Power Over Ethernet (PoE) lighting is a cost saving opportunity for businesses that's often underutilized. Not only is PoE lighting cost-effective, but it's economical for residential and commercial spaces and offers many more benefits than tradition lighting options. We talked with Eric Holder, Managing Director of Global IT Operations at V-Soft Infrastructure, and Shawn Wazyniak, Engineering Manager at V-Soft Infrastructure, during the latest Virtual30 event to learn more about PoE lighting and its impact on business.
What is PoE Lighting
PoE lighting refers to the ability to use an Ethernet cable to power light fixtures as opposed to traditional AC power.
Basic functionality - eliminate the need for AC that comes into your house.
The are many benefits to PoE lighting that go far beyond basic operations. PoE provides more than just a light fixture - it can provide advanced analytics on usage and create environments that are more productive and safe.
Daylight Harvesting: Set a certain lumen value that your prefer. If the sun meets the lumen value, the lights won't turn on.
Occupancy Sensors: Lighting reacts to room occupancy. Lights turn off or change to a certain color if no one is around and turn back on when the room is occupied.
Analytics: Understand how often a space is being utilized with plenty of data to back it up.
Tune-able White Light: Tailor lighting temperature (cool/warm) to your preferences. This can increase productivity in a work environment as people focus differently in cool white light and in warm white light.
Color Beacons: For emergency situations, certain areas, such as hallways and exit routes, can be illuminated a different color to guide people out of a building in the event of a fire, active shooter, etc.
UPS Back Up: If power goes down, lighting systems are automatically backed up.
Additional Features: Other than lights, PoE power can be used for other systems like CO2 censors, speakers (intercom, music), motion detection and humidity censors.
PoE Cost Comparisons
There is no contest between PoE and other lighting options as far as the yearly cost to operate and longevity/lifespan. The installation alone between other lighting sources, such as AC conduits and structured cabling, is far more expensive and complicated than a PoE installation.
One of the misconceptions regarding PoE lighting is that, in general, it's far more expensive as the light fixtures themselves are pricier than tray lighting. However, the ROI of a PoE system is far greater that traditional lighting. You just have to get through the initial expense of fixture costs.
PoE Use Cases
There are a lot of use cases for PoE but the most popular is energy savings, productivity, health & comfort, ambiance lighting, smart office outfitting and analytics.
Hotels: The lighting and ambiance of a hotel is very important and PoE can provide great color schemes and light harvesting features. Hotels also benefit from the analytics feature, for example, knowing which hotel rooms/conference rooms are being booked the most and what areas in the hotel have the most traffic.
Schools: The public school system is hit particularly hard with budget constraints and PoE lighting is a great way to make every dollar stretch. It's also a key safety measure that can alert students to any danger, such as active shooters, fires or other disasters.
Overall, PoE lighting is still an underutilized solution for businesses and public agencies to reduce costs during a time of reduced revenues. It's also an innovative solutions to increase workplace productivity and efficiency.