In this interview, Tom Pincince, CEO of Digital Lumens, talks to AZoOptics about their intelligent lighting systems, and their participation in the US Patent and Trademark Office's Green Technology Pilot Program.
Can you tell us a little bit about Digital Lumens and your products?
TP: Digital Lumens is the developer of the first Intelligent LED Lighting System for industrial facilities -- warehouses, manufacturing, cold storage, and maintenance depots – where lighting is one of the largest energy expenses. The System is transforming industrial lighting into a powerful platform for improved control, efficiency and operational insight.
The system includes smart LED-based fixtures (with integrated occupancy and daylight sensors) that are wirelessly networked and centrally managed via the LightRules management software. With distributed intelligence across the network, the system maximizes energy efficiency by delivering high-quality light only when and where needed, at the required levels. Settings are customizable and totally adjustable, as well, and can be fine tuned as building needs change.
Can you give us an outline of the current state of the industrial lighting market?
Industrial lighting is dominated by antique and criminally inefficient lighting based on the original Edison light bulb. However, we see tremendous potential for transformation – particularly in this industrial segment. As facility managers and engineers become more educated about LED-based alternatives, especially the additional capabilities in intelligent systems, they quickly appreciate the advantages of intelligent LEDs. In addition to maximum energy efficiency, they offer a range of new functionality to further improve operations, so managers can now expect much more value from their lighting system.
A particular pain point for industrial customers is the high energy costs associated with traditional lighting. Due to the limitations of existing lights, most facilities leave their high-wattage lights on 24x7, rather than dimming or adding sensors. These high monthly costs are motivating this group to embrace LEDs more rapidly than other segments (commercial, residential), where lights are not left on for as many hours in the day. As a result, industrial customers will see a much faster payback than other markets, making LEDs that much more appealing. And, for customers used to archaic, limited and inefficient lighting, intelligent LEDs that offer light and insight, combined with a typical payback of 2 years and a much lower TCO, are redefining their expectations about industrial lighting, altogether.
26,000-lumen High Bay LED Lighting from Digital Lumens.
How do LED lighting systems benefit your customers, compared with conventional lighting?
Traditional HIF or HID lighting is energy-intensive, requires frequent re-lamping and has limited capacity to accept controls that can mitigate energy use. In contrast, LEDs offer lower wattage, long lifetimes and no maintenance, while being infinitely controllable.
What makes your lighting systems unique, compared to other systems which are available?
The Digital Lumens Intelligent LED Lighting System goes far beyond basic LEDs to provide facility managers with excellent light quality, lighting savings of up to 90%, unparalleled flexibility, and complete control over and reporting on lighting system operations.
This is all possible because of the system’s patented distributed intelligence, which is embedded across the entire system and delivers the greatest energy efficiency of any industrial lighting system available.
Further, because the system is wirelessly networked and centrally managed, it works equally well in retrofit/upgrade applications, and in new construction.
How do your intelligent, networked lighting systems benefit your customers?
Customers are used to managing complex systems across their facilities and controlling those systems to meet their needs. But granular control of lighting had not been possible in these environments. Now, with the deep integration of intelligence into the lighting system, customers have a powerful combination of energy efficiency, flexibility to adjust system settings, and reliability – all delivered in a rugged, industrial-grade design with intuitive web-based software.
The ability to control and fine tune lighting based on facility usage, occupancy, and daylight harvesting yields unprecedented savings. And, the fact that the system provides detailed operational reports to show occupancy, energy usage, daylight harvesting savings, what-if scenarios, and more provides a level of operational insight never before possible in lighting.
Digital Lumens lighting products feature sensors for occupancy and daylight levels, onboard computers and wireless links to the central control unit.
Digital Lumens was recently granted a patent through the USPTO’s Green Technology Pilot Program. Can you tell us a little about this program?
The Green Technology Pilot Program was established to accelerate energy conservation, speed development and deployment of green technologies, create green jobs, and to promote U.S. competitiveness in this vital sector. The Program is now closed, but the Patent Office has made other changes to reduce backlog. From our perspective, the focus on the energy conservation applications is definitely a plus for the innovators and customers looking for creative solutions in this area.
How do your products and services fit within the goals of the Green Technology Pilot Program?
Industrial energy efficiency is one of the highest impact ways to reduce overall demand, and lighting is often the most energy-intensive system for some customers. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting is a major expense across all sectors ‐ using as much as 29% of the electricity generated in the United States. For industrial facilities, traditional lighting can use up to 38% of the energy in a typical warehouse. Since we routinely reduce lighting energy use by up to 90% for customers, this slashes their demand by orders of magnitude. And for the utility, industrial efficiency upgrades have a major impact. For example, the savings from one Digital Lumens project were equivalent to performing complete energy efficiency projects in 2,400 homes.
How did this scheme change the patenting process for you, compared to filing for a patent under normal conditions?
The Program provided expedited review of our patents. We’ve had two patents granted already and several more in process under the Program.
Where can we find more information about Digital Lumens?
For more information, please visit www.digitallumens.com. You can also follow Digital Lumens on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
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