Connected lighting is the smart revolution gathering pace across the retail sector. Andy Davies, head of business development and specification at Harvard Technology, discusses its role in warehouses and distribution centres.

Distribution and logistics are integral cogs in the retail sector machine, enabling retail brands to increase the availability of goods and provide a seamless shopping experience for customers in an Omni-channel market. However, given the fact that most operate on a 24/7 basis, they remain a significant drain on the resources of many leading retail brands.

Lighting can have a significant impact on every aspect of a warehouse’s performance, from overhead costs, to employee safety and ultimately the smoothness of day to day operations inside the facility. It can also be particularly costly if not managed correctly, with lighting typically accounting for up to 80% of a distribution centre’s energy consumption.

Distribution centres, with their high ceilings, large open spaces, busy loading bays and narrow aisles can be challenging spaces to light. In the past, inefficient light fixtures and a lack of intuitive lighting controls meant that lighting was an unavoidable expense for retailers operating in a highly-competitive and demanding market.

Advancements in LED lighting technology and Internet of Things (IoT) enabled wireless lighting controls are driving forward efficiencies in operations and enabling leading retail brands to reduce energy costs across their estate.

The controls revolution Whilst, the early generation lighting control systems provided energy savings, they often proved difficult and expensive to retrofit into warehouse environments. The new generation of wireless lighting control technology, like Harvard Technology’s EyeNut solution, however, are transforming the way distribution centres are lit.

Utilising cloud-based, connected wireless technology, both indoor and outdoor lighting can be configured, controlled and monitored from a simple to use Graphic User Interface (GUI) on a laptop, tablet or even a smartphone. Users can gain access to an array of real time data on energy consumption, carbon emissions and saving achieved.

Intelligent wireless lighting control systems are also helping to improve employee safety on the distribution centre floor – a critical aspect of any retail operation. Individual light point control, delivered through the GUI, allows users to provide the right level of uniform directional lighting to staff when needed and tailor lighting to tasks taking place.

Distribution centre efficiency is also improved as luminaires can be independently switched off or dimmed, and scheduled to active when required, in turn reducing energy costs incurred through over lighting.

Harvard Technology, a worldleading manufacturer wireless lighting control systems, has been helping distribution centre managers improve the quality of lighting and reduce energy costs for several years.


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