Why security practitioners should care about intelligent LED lighting

Feb. 28, 2017
Lighting technologies offer new security capabilities, costs savings for facilities

New intelligent LED lighting is a big deal for facility security for these reasons:

  • Up to 98 percent reduction in lighting electrical energy costs
  • LED lighting projects can help fund security system initiatives
  • Occupancy intelligent LED lighting fixture sensors improve security and safety response
  • Intelligent LED lighting control capabilities provide valuable new security capabilities

Electrical Energy Savings

A 98 percent reduction in lighting energy savings is not usual, and I’ve been told 60 to 80 percent reduction is more typical. However, the West Baden Springs Hotel in Indiana is a very special example of energy savings. The hotel’s Atrium lighting project replaced 150 1000-watt bulbs—which consumed 150,000 watts per hour—with PoE powered lighting that consumed less than 4,000 watts per hour while providing more light. Every light is connected to an Ethernet switch, and the full-color LED chandelier lighting has programmed color "playlists" that provide color tones to match events of all types. The Atrium is shown in this article’s photo image above.

New Security Capabilities

The transformation to intelligent LED lighting, whose lighting fixtures can include light level sensors, occupancy sensors, air quality sensors, smoke detection sensors and so on, brings quite a list of safety and security related capabilities to the table. The term “Human-Friendly Buildings” is being used to describe the goal for intelligent buildings, and security plays an integral part in that vision. For example, when occupancy sensors show that someone is working alone in an isolated section of a building, a security officer can perform a friendly foot patrol visit and let the occupant know that security is actively patrolling the building. This is a human-friendly element of making workplaces safe and secure.

Ceiling lighting color, for example, can be set to red for evacuation, yellow for shelter in place, and green for all-clear, on a room-by-room basis. Hallway lighting fixtures can change the lighting color in sequence to indicate evacuation direction. Hall lighting in front of an unsafe room entrance can flash red as a warning not to open the door. Building evacuation progress can be tracked in real-time using ceiling-based occupancy sensors. These are a few of the many security operational benefits.

Defining the Right Project

Intelligent lighting projects have a very high return on investment, and this ROI can be used to find safety and security system improvements implemented via the network established by intelligent ceiling lighting. Digital signage, room by room two-way audio, low-cost ceiling-based hallway video are all feasible safety and security improvements when incorporated into an intelligent LED ceiling lighting initiative. Any significant intelligent LED lighting project should incorporate additional facility safety and security improvements—after all, the ultimate objective is a safe and productive workplace. Early involvement in these type projects is crucial so as security technology advances, there is a pre-defined place for it in the lighting initiative.

Getting Ahead of the Game

Intelligent LED lighting is an emerging technology, and the physical security industry is just beginning to consider the advantages of potential security operations benefits. However, security technology is advancing much more quickly than it has in the past, and several companies are already designing and implementing security system integrations for lighting and other intelligent building systems.

For security practitioners, that means now is the time to start the conversations with IT, facilities or real estate departments about exploring the opportunities based upon the intelligent lighting technologies now appearing.

That’s why my colleagues and I are attending the Strategies in Lighting and LED Show events in Anaheim, California this week. So look for more SecurityInfoWatch articles in the coming months about the opportunities for security and safety in intelligent lighting projects.

About the Author: Ray Bernard, PSP CHS-III, is a writer, columnist and the Convergence for Security Technology Executive magazine, and a regular contributor to Security Dealer & Integrator magazine. He is also a featured writer for SecurityInfoWatch.com (SIW). His popular Real Words or Buss Words? article series is published every two weeks on SIW. Ray is also the principal consultant for Ray Bernard Consulting Services (RBCS), a firm that provides security consulting services for public and private facilities. Ray is an active member of the ASIS Physical Security Council and the IT Security Council. For more information about Ray Bernard and RBCS go to www.go-rbcs.com or call 949-831-6788. Follow Ray on Twitter: @RayBernardRBCS

About the Author

Ray Bernard, PSP, CHS-III

Ray Bernard, PSP CHS-III, is the principal consultant for Ray Bernard Consulting Services (www.go-rbcs.com), a firm that provides security consulting services for public and private facilities. He has been a frequent contributor to Security Business, SecurityInfoWatch and STE magazine for decades. He is the author of the Elsevier book Security Technology Convergence Insights, available on Amazon. Mr. Bernard is an active member of the ASIS member councils for Physical Security and IT Security, and is a member of the Subject Matter Expert Faculty of the Security Executive Council (www.SecurityExecutiveCouncil.com).

Follow him on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/raybernard

Follow him on Twitter: @RayBernardRBCS.