COVID-19 Update
A message from John Selldorff on the COVID-19 virus and what LNCA is doing in response.
Menu
Search
Menu
Industry Insights

Expand Your Knowledge on The Internet of Things

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Did you know that according to Gartner, the Internet of Things (IoT) can help reduce the cost of energy, spacial management, and building maintenance by up to 30%?

The Internet of Things, also known as IoT, is a network of uniquely identifiable endpoints that contain embedded technology to sense, collect and act on data locally or with external environments, without human interaction.

Visit our tool kit now to learn more about what IoT has to offer. 

LEGRAND IoT TOOL KIT

The Internet of Things Simply Defined

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Check out Legrand’s IoT Application Guide!

Our new IoT Application Guide will help you understand how connected devices are impacting the commercial building’s cabling infrastructure and why a structured cabling system is beneficial in IoT enablement.
 

Topics include:

• Device vs. Enabling Infrastructure
• PoE
• Centralized vs. Decentralized Topologies


The guide also includes practical examples of building layouts and a product mini-catalog.

 
DOWNLOAD NOW!


CTD: Connecting Low Voltage PoE LED Lighting

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 | by Rudy Montgelas

Did you know that to save energy and provide enhanced occupant experiences, lighting systems in commercial buildings are emerging that utilize energy saving LED troffers powered by low voltage power over Ethernet (PoE) networks?  There is a significantly reduced operating energy cost and higher reliability with the LEDs compared to incandescent or fluorescent lights.  In addition, the safety and efficiency of DC power, in conjunction with the ability to converge the data over twisted pair cabling, is a compelling reason why this technology is being considered.
 

What’s Low voltage LED lighting?
 

LEDs (light Emitting Diodes) are efficient and compact semiconductor devices that give off light (photons) when a direct electrical current of sufficient voltage is applied to the (P-N) junction of the device.  
 


 

LED technology has been heavily under research for automobiles for many years and this research has lead to significant advances in LED materials and reliability.  Because LEDs do not have filaments like common household electrical light bulbs, they don’t generate nearly as much heat as the filament lamps.  Also, they use only a fraction of the energy to generate the equivalent amount of light from both incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. 
 

Why consider low voltage LED lighting systems?
 

When you head to the hardware store today, you’ll hardly see filament light bulbs anymore.  Those bulbs are rapidly being replaced by LED bulbs and the prices are dropping significantly as more LEDs light bulbs are being produced. Even the US Department of Energy is promoting the effort to replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs and has some interesting statistics on energy savings and LED lighting at their website 1.  

 


 

This low voltage LED lighting technology is permeating into the commercial office space as well.  One of the key reasons is the advantages afforded by using low voltage (about 45 to 60 volts DC) PoE based power, cabling and connectivity to the lights at 60 watts.  PoE can now power LED lights over low voltage four pair twisted copper cabling rather than having to use conventional high voltage 120VAC copper cabling.  In a sense, Power, Lighting and Data can now converged over the same cable.  One might think of it as PLD convergence.
 

What should I think about when considering a PLD network infrastructure?
 

Cisco recently released a Catalyst® 3850 (UPoE) switch on the market that delivers DC PoE power at 60 watts.  This switch can be used to power LED lighting fixtures (troffers) installed in the raised ceilings of office buildings. 
 

 



Recently, Legrand teamed up with Platformatics, who makes the software/firmware and the system controllers for the LED troffers, Superior Essex, with their PoE optimized PowerWise cabling, and Cisco’s with their 3850 UPoE switches, to produce a low voltage UPoE LED lighting installation solution in Fishers Indiana.2
 
The LED lights in the building have color tune ability and the intensity is adjustable through a user interface application which resides on wireless mobile devices and PCs.  The Platformatics Area Controllers provide security and application programs to handle control and manage the LED troffers.  Wall switches, and temperature and occupancy sensors converge the temperature, occupancy and day lighting harvesting data onto the single PoE cable integrally connected to the system.
 



