Enlighted Is to Buildings as Tesla Is to Automobiles

October 16, 2015
Enlighted Inc.

System transformation at the flip of a switch

Snap. Tesla announced today that a simple software update to its world-leading energy efficient vehicles will bring auto-piloted, quasi-driverless vehicles into the marketplace for the first time in human history.

This is a live lesson in the transformative power of the Internet of Things. While Tesla, on the surface, may seem like another product company that builds fuel-efficient vehicles, this is, in fact, no longer the case. With today’s announcement Tesla is telling the world that it is now an Internet of Things platform focused on advancing global transportation intelligence.

What’s the difference, you might ask. The difference is that traditional product companies, like car companies, have typically built stand-alone products that are not connected to the Internet or to the world around them. So while the automobile industry has become increasingly digitized over the past few decades, its products (cars) have still been, at their core, disconnected.

The distinguishing feature of IoT companies, on the other hand, is that their products are components of an intelligent system—connected to both the physical world via sensors, and to the Internet via ethernet and wireless technologies.

One of the most powerful features of these platforms is their extensibility. Extensibility means that these technology platforms can be extended simply by writing new software on top of the underlying sensor technology. In the case of Tesla, this meant a software upgrade that gives their vehicles autopilot capabilities that learn over time from both the driver and the environments through which the driver travels.

Another feature of IoT-enabled devices is connectedness. The Tesla vehicle generates reams of data through it’s powerful network of sensors. This data is then shared anonymously with a central repository, and can be leveraged to 1) create any number of new software applications and 2) inform driving decisions in real-time.

You can imagine that a tree falls on a road somewhere. It only takes one Tesla vehicle to discover this tree, and for this information to be shared to the central repository before all Tesla vehicles – and potentially cleanup crews from the local government – instantly become aware of this hazard, saving money and potentially lives.

Enlighted does exactly what Tesla does, but for buildings. Enlighted sensors are installed at light fixtures throughout a building and also on assets that move within and throughout a building. These sensors generate data on heat, light, occupancy, and – in the case of mobile physical assets – location. These sensors share their data anonymously with a central repository.

Software applications harvest this data for insights, and give building managers—at the flip of a switch—new tools to create better experiences for building occupants, and new tools to improve productivity and outcomes for businesses.

In hospitals, this means easily locatable medical equipment, which saves lives. In warehouses, this means faster order processing, which saves money. In offices, this means lighting and heating profiles for each specific workstation, tuned to work patterns and circadian rhythms. And on and on.

The combination of sensors that are connected both to the world, and to the Internet are what make the possibilities for transportation and building management virtually limitless.

And as Tesla breaks the old mould and re-imagines itself as an intelligent transportation platform, much more becomes possible in every industry.

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