Lighting Matters: Introducing Bluetooth Mesh

October 24th, 2018, Published in Articles: Vector

Philip Hammond

Many have heard about the fourth industrial revolution and incorrectly think that some perfectly normal IT developments or advancements are in the offing. We must discern what can really be considered as part of it. Some are genuinely embracing it while some are starting to plan for it. Others, however, are freaking out, fearing the unknown or simply suffer from the “resistance to change factor”.

No matter which group you fall into, the fourth industrial revolution is not going away. It is a reality! I have listened to Prof. Yuval Noah Harari, a world-renowned historian, philosopher and best-selling author of several books about humankind, our history, future and our place in the 21st century. His talks are worth watching on YouTube. Essentially, he says we need to keep control of ourselves, our future and, most importantly, our brains throughout the revolution.

I now introduce you to Bluetooth Mesh. We are all familiar with Bluetooth on our smartphones, laptops and other devices which allows us to enjoy hands-free communication, connect to our smart watches and many more.

What is Bluetooth Mesh? What makes it different from the Bluetooth we know? What makes it so disruptive? It’s quite simply that it unleashes the ability to have many-to-many communications, enabling homes, offices, factories and cities to move beyond being simply connected, but to be truly smart.

You are now able to select the right low-power wireless mesh technology to power the automation for a new building or for creating an asset-tracking solution, both of which could be make or break decisions, decisions that could play a significant role in determining the ultimate success of any new project. Bluetooth itself has a 20-year track record of delivering low-power wireless technology enabling simple, secure device connectivity.

Bluetooth Mesh is scalable, reliable and secure. It can support up to 32 000 nodes per network. It is fast and enables messaging that is faster than sound. This makes it possible for a single light switch to control hundreds of lights in a factory or warehouse or whatever application.

It uses 256 bit elliptical curves and out-of-band encryption, multi-level encryption and privacy by ensuring that each packet is made obscure, with all identity information being tracked by others within range.

In practical terms, it means that it is possible to control a system covering multiple floors in a single building to multi-floors in multi-buildings within the network, from a single smart device. It is easy to set up as each luminaire is identifiable, each luminaire or group of luminaires is accessible and controllable whether for scene setting, hue and human-centric lighting or any other required parameter. The possibilities are endless.

There are other technologies, but none as dependable or expansive as Bluetooth Mesh.

BHA School of Lighting has developed an entirely new curriculum for the Diploma in Illumination Engineering course which includes Bluetooth Mesh and all other new technologies which fall within Industry 4. It is the first such complete curriculum in the world, developed and offered in South Africa and throughout the world. The diploma course content and level of sophistication have risen by 60%. It teaches students the system architecture, equipment and how to deploy the system/technology.

Don’t get left behind – embrace all the new technologies, stay in control.  Be part of the fourth industrial revolution rather than being an onlooker!

I look forward to 2019. I remain forever optimistic. I am not oblivious to the political and economical events both in South Africa and the rest of the world. I am not one to put my head in the sand but believe that, by being positive, innovative and, most importantly, by being a leader rather than a follower, I can make a difference.

I have made a difference in the lives of my students, those who are still enrolling, those who are still studying and those who have graduated, no matter where in the world they live and work.

I wish all who celebrate Christmas a very blessed period and an amazing 2019. I wish our Jewish readers Happy Hanukkah and to all the other readers a happy season and holiday.

Contact Philip Hammond BHA Lighting and BHA School of Lighting, Tel 021 552-4848, phil@bhalighting.co.za