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The Future of Lighting Service – Smart Outdoor Light Fixtures

We live in the times of trying to inhabit another planet, the times of connected world with numerous apps at mobile devices/internet and the times of everything at our fingertips. We have accomplished many technological advancements in every field of science…

The Future of Lighting Service – Smart Outdoor Light Fixtures
Published on: 11/1/2023

The problem of outdoor Lighting Service:

We live in the times of trying to inhabit another planet, the times of connected world with numerous apps at mobile devices/internet and the times of everything at our fingertips. We have accomplished many technological advancements in every field of science. One of the greatest inventions of mankind is the invention of Light Bulb by Thomas Edison, which not only illuminated the lives of millions of people across the world but also gave birth to a new field called “Quantum Mechanics”, where now we’re questioning very definitions of time / space and reality itself. The Light Bulb invention holds a very special place in the history of inventions. We won’t go deep into the journey of Light Bulb to Quantum Mechanics and the mysterious nature of universe, but the point is we live in a time of great technological advancements where everything is at our fingertips, but with some exceptions like this:

Figure 1 Questioning Lighting Servicing “Reality” (outside of Quantum Mechanics)

Long before the dawn of the Light Bulbs, the streetlights for example, have been demanding heavy service attention (Ex. Manually lighting up the olden day streetlamps) and now, more than a century later, after several technological advancements in Lighting sector and after incandescent light bulb evolved into LED lighting, the Lighting industry still suffers the servicing aspect of the Light fixtures. Aspects such as a streetlight not working or flickering, purely rely on someone reporting it (or an on-duty service personnel noticing it), before deploying a service crew to repair. In the times of great technological advancements, where everything is at our fingertips, somehow the Outdoor Lights’ Servicing is primitive. Many of the current day scenarios for servicing Outdoor Lights is manual, reacting when a problem occurs and certainly not in an efficient manner (neither in time nor in cost).

Typical steps involved in a conventional lighting service of a damaged a Parking Lot Light:

  1. Someone noticing the problem and reporting it to the right authorities, such as a Shopping Center or a Servicing Electrical Contracting company noticing it (if so contracted).
  2. The Shopping Center informs Servicing Electrical Contracting company on the issue.
  3. The Servicing company goes to the anomaly location for initial investigation, which likely involves a bucket truck, which is very expensive running up several hundreds of dollars.
  4. They, then identify the problem (Ex. LED Driver) and make a note of it and leave.
  5. Then, they order the replacement parts from the Light Fixture Manufacturer.
  6. The replacement parts arrive after few days (ideally), and Servicing company visits with a bucket truck a second time to repair the Light fixture.

Solution to “Lighting Service” problem:

The Lighting Service problem can be addressed by Smart Outdoor Light Fixtures, which simplify the entire servicing process by being proactive and more efficient (both in time and cost). The Smart Outdoor Light Fixtureseliminate unnecessary manual labor and retain only strictly necessary aspect, the actual repair, which saves time and cost. For Smart Outdoor Light Fixtures, the notification post damage occurrence is rare (only for things outside of human control, which is the worst case). Considering the same situation as above on the damaged parking lot light with a Smart Outdoor Light Fixture, here are the steps involved

  1. The Servicing company, the Shopping Center and Light Fixture Manufacturer get notified automatically that a “specific parking light fixture is having temperatures outside nominal range, likely near future failure”. Notification comprising of all necessary diagnostic data including SKU#, Driver part# etc.
  2. The replacement kit or entire Fixture shipped by Manufacturer depending on diagnostic data.
  3. The replacement part/s arrive after few days (ideally) to the Servicing company, and this is before failure actually occurred. In this case, the Servicing company is ready to either proactively correct the anomaly Light fixture immediately or as soon as failure happens, in one visit, saving tremendous labor and cost.

Each Smart Light Fixture comprises a Smart Module, which has the static details of fixture (such as Driver part#, LED part#s, Fixture SKU# etc.), gathers diagnostic data (such as wattage, temperature etc.), implements a wireless network and GSM (+optionally GPS) capability for global connectivity (GSM for a group of several hundreds of fixtures). The Smart Module can be programmed to periodically send out information to the outside world. This data from Light Fixture is very powerful knowing the magnitude of problems it can prevent or inform about.

What can “Lighting Data” do?