When planning and installing such a LED lighting system, it is important for the infrastructure designers and installers to think about some of the following considerations:

  • Cabling distance runs and number of copper cables in a bundle contributing to power and signal loss as well as heat generation.
  • Centralized or Decentralized PoE  
  • Proper heat dissipation for the UPoE switches
  • The use of copper UTP cables capable of handling the PoE voltages and currents required by the LED lights such as Superior Essex’s PowerWise™ cabling is recommended which has the industry’s lowest loss and heat rise for PoE applications

Catalyst is a registered trademark of Cisco Systems.

 

  • The selection of robust copper RJ-45 jacks and plugs capable of carrying 1.5 amps of PoE power or more, such as Legrand’s Clarity series CAT5E or CAT6A jacks that do not suffer from contact signal degradation due to “spark gap” erosion when disconnected

Legrand’s HDJ series patch panels offer hybrid modularity and connection flexibility for quick and easy multimedia insertions into a high density patch panel footprint. So, the 24 and 48-port HDJ series angled patch panels, CAT5E Jacks and 2-port surface mount boxes were ideal to interconnect the switches and the LED ceiling troffers.  More importantly, the Clarity 5E jacks are designed with additional power and data “headroom” to support the distributed power demands for the LED lights while at the same time assuring up to 10 gigabit per second error-free data connections.
 

 

Summary

Future buildings will continue to require the need for more advanced, converged power, lighting and data solutions. This will include the support for high speed data communications, lighting and power delivery through a sophisticated network infrastructure for its occupants.2 Converged power, LED Lighting and data, over carefully selected PoE DC low voltage cabling and connectivity components, can offer potentially significant energy savings, features and costs for these office buildings of the future.  This technology may even possibly have potential applications for residential and smart home applications in the future as well.  
Stay tuned for more exciting developments in commercial LED lighting as the technology evolves through the Legrand ELIoT initiative, the addition of Pinnacle Lighting Systems to the Legrand family and Legrand’s partnership with Cisco in the Digital Ceiling Platform.3
 

References:

1 US Department of Energy Website: http://go.legrand.us/e/84502/energysaver-led-lighting/5s3n47/162460196
2 “Lighting the Way Through innovation at Launch Fishers with Digital Ceiling PoE LED Solutions” Legrand White Paper - 2016
3 Press releases on Legrand’s Digital Ceiling Initiative 
                                            

Connecting the Internet of Things - IoT

Friday, August 26, 2016 | by Rudy Montgelas

This week’s CTD talks about the Internet of Things (IoT). 

Most likely, all of you have heard the constant industry “buzz” about the internet of things.  The IoT world is affecting all of us in our everyday lives as electronic systems, sensors, wireless devices and drones and robots, even our cars, are all getting smarter and connected with the goal of making our everyday lives more productive through the networking of these disparate devices with each other.  Everywhere you look today, people are tapping away on their smart phones, computers and tablets running applications (Apps) and programs that interact through the Web.

What’s an IoT device?

IoT devices are electronic gizmos, such as your cell phone, smart thermostat or intelligent doorbell that can send you a video every time someone approaches your front door. What distinguishes these as IoT devices are that they are uniquely identifiable and connected to a communication network, either wirelessly for mobility or hard wired through copper or fiber optic communications cabling.  They contain their own embedded operating systems, with software and hardware such as microprocessors, and they can make their own decisions based on their programming, to sense, collect, communicate and, exchange information in a local network or with other larger networks such as the Internet. 

 

How does this affect me?

Connected IoT devices can enhance your everyday environment1.  IoT affects our everyday lives by:

  • Creating and providing new experiences
  • Monitoring and adjusting environments
  • Improving or customizing products and services
  • Automating processes and services
  • Understanding businesses and analyzing their data
  • Predicting outcomes and taking appropriate actions
  • Managing assets and maintaining security
  • Enabling areal time support and maintenance

More and more of these IoT devices are rapidly appearing on the market and are being put to work for all of us. This is creating a huge impact on our local and worldwide networks, and the data centers supporting them, requiring more bandwidth, data storage and application processing. 

