Whether you’re building new, or doing a gut renovation migrating to an IoT architecture, step one is to move from the current processes that impede technology adoption in a new build or rehabs. Only then will you be able to recognize the opportunities of PoE lighting in new construction.
As the industry moves forward with PoE Lighting installations, it is learning that the cost of installing an PoE lighting can be reduced material and labor cost. These savings will increase as the efficacy of power distribution and LED fixtures improves.
PoE lighting in new construction is key
The key catalyst enabling this move to a lower-cost, more-functional IoT architecture is Internet Protocol/Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting. Today, several providers have open architecture solutions that allow you to install versatile fixtures from different manufacturers. Most PoE lighting providers work with any LED fixture that operates within the current 60W PoE standards. Luminetworx manufacturers it’s own brand of fixtures. Why is this such a big deal? When you marry to different systems you are left with many incompatibilities. Luminetworx manufacturer’s all the the components in the system so that they all work in perfect harmony extending the life and efficiency of the system.
As the industry moves forward with PoE Lighting installations, it’s learning that the cost of installing a PoE fixture can be reduced by 10, 20, 30 dollars or even more, with each light being controlled, versus an uncontrolled high-voltage (HV) LED system install.
The impact of the initial cost savings of poe lighting in new construction is two fold. First, all standalone control systems, wired and wireless, become obsolete, as they simply do not create the granularity of data or offer the performance, and they are always a cost-plus effort. Moreover, core components (core switches, enterprise security, structured cabling, power support) can be paid for while lowering the overall project cost. The immediate impact of this is the more base-systems put on the lighting IoT building network, the more cost effective the project becomes. This approach is much more cost-effective than building a disparate collection of building systems.
How does PoE Lighting get there?
You need to adopt a different plan—a technology adoption plan—that changes how you leverage technology to gain that competitive cost advantage. And just as importantly, this plan must not impact other MEP’.
A proven approach that limits overall project disruption is to work within the current construction processes. Architects, engineers and property management teams lean heavily on outside consultants and vendors who are financially motivated to keep the status quo. The result is that they continue to “bid and build” or “ a disparate collection of systems that are easy to acquire but expensive to build and operate.
The goal is to create a methodology to help the team execute within the same well established structure. You should pull all the technology-focused areas out, modify the content and put it all back. In this way, you can procure everything through the normal bid process and get it built through the normal build processes, while using as much traditional labor as possible. Focus on identifying opportunities and modifying specifications and drawings. By fitting into the current build/migration process.
Working within the current construction bid processes is a proven approach that limits overall project disruption.
If you are working with lighting consultants, explain that you are simply changing how lights are powered and controlled. Limit your suggestions on fixtures to efficacy and performance. The lighting consultants should continue to do their job, determining things like fixture type, aesthetic considerations, and light levels. They should develop the reflected ceiling plan, but instead of handing it to the electrical engineer to place high voltage behind it, you should work with them to build an IoT platform to support it. By adopting a solution that is PoE-specific, you can enable lighting consultants to design as they always have, but to use PoE lighting and sensors. In that way, you remove the main obstacle to technology adoption that keeps a better solution out of the design.
Industry experts have learned that taking the time to invest in designing for a consolidated IoT platform will reduce build costs 10 times versus the current inefficient method of adopting technology.
Right people, right skills, right product
The ability to adopt better technology with the right approach requires the right skill set. Understanding that skill set for technology adoption needs to be inserted in design, bidding, building, commissioning, and planning for ongoing operations.
Finding the right people with the right skills and the right motivation may be the biggest bottleneck to this process today. They are out there, and they are gaining more and more experience every day. They are well worth seeking out. Having the right skill set in all phases of a project—from design to commissioning—is vital.
You need to remove process, content, and culture barriers in order to succeed. You must recognize where the current processes have inappropriate content or lack of structure for needed content. You need to have a plan for dealing with these obstacles.
Typically, you can alleviate most of the active and passive resistance from electrical contractors and unions during the bid/build process by simply committing to the design. Working with electrical engineers during the design phase, you can lower energy density by removing the light load from high-voltage build. If done traditionally, the entire electrical spend may be $10 million, with a $500,000 low-voltage spend for enterprise communications. Instead, you can lower the overall electrical spend to $8-9 million and raise the low-voltage spend to $500,00-1 million.
All too often, the traditional specification and drawings go out to bid with the PoE lighting as the “alternate,” . This can result in electrical contractors bidding the traditional option and either excluding or skewing the alternate. This happens because the traditional players are unwilling or unable to change.
Destroying the technology myth
Don’t believe the myths that smart buildings are too costly, connected buildings are insecure and that IoT technology is too new. The reality is that a consolidated IoT platform is simpler and the architecture requires less material and labor. A single integrated architecture is cost-effective and provides enterprise security, whereas a disparate collection of smart systems leaves holes because no one invests in enterprise security for all of them. PoE for all building systems such as: lighting, automated window shades, temperature, security access, A/V equipment, and bathroom conveniences and HVAC controls is where the real return-on-investment can be realized.