Tech Trends: The Latest in Lighting and Power

Dec. 12, 2014
New innovations in lighting and video have spurred new power requirements as well

Smaller trade shows and conferences usually present the best opportunity to spend more quiet, quality time with exhibitors, and November’s Secured Cities show in Baltimore was no different. Several interesting technologies caught my attention. This column focuses on lighting and power products, but you can be sure to read about the others in future columns.

Seeing the Light

Raytec ( has offered network-controllable lighting for about two years, however, the new wrinkle I noticed was powering the light via “high PoE.” Two not-so-new innovations make this possible — high efficiency LED light sources and high PoE levels which go beyond the IEEE 802.3at PoE+ standard. So let’s take a closer look at these Raytec products, which are sure to invite imitation by others.

Raytec offers both visible and IR (850 nm and 940 nm) lighting, offered in packages with various lensing options and 12 or 24 LEDs. Commercially available 2 W LEDs — rated to have up to the same light output as 20W incandescent bulbs — are employed, resulting in 24 W and 48W ratings for these fixtures. The products have the equivalent output of several hundred watts of incandescent light, further enhanced by optics employed in front of the LEDs to concentrate the power.

Powered by PoE, the 12-unit package falls within 802.3at (PoE+); but the 24-unit package does not. So, what kind of performance do you get with 24 LED elements in camera applications? Raytec publishes a range specification of 150m (492 feet) for visible light, based on providing 3-5 lux on target; and 220m (722 feet) for IR, based on the distance at which 0.35 µW/cm2 is measured. That’s a noticeable extension of video in the dark, and due to the reduced noise in the picture, the video compression performance will be increased, reducing overall noise and, thus, bandwidth requirements. The reduced light requirements of Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) cameras will further improve performance.

Let’s layer in the functionality that a built-in web interface can provide. The ability to remotely configure, manage and alter lighting device settings is a major convenience that should lead to reductions in technician time and expense. Also, Raytec has announced successful integration with several VMS systems, enhancing system usability. Other key functions available include power control and the ability to dim or to boost light output; customized means of triggering lighting upon alarm input from motion, photocell or analytic; defining deterrent patterns and speeds; option for instant manual control of any illuminator to respond to live events or fine tune video images; operation of lighting in groups for large site situations; and, remote restart/reboot. A device network discovery tool is also provided.

Further innovation can be expected as remote controlled LED lighting grows in the consumer market. Look for integration of building lighting controls with security, all powered by a 50 VDC infrastructure that happens to be carrying network data.

Because PoE powered security lights are network devices, security features must be considered, as this creates another area of potential vulnerability. Undoubtedly, some will fail to change the default user names and passwords. Since many of these devices may be externally accessible, it is critical that every available security measure be taken — first to maintain functionality of the lighting and, more importantly, to protect the network. Manufacturers, for their part, should consider encrypted communications (at least through https), regular firmware updates, etc.

In any event, it is nice to add security lighting and illuminators to the family of network devices. Energy savings, installation savings, safety and enhanced functionality are always appreciated.

Power Needs Continue to Grow

Since 802.3at normally works over two pairs, it stands to reason that using four pairs increases the amount of potentially available power. By using 802.3at two-pair technology (25.5 watts over two pair to the PD, 30W from PSE), or something similar, and applying it to four pair, you get double the available power — or PoE++.

Vendors of these PoE++ products regularly tout 802.3at compatibility, so it is a good bet that is the path they are taking. Paul Rizzuto, Manager of Technical Sales and Training at Altronix, confirmed this approach for their own product and noted that they had successfully tested with several leading camera manufacturers. Several of the companies who now offer higher output PoE power injectors are: Axis (T8124 and T8125); Altronix (Netway 1D); Bosch (NPD 6001-A); Cisco (UPOE); EtherWAN (EX78600); Microsemi (PD-9501G); Moxa (INJ-24A); and Phihong (PoE61 Series). Note that any non-standard PoE solution should be tested with the proposed injector and Powered Device (PD), and manufacturers should be consulted for their recommendations.

Unfortunately, this distributed knowledge and growing number of offerings have not yet coalesced into a new IEEE standard. There are various names for this higher level of POE power — High POE, PoE++, Ultra POE, etc. Some companies, such as Linear, have announced PoE chip support for up to 90W of power. So the power is there — the standard is not. The good news is that, in Dec. 2013, the IEEE authorized project 802.3bt to address this. It is not the first time that standards efforts have rushed to keep up with what the market had already begun to do on its own.

The implications of a higher PoE standard go far beyond lighting. Devices in the 25-50 Watt range include certain nurse call systems, point of sale (POS) terminals, building management applications, motor control systems and more. Upon adoption of a new 802.3bt standard, I believe that we will quickly see PoE++ network switches (Gig-E needs 4 pair anyway), multi-port mid-span injectors, and other specialty power devices.

Ray Coulombe is Founder and Managing Director of and Ray can be reached at [email protected], through LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter @RayCoulombe.

About the Author

Ray Coulombe

Ray Coulombe is founder of, the industry’s largest searchable database of specifiers in the physical security and ITS markets. He is also Principal Consultant for Gilwell Technology Services. He can be reached at [email protected] or through LinkedIn.