Lighting Matters: Industry 4.0 the impact is already noticeable – Monthly Column featured in EE Publishers’ Vector Magazine

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a topic of conversation on TV, radio, at conferences and company strategy meetings. Many have heard about it and often incorrectly think that some perfectly normal IT developments or advancements are part of the revolution. We need to carefully discern what can really be considered as part of it.

Some are genuinely embracing it, some are starting to plan for it and others are freaking out, fearing the unknown or simply suffer from the “RC factor”: resistance to change.

No matter which group you decide you have fall into, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is not going away. It is a reality! I have listened to Prof. Yuval Noah Harari, a world-renowned historian, philosopher and best-selling author of several books about humankind, the history, future and man’s place in the 21st century.

His talks are worth listening to on YouTube. Essentially, he says we need to keep control of ourselves, our future and, most importantly, our brains throughout the revolution.

I now introduce you to Bluetooth Mesh. We are all familiar with Bluetooth on our smartphones and laptops, which allows us to enjoy hands-free communication while driving our cars, to connect to our smart watches and so on.

What makes Bluetooth Mesh different from the Bluetooth we know? What makes it so disruptive?

Quite simply, it unleashes the ability to have many-to-many communications, enabling homes, offices, factories and cities to move beyond being simply connected, but to be truly smart.

You are now able to select the right low-power wireless mesh technology to power the automation for a new building or for creating an asset-tracking solution, both of which could be make or break decisions that could play a significant role in determining the ultimate success of any new project. Bluetooth itself has a 20-year track record of delivering low-power wireless technology that enables simple, secure device connectivity.

Bluetooth Mesh is scalable, reliable and secure. It can support up to 32 000 nodes per network. It is fast, using a high-speed radio and Bluetooth to enable messaging that is faster than sound. This makes it possible for a single light switch to control hundreds of lights in a factory, warehouse or other solutions.

It uses 256 bit elliptical curves and out-of-band encryption, multi-level encryption and privacy by ensuring that each packet is obfuscated with all identity information from being tracked by others within range.

In practical terms, it means that it is possible to control a system covering multi-floors in a single building to multi floors in multiple buildings within the network, from a single smart device. It is easy to set up; each luminaire is identifiable, each luminaire or group of luminaires is accessible and controllable whether for scene setting, for hue and human-centric lighting or any other required parameter. The possibilities are endless.

There are other technologies, but none as dependable or expansive as Bluetooth Mesh.

BHA School of Lighting has developed an entirely new curriculum for the Diploma in Illumination Engineering course which includes Bluetooth Mesh and all other new technologies which fall within the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is the first such complete curriculum in the world developed in South Africa and offered in South Africa and throughout the world. The diploma course content and level of sophistication has risen by 60%. It teaches the students how they work, the system architecture, the equipment and how to deploy the system/technology.

Don’t get left behind, embrace all the new technologies, stay in control. Be part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution rather than being a doubtful or fearful onlooker!



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