or when high-risk residents get up in the night to use the restroom and do not return to bed within a specific length of time, indicating a potential fall.

 

For more information from Igor about PoE systems, click here.

To read other questions answered by the technical team at Igor click here.

To see other lighting questions answered by experts, click here.