Here are some possibilities of the types of problems that can be addressed with the data from Light Fixtures:

  • Driver run time data indicates the remaining useful life of the Driver, LED life etc.
  • Abnormal power consumption by Fixture for one of various reasons.
  • Out of range temperatures.
  • Quality issues due to manufacturing defects, miswiring, loose connections etc.
  • Fixture Damaged by Storms / Lightning etc.
  • Other latent failure scenarios.
Figure 2 Smart Outdoor Light Fixtures – High Level Implementation Diagram

A web app or a desktop app or a cellphone app can display the acquired data in an intuitive manner and give a clear picture about the Fixtures and the entire network. An example of app on a laptop shown below:

Figure 3 Example of a Web App & Cellphone App for Smart Outdoor Light Fixtures

As opposed to the conventional method of Manually reporting “Post Problem Occurrence”, Smart Outdoor Light Fixtures implement Automatic reporting via:

  1. Basic Analytics” based on data from onboard sensors that tells what happened (basic data analysis). Ex. Driver wattage was outside specified range.
  2. Diagnostic Analytics” that looks at a bigger picture and attempts to answer why it happened. Ex. Driver current was lower than specified range because Ambient temperature is outside the Fixture operating temperature range and Driver is operating in temperature de-rating mode.
  3. Predictive Analytics” that tells what might happen next. Ex. Fixture is healthy and continues to operate in safe mode until ambient temperature restores to within normal range. It’ll continue to have lower lumen output if higher ambient temperature persists.
  4. Prescriptive Analytics” that tells what the suggested next step is. Ex. Recommended to use industrial grade version of this Light Fixture for this location which can deliver 100% lumens with warmer ambient conditions.


The Smart Outdoor Light Fixtures offer Seamless Service with Diagnostic, Predictive & Prescriptive Analytics and address one of the biggest problems Lighting manufacturers face - the “Service Aspect”, where the current day manual ways of doing things can be replaced with automated Fixture Health status on a mobile app or on a Web interface. The Smart Outdoor Light Fixture sends a text message on a mobile phone or an update on a mobile app or on a web interface, when either something is not working or not working optimally, problem diagnosis, predicting failure/s, prescribing next steps (and optionally precisely pointing out the anomaly location). Not just that but also identifying what part went bad / compromised or predicted to go bad with supporting data of the Lighting system such as the analysis behind the report, Driver part# or history of previous service etc. The Lighting repair crew doesn’t have to go blindfolded to figure out what happened, but rather knowing what went bad and taking the replacement parts so one bucket truck visit to the anomaly location, solves the problem.  

The Smart Outdoor Light Fixtures can be a near future reality with Cree Lighting’s innovative Light fixtures with our partnering companies’ wireless and control solutions.

Amruteshwar Hiremath

Amruteshwar Hiremath

As Senior Electronics Design Engineer at Cree Lighting, Amruteshwar contributed to the intellectual property portfolio with three granted and three pending patents across diverse electronics. He played leading roles in architecting and designing innovative lighting products and expanding the product portfolio. Amruteshwar's leadership has been instrumental in developing hardware circuit designs for various lighting products, introducing efficiency and automation tools, and diversifying product offerings. His contributions have been recognized through product displays at national and international exhibitions/trade shows, and he has contributed articles and publications showcasing thought leadership in the lighting industry.

Amruteshwar's diverse and impactful contributions spanning over two decades demonstrate his expertise in electronics and hardware engineering, encompassing areas such as computer circuit board design, power electronics, and microelectronics based on semiconductor microprocessors and microcontrollers. His innovative contributions extend across a range of products, including lighting, mission-critical laboratory equipment such as Ultra Low Temperature Freezers, and Intel Pentium Microprocessor and Chipsets.

Amruteshwar played a pivotal role in architecting and designing critical components, such as the Display Board for Ultra Low Temperature Freezers showcasing expertise in High-speed Digital Semiconductor and Microelectronics. His leadership extended to Modular Controls and Unified Electronics, influencing the next generation of Electronics designs across various products. The Ultra Low Temperature Freezers played an essential role in containing the COVID-19 pandemic and contributed significantly to the scientific advancements in drug discovery, clinical trials and biological research. 

Amruteshwar actively contributed to internal & external peer reviews and authored various documents, showcasing his thought leadership in Semiconductors, Microelectronics, Electrical Engineering, and related domains.

Amruteshwar worked for other distinguished organizations such as Thermo Fisher Scientific, Intel Corporation, Mindteck and Aspire Communications (now ACL Digital).

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