Bluetooth Mesh Revolution

If you have been following any of the development of Bluetooth technology or if you have read other papers by Lumens For Less you have heard of Bluetooth Mesh.

In 2017 The Bluetooth Mesh SIG group finalized the protocol for using mesh technology in an open source firmware design that allows everyone to adapt this powerful wireless network system to virtually any product or use.  But the real power of mesh technology is best realized in lighting applications.

Bluetooth was initially a great means of wireless communication because it was designed to work great with low power battery products like smartphones.  With mesh technology its backwards compatibility allows this protocol to be used with any device, such as your current smartphone. (You may have heard the team at Lumens For Less talk about this backwards compatibility feature in our solid state lighting products for almost two years.)

In mesh networks, instead of a central device communicating with individual peripheral devices, a message is relayed from one point in the network to any other hopping across bi-directional channels connecting multiple nodes. In this way, mesh networking brings notable advantages because it allows simultaneous control over dozens of connected devices, overcoming range limitations, and builds in redundancy.  Bluetooth mesh can support up to 32,000 nodes!

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Like solid state lighting Bluetooth mesh is a relatively new technology for lighting.  LFL has long been at the leading edge of these new powerful tools, in fact sometimes introducing such cutting-edge technology makes end users hesitate to move forward.  There is always a concern about adopting something that is new and potentially “untested”. However with LED lighting and wireless protocols the “untested” concern need not apply assuming that you are working with a reputable and experienced LED specifier and installer.

In many cases a business waits for pricing to come down or product performance to increase.  But lo and behold while waiting for the “perfect” system to come along these businesses pay again and again, with excessive energy and maintenance costs, for what they could have been using much sooner.

We are all learning that in the solid-state lighting discipline the great savings in energy and maintenance costs as well as utility rebates are just the first part of the overall picture.  Many sales conscious industries like new car sales grasped the huge value of improved lighting on their products creating more evening activity and more sales.  The lighting market for car sales is probably 75-90% upgraded to LED lighting.

In 2018 we are beginning to see lighting as an infrastructure that goes way beyond just illuminating work and sales areas. Study after study is demonstrating that the highest overhead expense a business has, employee costs, is seeing drastic improvement because employee performance is significantly improved thanks to tunable solid-state lighting in the work area. Employees are more comfortable, happier and heathier under LED light. That is just the first intrinsic benefit.

Now we are seeing the evolution of solid state lighting move into smart controls, wireless sensors and the unique ability to communicate with itself throughout any facility. Enter Bluetooth Mesh.

Bluetooth Mesh is unique in that it facilitates the direct communication between lights and a smart phone, computer, tablet or any wirelessly connected device. Should one “connection mode” fail the system just jumps to the next fixture in proximity.  Bluetooth is very secure, not hackable by any outside reprobate and very easy to implement into existing management tools. With Bluetooth Mesh each light becomes a device that will store and communicate data.

Managers can monitor the time that a light is on at full power, is dimmed or is off. This helps manage energy use.  Monitoring energy use is not new of course but the systems currently used to do this are expensive, not user friendly and typically after a short while become ignored as no one has the time to compile the info into a valuable tool and the expertise of the user fades over time. Managing the off and on of lights is kid stuff with Bluetooth Mesh and the self-generated data is quickly available to anyone in the company that finds value with it.

But what really makes Bluetooth Mesh a powerful tool is its ability to track and store other data which can provide the management team with some really mind opening data never before possible with any degree of accuracy. Easy to access, easy to customize and available 24/7.

Suppose you needed to track inventory for expensive products…easy with BM

Suppose you needed to monitor the temperature of a product for QC……easy with BM

Suppose you wanted to monitor a products exposure to UV light……. easy with BM

Suppose you wanted to track how much time a shopper spends in a certain area……easy with BM

Suppose you wanted to track how long a certain procedure was taking...…. easy with BM

The monitoring and tracking options are unlimited.

All this valuable information is quickly available to designated individuals in your organization. Managers can tune into their needs and applications can be modified to get the specifics your team needs without hassle.

So, don’t be challenged by new technology needing to be “tried and proven” before you engage.  When it is as simple as LED lighting and Bluetooth Mesh the trial is over.  Key managers are quickly engaging these powerful tools and you should be as well.

Contact Chris Dubriske at Lumens For Less, Inc. 603-499-7788 to discuss your needs and plans.