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  • Writer's pictureCraig Drabyk

PoE Lighting Emerges as Up-and-Coming Smart Building Solution

A smart building solution that’s been garnering increased attention over the last few years is Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting.

PoE isn’t a new technology – it’s been used since 2003 to transmit both low-voltage DC power and data over the same Ethernet cables for things like wireless access points (WAPs), Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). PoE with connected lighting, however, is a newer concept that’s steadily gaining momentum.

PoE lighting is a low-power network of LED fixtures, sensors, and controls. There are numerous benefits of PoE lighting, the first being lower usage costs due to the significant reduction in the energy needed to power and control these systems. PoE doesn’t require metal cladding or conduit, which decreases hazards and makes installation faster and easier than traditional lighting systems. PoE lighting also provides greater flexibility for design, placement, and control and can be easily integrated with other systems connected to the network such as security cameras, daylight harvesting, shade controls, HVAC, door lock systems, occupancy sensors, etc. PoE lighting installation does not require a licensed electrician, however, these systems require thoughtful design and switch configuration by a qualified systems integrator.

Here in the Northeast, PoE lighting is just emerging as a technology of interest to forward-looking building owners, and studies and statistics bear this out. A March 2022 survey by LEDs Magazine and the Designers Lighting Forum of New York (DLFNY) showed that industry professionals had an overall positive outlook on the future of PoE lighting. And according to an April 2023 report, the Power over Ethernet lighting marketing is projected to experience significant growth by 2030, with a revenue CAGR of 26.5% This growth is driven by a variety of factors including decreasing LED costs, increased PoE lighting adoption in commercial, industrial, and healthcare settings, and increased use of smart systems and demand for smart workplaces. The report did note, however, that while PoE lighting is quite cost-effective in the long run, the initial investment to procure PoE equipment and accessories and set up a network can be substantial.

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