Smart lighting can be the solution for the sticking point of every company: How do we get an affordable infrastructure for the required data? Prologis, a leading service provider of industrial real estate, kills two birds with one stone with the lighting system and covers asset tracking in addition to upgrading to LED. The company’s warehouses are large and high. The construction of a mostly wired infrastructure is not economically feasible for this kind of application. Prologis regards the Wirepas mesh network as the best way to satisfy its need to combine several services. INGY provides a solution, based on the Wirepas-Massive Technology, to establish the lighting technology as a scalable IoT backbone. This way, the services of a smart building such as, for example, asset tracking, can also be used efficiently and cost-effectively at the warehouse. The innovative partners INGY and Wirepas provide software that works with most common lighting systems so that the client continues to enjoy freedom of choice in selecting implementation partners.
Smart lighting: Opportunity for the construction of a data infrastructure?
Knowledge is power. A familiar expression in English, which goes back to the philosopher Francis Bacon and thus to the 16th century. It is still valid today. What has changed: Knowledge is nowadays generated with data that lands in a cloud and from there is shared and selected in order to gain information about current conditions. This may relate to, for example, the location of a box in the warehouse, the performance of a machine, or the presence of employees on the premises. With this knowledge, the company saves time and costs that would otherwise be incurred, for example, in the deployment of personnel, machine downtime or inefficient lighting. Thus, the demand for services such as asset tracking, predictive maintenance, or energy-saving, as well as context-individual lighting control, is growing, thus creating new challenges of setting up a company data infrastructure. It should be cost-effective and straightforward to install and maintain. Is this possible with the assistance of smart lighting?
Lighting control solution by INGY provides services on top
The growing complexity of processes in a company is making data more important than ever before. Therefore, the concept of the smart building makes more and more sense. Sytze Terpstra, Head of Sales and Business Development at INGY, agrees: “Data is the new gold.” Smart lighting by INGY provides a lighting control solution that integrates a broad spectrum of smart building services such as asset tracking. A smart building offers the following benefits: efficient use of space, increased productivity, energy efficiency, and contented and healthy employees. This can be achieved by means of IoT. For this purpose, the building is equipped with intelligent IoT sensors. Bastiaan de Groot, Founder and CEO of INGY, explains: “There are many software solutions for smart buildings, but there is a shortage of affordable, scalable, and building-wide sensor solutions that provide the data these platforms need.” With Wirepas, INGY has found an ideal partner. “Wirepas offers us not only a highly scalable network, but also a broad ecosystem of existing sensors. We can use these to set up a smart building based on our wireless backbone created via the lighting”, says de Groot.
Together with INGY, Prologis lays the foundations for asset tracking
Prologis was looking for a way to implement asset tracking in its warehouses. Due to the size and the height of the ceilings, only a Mesh IoT solution can be considered. Robbert Heekelaar, Vice President IT Architecture & Emerging Technologies at Prologis, says: “IoT is a means to get the building to talk.” And to get the answers you want, there is no need for staff to leave their posts, nor is there any need for complicated maintenance or specialist knowledge. Having assessed several mesh networks, it was clear to Prologis that the Wirepas mesh network serves them best. This should also provide the reference points and infrastructure for asset tracking. Ultimately, the company became aware of INGY. The concept of INGY Smart Lighting was an ideal fit for the company. There is no dependency on specific equipment manufacturers or service providers, and the INGY lighting control solution is based on Wirepas. This ensures physical interoperability with widely available sensors and actuators, as well as cost-efficient location and inventory tags. In the course of the conversion to LED lighting, the light sources with INGY software were implemented directly, thus creating the basis for an intelligent warehouse and asset tracking.
Smart lighting: The IoT backbone by INGY facilitates new service
By integrating the sensors into the lighting, the basis for a smart building is established. This provides the IoT backbone, and no additional investment in infrastructure is necessary. With asset tracking, Prologis can offer its clients a comprehensive portfolio of new services in all aspects of localisation and inventory. The Wirepas mesh network creates the required flexibility, and a multitude of additional use cases are conceivable which can be quickly integrated into the existing infrastructure without any problems, depending on client needs and site conditions. The INGY lighting control solution was initially implemented in a large Prologis warehouse, and a six-month trial run is envisaged. The launch took place in December 2021. The data flow went directly to Prologis. The client then receives this as raw data or, if he wishes, as an optimised data packet stripped of irrelevant information.
What does Prologis wish to achieve with INGY?
The ceilings in a warehouse are at least 12 m high. The higher the starting point of the sensor, the more difficult asset tracking will be. With INGY combined with the Wirepas mesh network, Prologis demonstrates that the lighting system can also be used at this height. Asset tracking is to be made permanently available to clients as a service, thus expanding the range of services. During the test phase, it is important for the company to gain insight into the client’s point of view. How does it work for you, or how are you using it? And most importantly: Does it ultimately represent added value for the client? Robbert Heekelaar: “There is a difference between a good solution and what the client is willing to pay for. He has to see the benefit.”
What INGY and Wirepas are providing jointly
INGY uses the lighting as a carrier application and in this way enables building-wide coverage for the Wirepas network. This creates an IoT network within the building that is an alternative to Wi-Fi infrastructures which are costly to maintain and 5G mobile networks operated by third parties, with complete coverage and sensors as routers which ensure sufficient density in the building. Bastian de Groot explains: “The lighting can be used at minimal cost, as each light source is supplied with power and already has a radio chip for the lighting control.” The system is open, so that all the sensors of WP partners can use the backbone to connect to the cloud. The data can be used in virtually any cloud platform of a third-party provider. In addition to a first-class lighting system, INGY therefore provides a scalable IoT backbone (more than 10,000 nodes in a single installation) to its clients’ buildings, which can be used for a wide range of applications. “We provide our clients with the data they require in order to gain real-time insights into their building services. They can integrate the data into the platform of their choice and therefore maintain control of their data at all times”, adds de Groot. The used sensors with Wirepas connectivity offer a long service life, are battery-free and wireless, and easy to install. There is no single point of failure in this system.