The Zhaga Consortium, a global association of lighting companies that is standardizing components of LED luminaires, has finalized a new specification that helps to bring the Internet of Things (IoT) to outdoor LED lighting fixtures. The specification, known as Zhaga Book 18, makes it easy to upgrade LED fixtures by adding or changing 24V modules that provide sensing and communication capabilities.

Demonstrating Zhaga’s priority focus to support the merger of IoT and lighting technologies, this specification marks the first step in a new direction for Zhaga that will also enable similar capabilities for future-proofed indoor luminaires.

“This new Book 18 specification answers the industry’s call for a standardized interface with a smaller footprint than existing designs,” says Dee Denteneer, Secretary General of Zhaga. “It enables the installation of future-proofed outdoor LED luminaires, which can be easily upgraded with smart communication and sensing capabilities. Moving forward, I expect Zhaga to make more contributions to bring the IoT into the lighting industry.”

Smart LED lighting fixtures with sensing and communication capabilities can significantly improve the efficiency, maintenance and running costs of outdoor lighting networks. In this period of rapid IoT evolution, there are many unanswered questions about the correct choice of sensing technologies and communication protocols that future smart-lighting networks will require. However, outdoor LED lighting fixtures are being installed right now, with an expected lifetime of around 20 years or more, and the cost of retrofitting can be prohibitively expensive.

Zhaga’s Book 18 specification solves this dilemma by enabling future-proof luminaires that can be upgraded as technologies evolve.

Book 18 defines a standardized interface between a receptacle on the exterior of the LED luminaire and a sensing and communication module that fits into the receptacle. The standardized interface means that the module can be easily replaced in the field, allowing the luminaire to be upgraded via the addition of new smart capabilities. Also, the luminaire can be shipped with a blank cap in the receptacle, allowing a module to be field-installed at a later date if required.