Ever since its adoption, the Bluetooth® mesh standard has been changing how wireless technologies are perceived by lighting professionals. Designed specifically to address professional lighting applications, it introduced multiple technical solutions that allowed it to achieve what remained unachievable for other wireless communication standards: wire-like reliability, commercial-grade scalability, and outstanding UX simplicity.

It was expected that these achievements would eventually gain recognition within the lighting industry. And this indeed happened. Whether you look at the number of qualified Bluetooth mesh products (more than 1,200) or the scale of some commercial Bluetooth mesh lighting installations already deployed (e.g., Minnesota office building with ~3,900 smart nodes across 17 floors), there is no doubt that Bluetooth mesh has gained the recognition it deserves.

But another crucial milestone was reached just recently. And, again, Bluetooth mesh blazed the trail and did something that no other technology has done before. That milestone was granting of the DLC NLC5 certification to Silvair’s cross-vendor Bluetooth lighting control solution.

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Energy Optimization Through Controllability

The DesignLights Consortium (DLC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to achieve energy optimization by enabling controllability with a focus on quality, people, and the environment. The body collaborates with utilities, energy-efficiency programs, manufacturers, lighting designers, building owners, and government entities to create rigorous criteria for lighting performance that keeps up with the pace of technology. The goal is to improve energy efficiency for commercial lighting throughout North America and to make a positive climate impact worldwide.

In line with this mission, the DLC has created the Networked Lighting Controls (NLC) program and Qualified Products List. Its rigorous listing requirements empower architects and designers to tap into multiple energy-efficiency incentives and rebates available across the U.S. when they design, build, and update commercial structures.

The latest revision of the Networked Lighting Controls Technical Requirements – NLC5 – takes into account the current state of wireless technology development and introduces a broad range of stringent requisites that must be met by a lighting control system before it can be granted certification. These requirements relate to efficiency-based lighting control parameters (characterizing control strategies such as occupancy sensing, scheduling, or daylight harvesting), control persistence capabilities, possibilities of integration with external systems via API, overall cost efficiency, ease of use, system security, and many others.

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Bluetooth Mesh Meets Rigorous Requirements for Lighting Control

The fact that the Bluetooth lighting control solution developed by Silvair has been granted the DLC NLC5 certification proves that Bluetooth® mesh is capable of meeting the most rigorous requirements in professional lighting control applications while enabling commercial space owners and managers to apply for considerable rebates when implementing lighting retrofits at their premises. This is crucial for further adoption of the standard; however, this is not what is unique about the certification obtained by Silvair.

The Qualified Products List already included a number of wireless solutions that have met NLC Technical Requirements. But all of them had one thing in common – they were offered by single vendors in the form of complete, proprietary control systems delivered to the market under specific brands.

Silvair does not provide a lighting control system in the traditional meaning of this term. Instead, the company acts as a wireless technology provider, delivering flexible Bluetooth mesh firmware and powerful commissioning tools to its partners – lighting component manufacturers, luminaire makers, and lighting control system vendors. Therefore, the Silvair solution cannot be classified as a typical lighting control system. It is more of an ecosystem of interoperable products commercialized under multiple different brands. This posed a challenge for the DLC organization, requiring it to go beyond the definitions and assumptions underlying its Networked Lighting Controls program. But this is exactly what Bluetooth mesh has been doing since its adoption – redefining the status quo and reshaping the lighting control landscape.

Democratization of Lighting Control

The granting of the DLC NLC5 certification not only proves the outstanding reliability and efficiency of Bluetooth mesh and the Silvair solution, but also provides multiple benefits to lighting companies that use the Silvair solution in their products. Depending on the way these companies implement the Silvair technology, this either automatically gives them DLC NLC5 compliance or provides a fast track for obtaining DLC QPL qualification for their own lighting control system brands.

The bottom line is that Silvair partners can participate in projects that require compliance with the NLC program while their customers can take advantage of multiple energy efficiency rebates. This, in turn, can significantly drive down the costs of retrofit projects, encouraging building owners to implement better and more efficient control solutions in commercial buildings of all types.

This all can be seen as the fulfillment of the interoperability promise and another major step towards the democratization of lighting control. Step by step, the Bluetooth® mesh standard reduces barriers to highly energy-efficient lighting control strategies, pushing the commercial real estate sector closer to a sustainable future.

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