Bluetooth NLC and The Future of Wireless Smart Lighting

By: Nextgen | On: Jan 02, 2024 | In: Blog Posts


The Future of Wireless Lighting Control

What is Bluetooth NLC?

Bluetooth® NLC (Networked Lighting Control) is the first full-stack standard for wireless lighting control, providing standardisation from the radio through to the device layer. This full stack approach provides a set of Bluetooth Mesh profiles that standardise the control of smart lights, sensors and control interfaces to enable true multi-vendor interoperability.

The Future of Wireless Lighting Control

Efficiency, security, and interoperability are priorities for developers working in smart technology and the Internet of Things. Bluetooth® Networked Lighting Control (NLC) is a Bluetooth technology focussed on wireless lighting systems and the benefits of Bluetooth NLC are significant for developers and consumers alike.

The Journey Towards Standardisation

Over the last decade, the lighting industry has been exploring wireless lighting control for its flexibility and cost-effectiveness. One early hurdle, however, was the absence of a unified wireless standard. This changed with the adoption of Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) and the subsequent release of Bluetooth® Mesh in 2017, which provided the capabilities for large-scale device network creation, especially in commercial and industrial IoT applications.

Overcoming Challenges

Despite these advances, the optional nature of Bluetooth Mesh features initially posed challenges in interoperability within product ecosystems, affecting the overall user experience. To address this, the Bluetooth SIG developed Bluetooth Mesh Device Profiles, which set mandatory options and features for specific end products, thereby streamlining the development process and ensuring compatibility and interoperability.


Key Benefits of Bluetooth NLC

The introduction of Bluetooth NLC has introduced several benefits for both developers and consumers in smart lighting.

  1. Significant Energy Savings: With intelligent sensors to monitor occupancy and daylight levels, Bluetooth NLC systems can adjust lighting in real-time, leading to more efficient energy consumption and providing up to a 75% reduction in energy costs, according to Enterprise IoT Insights
  2. Enhanced Occupant Experience: The system enables personal control for light-level management, striking a balance between energy savings and occupant comfort.
  3. Improved Building Operations: Bluetooth NLC systems can provide critical data for predictive maintenance and system tuning, while also enhancing the efficiency of other building systems like HVAC and security and enabling advanced building services like indoor navigation, space utilisation, and asset tracking.

The advantages of Bluetooth NLC for developers include:

  • Lower Costs and Faster Innovation: The economies of scale from Bluetooth technology reduce product costs and foster rapid innovation.
  • Increased Market Opportunity: A new global standard, Bluetooth NLC enhances market potential and buyer confidence, increasing the likelihood of adoption and enabling the smart lighting market opportunity to achieve full potential.
  • New Revenue Models: The technology enables the development of additional advanced building services, monitoring building space utilisation and enabling features such as indoor navigation and asset tracking, opening new avenues for revenue.

For consumers Bluetooth NLC brings the following advantages:

  • True Multi-vendor Interoperability: Bluetooth NLC ensures seamless integration of components from different vendors, avoiding vendor lock-in.
  • Ease of Deployment: With user-friendly commissioning apps, the setup and management of the system become straightforward.
  • Greater Scalability: The decentralised architecture of Bluetooth NLC systems allows for flexibility and adaptability, catering to evolving business and occupant needs.

The Future of Lighting Control

Bluetooth NLC is more than just a new technology; it represents a step-change in how smart lighting systems are designed, implemented and managed. It's a comprehensive solution that's designed not only to address current needs but also sets a foundation for future innovations in the lighting industry.

Embracing Global Interoperability

The global standardisation of Bluetooth NLC is pivotal for its mainstream adoption. By ensuring compatibility across various layers of a wireless lighting control solution, Bluetooth NLC paves the way for a more connected and efficient world.

Fostering Innovation and Growth

For developers, Bluetooth NLC opens doors to a world of possibilities. By eliminating the need to focus on proprietary technologies, developers can redirect their efforts towards creating more innovative and differentiated products. This not only drives growth in the industry but also accelerates the adoption of smart lighting solutions worldwide.

Moving to a brighter and more interoperable future

The impact of Bluetooth Networked Lighting Control extends beyond just technical specifications; it represents a shift towards more sustainable, efficient, interoperable and user-friendly smart lighting solutions. For developers in the lighting industry, embracing Bluetooth NLC is a pathway to innovation and success.

Bluetooth® NLC is the global wireless lighting control standard encompassing all three layers - encompassing the radio, communication, and device layers. Bluetooth® NLC promises to bring flexibility and innovation by allowing purchasers and installers from reliance on a single vendor and shaping the landscape of smart lighting, offering new opportunities for growth, innovation, and enhanced user experiences.

Nextgen offer a range of services to help ensure the performance and interoperability of smart lighting products, including automated interoperability testing and ecosystem integration. Furthermore Nextgen’s vast global mobile device library can help ensure the installation and provisioning process, with smartphones providing end users with user friendly commissioning apps that communicate directly with nodes on the network, to provide easy installation and ongoing operation of Bluetooth NLC smart lighting systems.

To find out more about Nextgen's Bluetooth interoperability testing services, please contact Nextgen today or call us on +44 3331 120000.

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