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The Adoption of PoE Lighting Is Accelerating Intelligent Building Growth

The Adoption of PoE Lighting Is Accelerating Intelligent Building Growth (Updated November 2023)

Thanks to the rise of whole building efficiency initiatives, facility operations are becoming less of a drain on the power grid and on the people who run things. One key aspect of reducing that energy-hungry footprint is the use of low-power solutions throughout a facility, such as Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting systems. Intelligent lighting provides a more customized, comfortable, and energy-efficient smart building experience. Building owners and managers are focusing on ways to attract tenants by becoming more energy-efficient, like investing in systems to meet these sustainability goals. That’s exactly why PoE continues to grow in popularity. PoE provides a simple, cost-effect way to install and operate smart building solutions—like lighting systems and platforms, and is a critical driver in intelligent building growth in 2020.

If you’re new to building management, this next bit will summarize how.

Smart PoE Lighting is cost-effective to install

PoE transmits power and data through one Ethernet cable, eliminating the need for an electrician to install additional outlets and breaker boxes. PoE and LED are highly compatible and eliminate the need for AC-to-DC power conversion technologies within the lighting fixtures themselves, improving overall building efficiency. Delivering power and data over one Cat5e, Cat6, or Cat6A Ethernet cable not only reduces installation overhead but also reduces energy costs. LED luminaires connect to the PoE switch through Ethernet cables, which connect to wall switches and sensors. These systems can be daisy-chained to maximize the usage of each port.

Daisy Chained Lighting System

Image courtesy Igor.

IEEE 802.3bt PoE standards are driving incentives to adopt

The latest IEEE 802.3bt PoE standard now enables PoE power outputs for 60W per port (Type 3) and 90W per port (Type 4) by using all four pairs of a PoE cable. Building networks leverage a greater cost-efficiency impact for each cable deployed when four pairs are used.

Type 3 and 4 standards allow the implementation of an increasing number of sophisticated PoE devices, including things like lighting embedded with sensors, building automation, and high-performance wireless access points.

PoE technology is helping bring business into the 21st century. It’s helping transform outdated operating systems and making them work for the people they impact.

Smart PoE Lighting and worker health and productivity

PoE lighting systems are not only easy on the purse strings and facilities teams, they’re also good for the people who work in these environments. Thanks to the influx of data in commercial buildings, manufacturers and building managers are leveraging the smart building experience to bring tenants and workers a better environment that promotes a sense of health and wellbeing and allows them to get more done in less time.

Lighting systems control lighting temperature settings and allow those levels that match natural rhythms to more closely align with nature and improve concentration and sleep cycles. Sensors can also alert centralized building control platforms to shut down lighting systems when spaces are unoccupied.

Additionally, personal lighting control apps used on smartphones or workplace computers are also becoming more widely used, giving people more control and adaptability.

Productivity advances

PoE lighting systems include sensors that collect massive data sets that can inform priorities for organizations. Data collected by lighting sensors help streamline operations and refine services. They track compliance and security status while helping save time on things that can be automated and improve the quality of life.

Smart PoE Lighting makes intelligent building management and maintenance easier to plan and implement

Centralized building management systems let building managers know when to schedule maintenance and other key information about spaces within a building or campus while eliminating manual processes. Smarter facility management begins with smarter lighting.

With all of the benefits associated with PoE lighting systems and platforms, one would think that adoption would be much more widespread.

The reality is, though, that actual PoE lighting systems deployments are still limited.

Why the reluctance to adopt new technology?

In an earlier post, Versa discussed the barriers to adoption of PoE Lighting Technology. We often hear from partners and business buyers that they are aware of PoE lighting, but that they have a difficult time selling new technology to customers.

This resistance to change is nothing new. Though PoE lighting systems and hardware are superior in efficiency and attractiveness to earlier products, especially when used with the new management platforms, consumers often see dragons to slay before enjoying the benefits.

Barriers to PoE Lighting Systems adoptionPoE Lighting Saves Money

When the wave of light bulb innovation took place in the earlier parts of the 2010s, they were an instant success. The reason that buyers took the leap of faith is that the budgetary threshold was small. It was easy to pitch the value of a bulb that can last for years instead of months to a busy facilities management team.

The budgetary hurdles for lighting systems and platforms are a bit higher. It’s taking a little longer for their value to “sink-in” for decision-makers with a hotlist of priorities. But the inevitability is that as other systems fail and human resources responsibilities lists expand, PoE lighting technologies will come into their own. They will save time and require fewer manual processes.

The convergence of IT and OT

Besides the budget, there is one other biggie that looms-for-many-a building management team, which is the somewhat labor-intensive convergence of IT and operational technology (OT).

Commercial building platforms are melding separate siloes through connecting to automated solutions. This process may be time-consuming for already time-strapped project teams. The expense and disruption of sifting through legacy systems and capturing data in usable form can often outweigh the promise of convenience in the long-term.

Perceived barriers due to business priorities, though, cannot diminish the value of getting businesses–including the management facilities–into digital form.

Reinvent your business with technology or fade to black. Every company now continuously reinvents its business with technology at the core–or watches while its customers defect and its markets are disrupted.

Forrester® | Digital Rewrites The Rules Of Business

The harsh reality is that there’s a real “urgency” for businesses and organizations to step further into the digital marketplace. When longstanding, impeccable brands like Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, and a host of others are struggling to compete with sellers like Amazon. It’s time for the rest of us to take stock.


Find out more about Versa Technology’s portfolio of Power over Ethernet technologies, or feel free to reach out for help with a purchase.