Bulbs are broken. Services will win in lighting.

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In the warehouse of the future, the lights are watching you. And communicating with your equipment. Image courtesy of OSRAM.

One of the big promises of what people like to call digital transformation that’s occurring with connected everything is a change in business models. Companies can go from selling things and having a one-time relationship with a client to selling a service and having an ongoing relationship. In the lighting world, this has been happening for years.

Indeed, if you want to see how connectivity can reshape a business, the lighting industry offers a great case study. As soon as digitization hit in the form of LEDs, the industry found itself more concerned with semiconductors — the source of LED light — than it was with old-school chemicals and filaments. But it also found itself with a problem. LEDs last a lot longer than light bulbs, so instead of selling a product that’s replaced every year or two, the industry suddenly starting selling one that lasts some 20 years.

That’s a big shift. Meanwhile, startups saw the transition to energy-saving LEDs as an opportunity to create an entirely new form of network inside buildings by anchoring them with these new LED systems. Digital Lumens, Enlighted, and others were subsequently formed to replace old lighting with LEDs that also measure elements like temperature and motion. From there, these startups were able to lower energy costs, but they were also able to start offering consulting services aimed at helping businesses make better use of their space or even track inventory.

That’s paying off now for OSRAM, a German lighting maker that purchased Digital Lumens last year and has now integrated its technology as well as other OSRAM tech into a new lighting platform called Lightelligence.

OSRAM has long made bulbs; with Lightelligence, it is now starting to sell lighting as a service. A warehouse customer in Europe currently contracts with OSRAM to provide 300 lux (a measure of brightness) in its buildings when needed. Thorton Thorsten Mueller, head of innovations for OSRAM, explained that this is possible because the fixtures containing the lights have computers that can measure and process 40 different parameters about the light itself and the environment it’s in.

OSRAM also has enabled other technologies that work with its lighting software to understand the room and what’s going on inside of it. For example, in retail environments, the platform brings in data from cameras or Bluetooth beacons that can indicate where people congregate in a store or where there are choke points. It’s worth noting that in the camera example, Mueller says the images aren’t used, only the data. So the platform recognizes that four people might be clustered near a clothing rack, but it won’t know who they are. In Europe, where the government regulates privacy, this is a necessary precaution.

In industrial environments, LiFi can be used to help guide robots or equipment around a plant or warehouse. LiFi is a way of transmitting data using light over short distances. It does require a transmitter and receiver, so it’s only practical for environments where the owner controls both the physical lighting infrastructure and the equipment they want to track.

The ultimate goal is to use different technologies and the sensors embedded in the lighting system to offer a variety of services. Light is an obvious one, as is location tracking. But there are also cool applications, such as those mentioned above, or even using the lights to convey relevant information.

For example, Mueller says that in a warehouse environment one customer is using the system to track forklifts and help them plot the best route to get inventory. But it also can blink the lights if it sees two forklift operators on a collision course. These sorts of services provide more value than selling a light bulb every few years.

However, in the quest to turn everything into a service, there are concerns. One is lock-in. Because the best services will be those that are easiest to use, OSRAM allows other companies’ bulbs in their fixtures and lets people write applications for its platforms. It shares APIs and offers cloud-to-cloud integration so your lighting platform can talk to your building security platform or the elevator platform. That way, customers aren’t concerned about obvious signs of lock-in.

Additionally, in revamping its business toward more services, OSRAM’s customer changes from the facilities folks to the C-level executives and/or plant managers, who are thinking holistically about the success of the business.

Finally, in the services world, companies like OSRAM will face a host of new competitors that are also trying to sell elements of their business as a service. Lighting can provide interesting sources of data, such as where people are in a building, but other sensors or platforms could offer the same data. Or perhaps a far-thinking utility might offer a package of comfort that includes lighting, HVAC and warm water. A buyer might decide to go for something like that instead.

GE’s Current unit basically sells energy management, which includes lighting among some other elements such as power for operations. So even as the lighting industry undergoes its digital transformation, there are still a lot of questions left to answer and a really unsettled playing field.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

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Logitech’s first gaming speakers pack RGB lighting and ample bass for $199

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Logitech has been making speakers for ages. It’s also made gaming accessories for ages. Somewhere down the line, Logitech decided to combine these two talents to make a gaming speaker. RGB lights are, of course, included. The speakers, dubbed the G560, will retail for $ 199 when it launches in April. There are three pieces: a pair of stereo drivers and a chunky subwoofer. The speakers accept USB, 3.5mm, and Bluetooth sources, and can switch automatically between them. I was only able to try them for a few minutes, but came away  largely impressed with what I heard. Used as near-field speakers, they…

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[Update: Outdoor lights in July] Philips announces updated Hue app, outdoor lighting, and more for 2018

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Smart lighting is almost commonplace now, but Hue is still one of the biggest names in this smart home category. At CES, the company has announced several initiatives for 2018. A new app is on the way for everyone, and it’ll tie into some interesting synchronization options for those with color-changing lights. There are also new lights coming out that are specifically designed for outdoor environments.

Read More

[Update: Outdoor lights in July] Philips announces updated Hue app, outdoor lighting, and more for 2018 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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How To Get Portrait Lighting Feature On iPhone 7 Plus Without Jailbreak

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Here’s how you can enable Portrait Lighting feature on iPhone 7 Plus. No jailbreak is required for this to work.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Philips Lighting, Acuity Brands and OSRAM leading IoT for lighting market

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Philips Lighting, Acuity Brands, Eaton, and OSRAM are among the leading players in the Internet of Things (IoT) for lighting market, according to a new report from Navigant Research.

