The demands of hybrid work require secure connectivity, flexibility, sustainability, and environmental health and wellness.  All at once.

Now this may seem daunting at first blush, but with the right network infrastructure and the right partners, you can unleash your building “super-power” to handle it all.

Power over Ethernet (PoE) for lighting

And that super-power gets its energy with a network infrastructure powered by 90W Power over Ethernet or 90W PoE.

90W PoE opens the doors to a vast array of connected and interconnected devices, sensors and controllers that allow you to take command of your hybrid workspaces in ways one could have only dreamed about a few years ago.

One prime example is the happy confluence of 90W PoE and LED lighting. The intersection of these two evolving technologies is accelerating the transition from traditional lighting systems to not only LED lighting but PoE connected and powered lighting.

Light table

Low-voltage LED lighting alone can dramatically reduce energy required per lumen when compared to incandescent, halogen, metal halide and fluorescent equivalents. In fact, LED lighting is 30% more efficient than even the most efficient alternative – T8 fluorescent, often found in commercial and business locations.

LED lights also last longer. They have a typical life span of over 50,000 hours, compared to 30,000 hours for a T8 fluorescent or worst case an incandescent bulbs life of 750 hours.

LED lighting also has a number of other advantages:

  • LED lights are more durable-no glass
  • LED is a directional light source reducing the need for bulky reflectors and diffusers
  • LEDs reduce heat load in a workspace, transferring energy to light vs. heat
  • LED contains no toxic mercury or glass
  • LEDs do not emit UV/IR, reducing eye strain and fatigue

Again, while low-voltage LED lighting alone should be considered, to truly take full control of your hybrid work environment, PoE lighting is a must.

Here are three key reasons why:

Reason #1: PoE lighting reduces power, material, labor and maintenance.

(Ok so that is four reasons, but they are all about OpEx)

Ongoing Operations
  • Reduces the up-front construction cost and time to completion when using PoE for cabling, installation, and configuration, including a dramatic reduction in installation “carbon footprint” – no conduit required, no high voltage copper wiring required
  • Use of low voltage PoE increases safety and eliminates the need for certified electrician for installation and the inevitable modification.
  • As LED lights need DC power to operate, AC powered LED fixtures must convert their power source through a transformer to DC. This can result in 20% loss in power in the form of heat. As PoE is native DC power no transformer need and no resulting power loss

Reason #2: PoE lighting gives more security and flexibility in design and placement

“Lighting can make a space, but will there be space for lighting”

As DC-based LEDs require less energy, they run cooler and can be a smaller form factor as no AC/DC transforming or transformer required.  Combine this with the elimination of reflectors and diffusers, PoE lighting can fit in spaces and locations never before possible.

Without being tethered to a high voltage AC power source, devices such as interior light fixtures can be located wherever they are needed most and repositioned easily if required.

The wired connection with PoE also eliminates the disruption risk associated with wireless type lighting controls while enabling additional security features like macro and micro segmentation.

Reason #3: PoE lighting can be readily paired with sensors, shades and HVAC controllers.

Using pervasive 90W PoE to both power and secure, monitor and control the building’s network to interconnect shades, sensors, HVAC controllers, tags and cameras to detect temperature, ambient light, humidity, VOCs and not only occupancy but also density to optimize lighting and air quality, not only making the workspace more sustainably but also healthier and safer, more comfortable environment.

For the building owner/manager, improving lighting through automation and creating personalized environments attracts tenants and increase revenue per square foot. Tracking real-time energy usage on an fixture-by-fixture, room-by-room, floor by floor and/or building-by-building basis quantifies energy consumption, enables scheduled “sleep-mode”, improves tenant wellbeing and satisfaction while saving money and further reducing carbon footprint.

For the building user, it offers individual light control and the ability to optimize lighting based on circadian rhythm to help mimic natural light indoors by programming room lighting to change the color temperature and reducing eye strain associated with blue light wavelengths during evening hours.

Looking to the future…

I had the pleasure of listening in to a recent discussion with Cisco’s Jasmine Shah and leaders in complementary “proptech” or smart building technologies. They discussed how the you can take advantage of PoE and how building upon that technology is easier than you may think.

And you may already have much of what you need to get started.

You, too, can listen in as Kim Johnson from Igor Technology, Brittany Mier y Terán from Somfy, Alex Bunda from Southwire and Grant Donald and Phillip Priestly from NTT Ltd. talk about how they are taking clients from what they have to what they need and just making it work.

Listen to the Insider Series for Networking on Hybrid Work and Sustainability .

Visit Cisco Insider Series for Networking to listen to the Smart Building podcast.

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Jeff Meek

Product Marketing Manager

Enterprise Networking and Mobility