I was down at the new Cisco offices in Toronto this week for a customer meeting to talk about collaboration and unified communication solutions. Something I am proud to say our organization is an expert in. As we talked about the new and exciting features that the collaboration solutions can bring, including some really cool video conferencing solutions the discussion shifted towards the connected office. The lighting fixtures in the board room were all LED powered using PoE (Power over Ethernet). The entire lighting system in the 29th floor of the tower is powered by PoE switches.
No high Voltage wiring required, instead everything is run over Cat5/6 cable. Cisco’s recent announcement regarding their partnership with Phillips is truly a game changer. Lighting an entire building without the need of an electrician.
Sensors in the hall way detect movement and turn on and off as required. Elegant controls on the wall for dimming and on/off control that don’t need to be connected directly to the lights they control. Everything is centralized and can be controlled through software, or controlled via a smart phone app.
As we have seen with many industries, these technological advances create new opportunities while at the same time can render an existing industry obsolete. I’m sure the calculator industry has taken a big hit since every smartphone on the planet has one built in. Even that is not necessary anymore because you can just ask google. Electricians will always be needed, but how much of their business came from running high voltage cable throughout a building for office lighting?
Things are moving very quickly and we all need to be in a position to adapt quickly. Any guesses as to what is next?