HomeBuildings100,000 units, ‘and growing’ – Wirepas, Ingy strike monster deal for indoor smart lighting

100,000 units, ‘and growing’ – Wirepas, Ingy strike monster deal for indoor smart lighting

IoT connectivity provider Wirepas has closed a monster-sized deal with smart lighting provider Ingy for 100,000 units of its mesh networking solution, to be combined with Ingy’s indoor lighting control solutions. It is the biggest smart lighting deal to date for Finland-based Wirepas, providing a rival point-to-point mesh networking solution to the likes of Bluetooth and Zigbee. 

“The growing deal sizes are an indication of progress in digitalization of industries,” said Wirepas. They also reflect the growing demand for Ingy’s smart-lighting platform. “Our baby is getting big,” said Bastiaan de Groot, chief executive at the Netherlands-based firm, which only revealed its Wirepas foundation at the start of last year, having spent 18 months’ on the over-the-top stack.

Dutch luminaire maker Koopman Interlight is to buy a “large part” of the 100,000 units from Ingy. It will flash the combined Wirepas/Ingy solution into its lighting products. Wirepas explained: “This is for 100,000 units of connected devices/nodes, which will all be luminaires. These can be upgraded when a customer needs additional services ‘beyond lighting’.”

The main point of difference for the Wirepas/Ingy combo is scalability (which remains the biggest headache in IoT). A press statement from the pair talks about indoor mesh networks with “no limit”, and single IoT installations for “hundreds of thousands of devices”. Ingy told Enterprise IoT Insights last year Wirepas goes to 750,000 nodes, and that it had, at the time, deployed up to 1,200 connected units at a single site (“bigger than the biggest Bluetooth mesh network”).

De Groot said last year: “Yes, there’s a market for systems that support 500 or 1,000 nodes, but those are smaller offices. If you’re looking at buildings that can really make use of this stuff, you’re looking at 10,000-plus. That is where most mesh technologies fall down. [Because] it is hard to scale wireless mesh – not academically-hard, like a formula to solve, but engineering-hard.” 

Ingy’s headline Wirepas-based installations, so far, are with the ‘Zone.college’ smart school project in the Netherlands, handled by Koopman Interlight, which consisted of 1,300 luminaires (and may be the same installation as referenced above), and with the University Medical Center (UMC) in Utrecht, also in the Netherlands, for an undisclosed volume of smart lights/fixtures.

Its solution offers straight lighting controls, as well as a backbone platform for occupancy analytics, climate monitoring, and even asset tracking. Ingy claims to be one of few smart lighting firms to offer real-time indoor tracking. “Hardly anyone else can. I mean, compared with occupancy analytics, asset tracking is a different game,” de Groot told Enterprise IoT Insights

It has “large projects” with hospitals and logistics companies to trace medical equipment and warehouse stock via lightpoints. He added: “They don’t need to roll out infrastructure because the light points are paid for already – it saves a third of the cost of asset tracking.”

Unlike rival open standards, proprietary Wirepas is “built ground-up for industrial purposes”, according to the duo. Wirepas said: “It has no single point of failure, it never fails.” The technology is being used, as well, for lighting-based IoT in smart factories, notably with Schaeffler and Sulzer. Wirepas has contributed heavily to the new DECT-2020 NR for the 5G standard.

Alan Sillito, head of global key accounts at Wirepas, said: “This is our biggest single lighting deal to date and… allows us to take a great grip on the smart building industry. Lighting matters as you can create a building-wide network on which any partner can build. This is just the beginning for us; there is a huge demand for connecting smart buildings quickly, securely, and affordably.”

He added: “The market of industrial IoT is about massive numbers of units. The long-talked about digitalization of industries is now happening for real as the frontrunner companies are seeing the benefits. The deal sizes are massive – and growing.”

De Groot at Ingy, commented: “Many have dreamt of this but did not have the radio technology nor the range of sensors going beyond lighting to back it up. We are finally able to deliver on this vision. Our rapid success has shown our customers recognize the difference we can deliver thanks to the Wirepas technology and the vast range of sensors we can access through their ecosystem.”

For more from Ingy and Wirepas, including evaluation of rival indoor smart-lighting mesh connectivity technologies, check out the Enterprise IoT Insights report on smart lighting as-a-platform.

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