The report, which can be found here, assesses 16 vendors in total, including larger vendors, such as Cisco, Intel, Schneider Electric, and Siemens. These players are all placed as challengers, as opposed to contenders or leaders.

Navigant Research argues that the total global market for IoT lighting is set to hit $ 5.5 billion by 2027, up from $ 808.2 million this year.

The research firm defines IoT for lighting as ‘adding value beyond illumination.’ “Connectivity and communication can happen between devices within the lighting system and between lighting devices and non-lighting devices,” it adds. “Within lighting systems, such communication can be accomplished through lighting controls. Networked lighting controls achieve many of the aspects described in this definition of IoT lighting solutions.”

The report assesses a variety of questions, including the drivers pushing ahead the IoT for lighting market, global revenue forecasts, and the strengths and weaknesses of each company.

“The leaders within this report have separated themselves from the competition through a broad solution portfolio, strong partner relationships, and advanced technology development,” said Krystal Maxwell, Navigant research analyst. “Contenders and challengers in this market will need to improve in various ways, from expanding their solution offerings, to increasing sales, to differentiating themselves through unique features and applications.”

In terms of how smart lighting equates to the IoT, a blog post from OSRAM explains the link. “Currently, we are at the infancy stage of what the IoT will enable – today we are seeing just a sliver’s worth of applications from a very big pie of potential applications,” the blog notes. Smart lighting is playing a pivotal role, unlocking the power of the IoT and smart building applications.

“Lighting is ubiquitous throughout all buildings and every luminaire is connected to a source of power,” it adds. “It is the perfect conduit for collecting data on what is happening in the building at any given time.”

You can read the Navigant synopsis here.

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Apple video explains how iPhone X’s Portrait Lighting effects were created

Apple last evening posted a new video to its official YouTube channel, offering a rare behind the scenes look at how the Portrait Lighting effects on iPhone X were created…. Read the rest of this post here

Apple video explains how iPhone X’s Portrait Lighting effects were created” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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Apple Shares Behind the Scenes Look at How the Portrait Lighting Feature Was Created

Apple this evening uploaded a new “Portrait Lighting” video to its YouTube channel, which is designed to give a behind the scenes look at how the Portrait Lighting effects on the iPhone X were created.

Take a look behind the iPhone X and discover the process we went through to create Portrait Lighting. Combining timeless lighting principles with advanced machine learning, we created an iPhone that takes studio-quality portraits without the studio.

In the video, Apple explains that it worked with global image makers and some of the world’s best photographers to combine timeless lighting principles with machine learning techniques.

The result was the Portrait Lighting feature available in Portrait Mode on the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus. On iPhone X, Portrait Lighting is available for both the front and rear facing cameras thanks to the TrueDepth camera system, while on iPhone 8 Plus, it’s available for shots captured with the rear camera.

Apple’s Portrait Lighting feature is designed to use sophisticated algorithms to calculate how your facial features interact with light, creating unique lighting effects.

There are several Portrait mode lighting presets, including Natural Light, Studio Light (lights up your face), Contour Light (adds dramatic shadows), Stage Light (spotlights your face against a dark background), and Stage Light Mono (Stage Light, but in black and white).

Apple has also highlighted Portrait Lighting in several past video ads showing off iPhone X features.

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Apple details how it developed the iPhone X’s ‘Portrait Lighting’ feature

iPhone X Camera

While the iPhone today is capable of taking absolutely stunning and arguably best-in-class photos, that wasn’t always the case. Going back in time a bit, the original iPhone camera was nothing special. In fact, the original iPhone camera wasn’t even respectable relative to what other smartphone manufacturers were releasing at the time. Over time, though, Apple began to invest more in camera technologies and it wasn’t long before new iPhone models were routinely setting new standards of excellence for mobile photography.

In recent years, Apple has undeniably taken mobile photography to the next level, thanks in large part to the company’s control of both the iPhone hardware and software. Most recently, Apple released a camera feature it dubs Portrait Lighting. The feature itself takes advantage of the iPhone’s dual camera scheme and enables users to take photos designed to resemble professional shots that would ordinarily be taken in a studio environment.

Currently available on the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone 7 Plus, Portrait Lighting in iOS 11 is truly remarkable. And speaking to the lengths Apple went to perfect it, the company earlier today released a new ad which details how the feature was brought into existence.

As detailed in the video below, Apple worked with global image makers and top photographers in order to get the lighting effects just right. What’s more, Apple implemented advanced machine learning concepts to help create “studio-quality portraits.”

Apple has always been a company known to sweat the small stuff, and the video above is just yet another example of the company’s unrivaled attention to detail.

Apple – BGR

Apple breaks down just what makes Portrait Lighting special on iPhone X

Apple is very proud of its Portrait Lighting feature for the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus, and it’s willing to let users take a peek behind the Cupertino curtain to show exactly why. In a new video shared Wednesday evening, Apple gives an overview of the development process which led to Portrait Lighting — […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

Apple Details the Origins of Portrait Lighting in a New Ad

Apple debuted the “Portrait Lighting” feature on the iPhone 8 lineup as well as the iPhone X last year. This feature is limited to two handsets right now, which makes it unique to Apple’s 2017 lineup of devices. A new video ad posted by the company, now gives us a brief history of how the feature came to be. Continue reading
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