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Intelligent and cyber secured smart lighting

An overview on why simply ‘being smart’ is not enough for the next-gen lighting; being intelligent and ingraining cyber security are the need of the hour.

Lighting was earlier being used only for illumination purpose. But with evolving lifestyle and consumer preferences, it has now become an integral part of the home décor and people nowadays prefer more elegant, decorative and aesthetically appealing lights and lighting fixtures which harmonises with the interiors of the house or commercial places.

An intelligent lighting
The lighting market is expected to grow tremendously even in the long run on account of the demand for a smart, connected lifestyle and for energy-efficient products. However, the demand for intelligent lighting controls like occupancy sensors and photo sensors is on the rise as adoption of LED lighting has begun to accelerate. Combining digital LEDs with advanced sensors and control sensors reduces the need to install separate systems to manage each of these functions. Anil Bhasin, Executive Vice President, Havells India Limited, says, “The LED driven controls enables the consumers to control every aspect of the light’s characteristics and provide a potentially simple and cost-effective path to energy savings as compared to conventional lighting controls.”

According to Sharmila Kumbhat, Director, K-Lite Industries, “Energy efficient operation of a lighting system on the basis of certain pre-conditions like daylight availability, occupancy, dedicated application requirement such as switching on at pre-determined or programmed timings, inclusion of mood lighting etc., and the technology associated with such operations is said to be smart lighting.” When smart lighting gets integrated with the smart home gadgets, a certain level of intelligence needs to be introduced into the system through the internet of things (IoT) concepts to result in an intelligent home.

An automated smart light may conveniently turn the portico lights on at 7 pm every evening, but when intelligence is introduced, it will turn on the portico lights at precisely 15 minutes after dusk on the basis of latitude and longitude coordinates of your home without any user intervention. Smart lighting is a standalone system whereas intelligent lighting is integrated into the IoT with in-built intelligence.

Gurumukh Uttamchandani, Executive Director, Syska Group states, “Intelligent lights are innovative lights that are used on large platforms for stage lighting as they have automated or mechanical abilities that go beyond traditional and stationary illumination. Application of intelligent lights are majorly carried out during concerts and large scale events such as conferences, video production etc.”

Smart lights are IoT enabled LED lights that can be controlled through an app, usually on your smartphones and have multiple uses and advantages. They provide users with the ability to control the lights using voice commands and influence the atmosphere at any time, from any location that has a good internet connection.

Cyber security implementation in lighting
The Smart Cities Mission is expected to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by harnessing technology to create smart outcomes for citizens. Bhasin informs, “Though the beginning has been excellent, there are various economic, technical, and managerial challenges to be overcome to attain the desired results. One of the most prominent challenges is definitely the cyber security of the smart cities and India cannot afford to have inadequately secured smart cities.”

Therefore, he further adds, in order to secure smart cities, a collaborative effort is required from all the key stakeholders and each stakeholder has to take the responsibility and play a definite role in securing the smart city. Secondly, cyber security needs to be ingrained in the systems right from the beginning or during the implementation phase.

Kumbhat says, “With IoT, the system, for example a smart city system essentially becomes one integrated information system aimed at improving the quality of life. The intelligence sharing is only through the cloud. This means that an increasing amount of personal and corporate information exists in the cloud for interchanges with a host of devices. This automatically provides a weak link in the security chain and makes the system vulnerable for exploitation and hence cyber security implementation issue arises.”

Security of all interfaces, mobile, fixed and cloud, need to be maintained. This may include additional firewalls and network traffic monitoring, as well as access control. With the cyber security risks surrounding IoT development increasing, it is advisable for companies to employ professionals to secure networks and devices against unwanted infiltration. Cyber security personnel need to shift with the innovative new ways hackers intent to profit from unmonitored and insecure systems and meet the challenges proactively.

The rapid advancements in the field of the IoT coupled with the powerful combination of sending information and performing actions through Wi-Fi and cloud technologies are today opening up several new possibilities in simplifying our daily lives. However, Uttamchandani says, “Along with the positive impact that IoT is bringing, the increased interconnectivity and communication between different devices is also posing risks in terms of cyber attacks.” Cyber criminals can now hack your Wi-Fi which can further compromise your connected devices. Hence, it is imperative to take steps to protect your network and devices against these next gen cyber attacks. Security layers such as authentication, user access and data encryption should all be considered as important in order to safeguard connected devices from hackers. Today, with lighting systems also having become smart and connected through Wi-Fi, it is necessary to ensure that the network is safe and not prone to any kind of compromise.

 

Cyber security needs to be ingrained in the systems right from the beginning or during the implementation phase
Anil Bhasin, Executive Vice President, Havells India Limited

When smart lighting gets integrated with the smart home gadgets, a certain level of intelligence needs to be introduced into the system through IoT
Sharmila Kumbhat, Director, K-Lite Industries

IoT’s positive impact is also bringing in risks in terms of cyber-attacks
Gurumukh Uttamchandani, Executive Director, Syska Group

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