Have you heard of 'The Internet of Things'? In short, it's a working theory where it won't just be PC terminals, smartphones and laptops that can connect to the internet, but a whole host of everyday items, such as televisions, fridge-freezers, and washing machines.
It is proposed that such household products will be able to send and receive data just as the more traditional devices do, as they'll all be linked together, connected via the power of the internet.
Thinking and linking
This 'Internet of things' is rapidly catching on, and now it's making waves in the lighting world. We've already talked about how smart lighting is starting to gather pace in a previous blog post, but just how intelligent can such lighting become, and how does this link back to the Internet of things?
In an article appearing in Forbes, it is argued that LEDs, which are widely regarded as the future of lighting design, differ from traditional incandescent and fluorescent bulbs in that they can be far more easily networked. This means that, when rigged up to a network with the proper programming, light can more efficiently fill the space that it has been assigned to – according to the area's dimensions, too.
Such a process is possible if you consider that an LED is a digital appliance, which an incandescent bulb could never be counted as. Just like a PC and other items that can connect to the internet, an LED can process, display intelligence, and be connected to a network.
Greg Merritt of LED lighting manufacturer Cree equates the rise of smart lighting to that of smartphones which, to function to their full capacity, require an internet connection. That's a striking analogy, and it remains to be seen if smart lighting can replicate that of phones. So by what barometer is lighting considered intelligent?
"If you have to tell lights what to do, they are not intelligent; they are obedient. But if they know what to do, they become intelligent," stated Mr Merritt to Forbes.