Cars fly past your mega-skyscraper window. Your friendly robot arrives serving your favorite martini. As the sun goes down, the lights dim and change hue for a more evening appropriate mood.
You get up and walk into your bedroom. As the light dims further behind you, your bedroom comes to life without you needing to push a single button.
This vision, once merely part of a fantastic dream enjoyed by science-fiction enthusiasts, is now fast becoming a reality.
To readers of magazines like Engadget, Wired, and even their mainstream cousins The Guardian and The Atlantic, things like flying cars are no longer just a crazy dream. These super-tech write-ups have become regular fare.
For those of us who remember televisions with aerial antennas, the super-thin 72-inch flatscreens we see seemingly suspended in thin air today are a drastic improvement. What’s next? Virtual displays?
PoE lighting upgrades are paving the way for this exciting future, and we’re all excited to see the next leaps that are just over the horizon.
Let’s take a look at some of the amazing ways this technology is going to be leveraged in the near future.
The Connected Street
The same LED Lighting capabilities we now see in buildings will soon be moving onto city streets. These include evolving light temperatures, sensor activation, energy savings and Ethernet data and power sourcing.
These will not only provide ways for us to save energy as a society. These advances will also allow planners and municipal authorities to provide safer conditions and relieve traffic congestion in real-time.
A full list of potential benefits includes:
- Wider deployment of smart traffic lights. No more sitting at an empty intersection waiting for the lights to turn green.
- Air quality engineering. Rerouting traffic to reduce our carbon footprint and negative impact on the environment
- Location based services. Getting the right people to places where they’re needed faster
- Autonomous vehicle support infrastructure. Lane marking and other features that optimize autonomous navigation capabilities.
- Monitoring of roads for repair. Faster deployment of infrastructure services when required.
- Street lighting quality to promote safety and well-being. The right light to deter crime in densely populated urban areas.
The City of Los Angeles is currently preparing pilot projects that will enhance the development of lighting programs city-wide. We can’t wait to see how this shakes out.
Interactive Public Spaces
With land and public space becoming more valuable, larger amounts of municipal real estate will begin to move underground. Not unlike how railroads eventually made their way below the surface to become subways.
These underground parks, shopping malls, and other high traffic spaces will require dynamic and efficient lighting. With so much time spent indoors, the population will have less frequent access to natural light. That could have residual impacts on health and wellness.
With the help of technology however, a lack of natural light doesn’t have to be as problematic is it might otherwise be.
Manufacturers are already developing bulbs and other lighting products that mirror the lighting frequencies found naturally outdoors. Leveraging these lighting technologies will enhance the benefits and comfort of these shared spaces.
Designers are looking to employ this technology in a number of other applications to positively benefit society and save on infrastructure spending.
The Nearly-Zero Energy Movement
Nearly-Zero Energy Buildings provide a stunning example of what is possible when innovators join forces with planners and architects. To qualify as Nearly Zero, buildings must balance total energy consumed on an annual basis with the amount of renewable energy generated on site.
Ethernet connectivity is definitely part of that movement as it’s a low power, less expensive way to install network infrastructure that in turn can support Zero Energy initiatives.
PoE lighting (when combined with energy efficient LED bulbs) is also essential for these installations to meet their overall energy-usage goals.
Personally Optimized Home Spaces
Lights, temperatures, displays and other home settings will be minutely adjusted for the comfort of each family and the space in which they reside.
Door bells, locks and other safety requirements can be timed and controlled remotely. Window shades can even be adjusted according to outside temperatures and the angle of the sun.
H.G. Wells would be proud.
For more in-depth reading on the subject, check out our post about how to optimize LED lighting installations using PoE lighting platforms.
Sustainable City Farming
Unclaimed spaces within a city can be re-purposed to provide low-water, pest-controlled opportunities to grow produce.
Because LED is a lower-energy solution more and more municipalities will be able to afford these initiatives. Further, installation and setup is simply because Ethernet cabling is fairly ubiquitous.
With these advancements, the option to grow your own food in city gardens will become more readily available. Even indoor operations, something that is already becoming common in many cities around the world, will become a widespread phenomenon.
That’s great news for health conscious eaters that are interested in growing their own food and preserving the environment. It also saves consumers money since locally grown food requires less preservation. The cost savings from shorter transport times are generally passed on to consumers as well.
As an example, one commercial aquaponics urban farm in East London produces up to 20,000 kilograms of fresh salad a year. That’s a nice business for someone with a green thumb.
This technology is advancing at a rapid pace. We expect to see a return to the benefits of a more natural environment even in crowded urban settings. Natural light spectrums, wiser use of space, and energy efficiency will combine to make city living more wholesome.
This all paints a pretty picture doesn’t it?
An optimized, efficient landscape that our generation can leave behind for our younger counterparts. It may look quite different from the one we inherited, and that’s OK.
Even if much of this change doesn’t come to pass, we’ll still have made the world easier to navigate, more energy-efficient, and better lit! That’s not a bad legacy either.
One thing is sure: with consumer need driving the energy and lighting industries, the trend towards energy efficiency isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. CFOs and others are watching their dollars closely. The wild popularity of the Power over Ethernet movement is a testimony to that frugality.
If you’re putting together a project bid and would like some insight into the best PoE equipment for your unique install, please feel free to reach out. Our analysts would be more than happy to help.