Email Interview – Evan Petridis and Ken SinclairOctober 31, 2017 EnlightedThis article originally appeared in AutomatedBuildings.com. Evan Petridis, Chief System Architect at Enlighted Evan Petridis is a technical leader with a wide range of experience as an executive, system architect and designer. An electronic engineer by training, Evan has developed an array of technology products in computer networking, telecom, renewable energy and the Internet of Things (IoT). He has co-founded several companies and now focuses on unearthing concrete business benefits in the realm of IoT systems architecture at Enlighted. IoT-Ready™ Alliance Its goal is to eliminate the barriers to IoT so more building owners can reap the benefits of this technology, resulting in more energy-efficient, safe and comfortable commercial buildings. Sinclair: What is the IoT-Ready™ Alliance? Petridis: The IoT-Ready™ Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization of leading industry companies and thought leaders, coming together to solve a customer problem. Its goal is to eliminate the barriers to IoT so more building owners can reap the benefits of this technology, resulting in more energy-efficient, safe and comfortable commercial buildings. The Alliance is working to accomplish its goal by creating a common standard for IoT-enabled lighting fixtures. This standard will allow all new LED lighting fixtures to be manufactured with a standard socket for intelligent IoT sensors, allowing those sensors to be added or changed at any time, including after fixture installation. This will make the addition or update of smart sensors as simple as changing a light bulb. Both fixture-integrated and external sensors are being addressed, and the specifications will include definitions for electrical interfaces, connectors, and mechanical form-factors. Sinclair: Why now? Petridis: LED light fixtures are an ideal carrier for IoT technology in buildings, providing ubiquitous locations for granular data collection throughout the space while delivering electric power to the sensors. Yet today, only a small percentage of LED fixtures have smart sensors. LED light fixtures typically boast a long lifetime of 15 years or more. Today, in the absence of a standardized fixture-to-sensor interface, the success of the LED technology is condemning buildings to be unintelligent for the lifetime of the fixture – at least the next decade or more. The IoT-Ready™ Alliance’s fixture to sensor interface provides a low-cost mechanism to avoid these LED-enabled buildings that will never have a viable route to intelligence. Additionally, we must consider the rapid evolution of IoT and smart sensor technology. IoT sensor technology is advancing at a similar pace to mobile phones, and major IoT technology upgrades will certainly occur throughout the LED fixture’s life. These upgrade cycles for the IoT sensors call for a cost-effective, low-impact method of upgrading sensors, allowing build owners to continue to reap the benefits of the most advanced IoT technology while preserving their investments in high quality, long-life LED lighting infrastructure. For these reasons, it is imperative that the lighting industry comes together to make IoT-Ready™ lighting the industry standard, immediately. We cannot miss this critical opportunity to ensure all new LED fixtures feature smart sensors or at least have the capability to add a smart sensor in the future. Sinclair: What is the relationship between lighting and the IoT? Petridis: Lighting fixtures are the perfect place to install IoT sensors. Lighting is everywhere, and sensors need power, which lighting fixtures possess. Also, lighting fixtures have perfect spatial density. They are designed to illuminate every square foot of a building. By installing IoT sensors into the lighting fixtures, it becomes possible to measure and optimize every square foot of space within a building. LED fixtures with IoT sensors installed create immediate lighting energy savings of up to 90 percent in a building. Once installed, this IoT sensor grid immediately enables a host of high-value applications like HVAC optimization, space planning, asset tracking, safety and security enhancements, and more. Sinclair: What problem does this solve for the lighting industry? Reliable ControlsPetridis: The issues currently faced with IoT installation in lighting are mainly due to differing expertise, groups and priorities, and timing. When companies install LED lighting, the decision is mostly driven by the operations team (OT) making lighting decisions without visibility to potential IT impact. So, unless the requirements for IoT applications are made clear by the eventual user of the building, IoT sensors are out of the install. In other cases, companies are ready to upgrade to LED lighting, but are not yet be ready to select and deploy an IoT system. IoT-Ready™ aims to solve this problem by ensuring that the LED fixtures are manufactured with a standardized socket for a smart IoT sensor. This allows building owners to upgrade their lighting today, while feeling secure that the eventual occupant of the building can select an IoT system of their choice later. IoT-Ready™ makes upgrading to lighting-based IoT simple, easy and cost-effective. While there are many standards bodies that work in IoT and lighting, the sensor-luminaire interface is actually an area that has seen very little standards activity to date. The IoT-Ready™ Alliance structure is being carefully designed to allow rapid progress on well-defined problems, like the sensor-luminaire interface. Speed is of the essence. Sinclair: Does IoT-Ready™ apply to all buildings? Petridis: Today, IoT-Ready™ is being targeted at commercial and public buildings – offices, factories, warehouses, stores, schools, hospitals, etc. Any company or individual in the lighting, IoT or related industries should become a member of the Alliance. It will take the entire industry to make IoT-Ready™ a success, so everyone is strongly encouraged to join. There are a variety of membership levels available. Please visit www.iot-ready.org for details.