PoE Lighting

Largest PoE Lighting Installation Ushers Age of Innovation at Watt Family Center

Royal Phillips has announced its first large-scale lighting deployment powered by Power over Ethernet (PoE) at Clemson University. The University’s Watt Family Innovation Center now boasts state-of-the-art lighting that combines the energy efficiency of LED lighting with the simplicity of PoE cabling.

PoE Lighting is a cutting edge technology that provides a branding statement of innovation for the center which was built to encourage student-faculty collaboration. The 70,000 square building boasts PoE-based indoor LED lighting that can be regulated using the web-based Phillips Envision Manager. The control system features convenient remote control using a software console that can be accessed on different computers, smartphones, or tablets.

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PoE-Based LED Media Facade

The Watt Family Innovation Center also pioneers the “largest media façade installation in the United States”. The LED display features Phillips very own high-intensity iColor Flex LMX Gen2 LED lights. The large LED strands of light create string-like curtain panels that can display messages and provides a new take on traditional digital marquees and billboards.

Real-Time Occupancy Monitoring

Another additional feature of the smart lighting system is that the PoE system’s occupancy sensors can automatically power lights on or off. The occupancy sensors also gather data to provide historical and real-time usage trends.

How does PoE lighting work?

Power over Ethernet (PoE) originally emerged to power Voice-over IP (VoIP) solutions but has since been adapted to power applications beyond computer networking, such as LED lighting. Power over Ethernet (PoE) has the ability to deliver powe r and data via a single cable and eliminates the need for additional electrical circuitry.

Cat-5 cabling is comprised of 4-twisted pairs. As Mike Hornung elucidates in Energy Manager Today, if LED lights require low data speeds, up to 3 pairs can be used to provide power, reserving the remaining pair for data.  Even though the off-switching of voltages in differentiated signals can transmit data, it’s also possible to shift the voltages (from 10V to 0V as opposed to -5V to 5V for example) and be left with a positive voltage that can be extracted from the adjacent end of a wire.

PoE traditionally supports low-powered devices, but 802.3 Ethernet standards are evolving to adopt higher power. For example, the 802.3at standards can supply up to 25.5 Watts of power and it is speculated that the ultra-PoE pre-standard will be able to supply 100 Watts of power.

PoE for IoT

With the ability to support power and data, PoE removes the cost of hiring expensive electricians making it possible for IT personnel to easily manage the infrastructure. The large-scale installation is a testament to the possible future of Power over Ethernet. The cabling’s flexible and versatile deployment options will help usher in the much-anticipated adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT). With the ability to deliver power and data, PoE can easily provide connectivity to a large portion of the IoT market— particularly because a large portion of the IoT market will be comprised of sensors that have low-power requirements.

Simple User-Interface

Clemson University’s PoE-based LED installation uses the Phillips Envision Manager, a web-based software configuration center, to allow system integrators to control and monitor the LED lights within a centralized control center. Another aspect of the interface is it also integrates other site services such as HVAC (heating, venting, and air conditioning). User-friendly interfaces such as these will curb learning time of new users and will contribute to the mass adoption of IoT components in both the consumer and industrial sector.

Energy-Efficient PoE Lighting

So how energy efficient is the Royal Phillips installation? According to their press release, “this new lighting solution will deliver up to 70 percent in energy savings compared to similar buildings using conventional lighting.” In fact, “Phillips and Cisco have both evidenced a 50% reduction in installation costs for Ethernet-based connected lighting systems compared with conventional AC-powered systems.”

The high-profile installation leads us to questions new devices can adopt PoE and if telecommunications can be solution to energy management.

Think PoE lighting is cool? Check out how Li-Fi lighting can transmit Wi-Fi signals!