In addition, previously separate devices and infrastructures are converging onto the same network, utilizing standard category cabling to both network and power devices with Power over Ethernet (PoE). Intelligent LED lighting, because of transitioning to a low voltage distribution as opposed to traditional lighting infrastructure, is now able to be networked to other lights, sensors and devices, as well as be powered, over the same infrastructure as most wireless access points and VOIP phones are deployed today.


IoT


What’s a connected device?

A Connected IoT device senses and collects information from the environment and process or acts on its own to perform particular tasks.  It can be through a local network supporting Internet based software services and application services, commonly referred to as Apps running over connected hard wired or wireless communications networks.

These IoT devices usually sense, analyze and process data autonomously and communicate with the other devices or the Internet during or after processing the information as required. So, the speed at which information is sent and received, and the delays in obtaining that information, can significantly affect IoT performance.  That’s why it’s important to make sure that the network can adequately support necessary the communication link requirements.


IoT


Centralized versus Decentralized Networks:

There are two different network architecture approaches to providing a connected infrastructure: 

In centralized architectures, IoT connected devices transfer their data and processing requests directly back a centralized location, such as a data center serving multiple buildings or a data center serving just one, where the processing and storage of information is performed by servers running specific Apps. Requests for action and processed data are in turn sent back to the connected devices from these centralized applications.

In the decentralized approach, edge computing is enabled by Apps running on embedded processors in the connected devices and the gateways.  This assigns responsibility for computing and information processing to the IoT devices themselves.  IoT devices are not required to communicated back to the data center for instructions or data analysis. The information is processed locally so that network latency is not a major impact that affects IoT device performance. Only the transfer of critical information is required to be sent back to the data center.  This allows for faster processing of streaming data and links with other devices to accomplish tasks and allow systems to work autonomously by delivering information to the decision-making points faster and more efficiently.  The decentralized approach also reduces a “Big Data” communications impact since data can be scrutinized and processed at the edge first so that only the useful data need be stored in a data center storage area networks (SANs).

IoT

Summary

                The Internet of Things is placing significant demands on networks to the point where a high performance and reliable connected communications infrastructure is becoming more critical than ever.  Planning for the future when designing your converged power, light and data infrastructure will require careful consideration of many key design aspects:

  • The choice of centralized vs. decentralized networks
  • The need for PoE connectivity to power remote devices
  • High performance cabling systems to handle converged power and data
  • Sustainability and energy savings
  • Proper cable management & pathways
  • Scalable Telecom Rooms and data centers
  • Increased network security

See you in the next few weeks with another CTD.

References:


1 Enabling IoT with the Infrastructure of Tomorrow, A Legrand Data Communications white paper

Internet of Things and the Real World

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

One of the first things critics of the Internet of Things (IoT) will tell you is that the infrastructure for a network of that size simply isn’t available yet. Such skeptics miss the rapid growth that IoT is having in our space and the affect it is already having within that same space. Data centers are expanding, multi-tenant data centers are expanding in regions previously unheard of, and the networking within our buildings are growing more than originally anticipated.

 

Many people think the Internet of Things is a Minority Report-esque system of interconnected devices, analyzing your internet search history and pupil dilation to send you target ads, or even record your day to day activities while simultaneously streaming and storing them on your mobile devices. This reality isn’t out of the question but it’s not the purpose of the IoT today.

What the IoT boils down to is a network of uniquely identifiable endpoints that contain embedded technology. This technology senses, collects, communicates, and exchanges data locally or with external endpoints independent of human interaction. The recent, rapid advancements in cloud technology have provided an infrastructure for a fully functioning Internet of Things right now. The cloud’s ever-growing size and interoperability has enabled previous discrete devices to communicate with each other over a common network.

 

Enabling those devices to communicate on the back end is where Legrand falls into play. Legrand manufacturers the supporting infrastructure to a lot of commercial IoT devices, from wireless access points and networked cameras to completely new LED lighting systems powered by category cabling. To learn more about how Legrand plays in this space read our latest IoT white paper or our IoT Application Guide.