Building off the Bluetooth legacy of universal interoperability in other product categories, the Bluetooth Mesh to DALI Gateway Specification provides global, cross-vendor interoperability between lighting components, wireless control systems, and intelligent luminaires.
“Combining Bluetooth mesh with DALI is a natural choice for the commercial lighting industry,” said Paul Drosihn, DALI Alliance General Manager. “The combination enables sensor-rich lighting systems and will deliver powerful new IoT capabilities to building managers. This will include automated light-level and color control, advanced luminaire performance monitoring including energy usage and predictive maintenance, as well as enhanced services such as asset tracking and indoor navigation.”
Interoperability between lighting controls and intelligent luminaires benefits everyone on the value chain, from manufacturers to end users. The market will benefit from a wider selection of interoperable intelligent lighting components that will help accelerate the adoption of intelligent, IoT-enabled lighting systems in retrofit and new-build environments.
“Combining Bluetooth mesh with DALI is a natural choice for the commercial lighting industry.”
– Paul Drosihn, DALI Alliance
“I think two aspects are differentiating the way Bluetooth® technology interfaces with DALI,” said Szymon Slupik, CTO and co-founder at Silvair. “The first is the true interoperability, which has been the cornerstone for both organizations. Interoperability is never given and done. It is more a mindset and a process. Bluetooth technology has been identified with universal interoperability in many product categories and we believe this can be done for lighting through a continuous process of providing precise specifications, running multiple interoperability test events, and the tight qualification procedures. And the second is the system architecture – the fully distributed, no-point-of-failure mesh, which brings new qualities to smart lighting. It has just become easy to implement and very reliable, offering the best user experience for both installers and end users.”
According to a recently released article by Slupik, the Bluetooth® distributed control architecture perfectly matches the DALI application controller concept. “It is not often that you see independent architectures that match and extend each other so well,” said Slupik. “The technology match, together with the close collaboration between the Bluetooth SIG and the DALI Alliance, means that the market will benefit from a wider selection of interoperable intelligent lighting components. This, in turn, accelerates the adoption of intelligent, IoT-enabled lighting systems in retrofit and new-build environments. Ultimately, this leads to energy savings and enhanced comfort and user experience, which everyone can afford.”
Standardization = Interoperability
The collaboration between the DALI Alliance and the Bluetooth SIG demonstrates the critical role that standardization plays in removing the barriers prohibiting wider adoption of commercial connected lighting. Standards have always been the catalysts for widespread market adoption. Without standardization, mass adoption remains out of reach. The collaboration will help ensure the development of devices from different manufacturers are capable of working together to establish a global, interoperable ecosystem of lighting products.
“We are excited to support this collaboration between the Bluetooth SIG and DALI Alliance,” said Arnulf Rupp, head of standardization at OSRAM. “Establishing a standard Bluetooth® mesh interface for D4i intelligent luminaries will open up industry opportunity and enable the deployment of even more advanced, interoperable IoT-enabled commercial lighting systems while ensuring an equivalent light control behavior between both standards.”
The Realization of Commercial Lighting Through Bluetooth Mesh
For years, the full potential of wireless commercial lighting control remained within the abstract. Over time, more and more installations began relying on Bluetooth® mesh networking to support their lighting control systems.
A growing ecosystem of Bluetooth® commercial lighting products from leading vendors such as Delta Electronics, Fulham, Leedarson Lighting, McWong, Murata, OSRAM, Sylvania, Zumbtobel, and others is helping drive a 130 percent CAGR of annual shipments of Bluetooth enabled commercial lighting solutions by 2026. Large-scale implementations in warehouses, retail, horticulture, and commercial offices, including a near 4,000 node deployment in a 22-story office building in North America, offer proof of Bluetooth mesh networking’s scalability and reliability in demanding commercial settings.
The unique decentralized control architecture of Bluetooth mesh distributes intelligence across the network and eliminates single points of failure, bringing the resiliency, performance, and ease of implementation needed by installers, building managers, and end users in commercial installations. In addition, unlike other low-power wireless mesh networking technologies, Bluetooth mesh is a complete, full-stack solution that defines everything from the low-level physical radio layer through the high-level application layer, enabling easier product development and greater levels of product interoperability.
The Bluetooth Mesh to DALI Gateway Specification represents a key step in enabling lighting control systems to shift from a single-function solution to a platform that feeds building management systems and helps position intelligent lighting infrastructures as central to satisfying the growing demand for increased energy efficiency and improved occupant experience in sustainable, human-centric buildings.
“While lighting control in a wireless [Bluetooth®] mesh interconnecting DALI-based luminaires is the natural first application, we want to focus more on amplifying the value of luminaire data,” said Slupik. “DALI (and D4i in particular) offers a great wealth of standardized luminaire data, including real-time energy use monitoring and predictive maintenance. We believe there is a great value in harvesting the data in an interoperable way. D4i is a great match to Bluetooth mesh, and we believe the standardized interface between the wireless system network and the DALI-based intra-luminaire network will open true cross-vendor interoperability. You will be able to wirelessly interconnect over Bluetooth mesh any certified D4i luminaires.”
To help streamline the delivery of products to market, the DALI Alliance and the Bluetooth SIG are also working together to make it easier for vendors to complete both the Bluetooth® product qualification and DALI-2 and D4i product certification processes necessary to ensure interoperability. More information regarding product qualification and certification is expected later this year.