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27 min read

SBA 245: Lighting 101 with Beatrice Witzgall

By Phil Zito on Apr 12, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Topics: Podcasts

Lighting is one of the most common systems in the building and just like HVAC, we can't really use buildings without lighting. But how often do we actually discuss lighting and more importantly what do we really know about how lighting systems get selected, designed, and implemented.

In this Smart Buildings Academy episode, I talk with design expert Beatrice Witzgall of I3D. We discuss the state of the lighting industry, what technologies exist, why more innovation is not happening in the industry, the use of lighting post-COVID, and much more.

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Resources mentioned in this episode

Beatrice Witzgall

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Show notes

Phil Zito 0:00
This is the smart buildings Academy podcast with Phil Zito Episode 245. Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome to Episode 245 of the smart buildings Academy podcast. And in this episode we are going to be talking with Beatrice Wits Gaul, she works at ai 3d. And before working at eye 3d has done an extensive amount of lighting, design, lighting, retrofit and working within the lighting space. I feel lighting is something that we don't talk about a whole lot in our space. And that's kind of funny to me, because besides for power monitoring, and maybe like h fac integrations, it's the most integrated system in the building automation space. But if you ask the average building automation person, what do they know about lighting, they may mention Lutron, they might mention a couple other systems, but they don't really know much about how it's designed, how it's selected, what the market looks like, all of those things. And so, Beatrice and I are going to be diving pretty deep into that. She has a tremendous educational background in architecture and interior design, as well as having a lot of work experience in that as well from really Designing Spaces and laying out lighting systems and strategies. And so you'll hear about all of that as we move through this interview. As always, everything that we discuss can be found at podcast at smart buildings academy.com Ford slash 244. Once again, that's podcast dot smart buildings academy.com Ford slash 245. Sorry, not 244. I was looking at show notes from last week. Okay. But as I was saying, we're gonna dive into the interview in just a second. The last thing I want to leave you with is there's only a couple days left in our Tax Day Sale. And that's your opportunity to save 20% off any of our courses at courses dot smart buildings Academy comm using the coupon code tax day, that's one word, T a XDAY. So use that coupon code to save 20% off any of our courses, up until 11:59pm on April 15 2021. So with that being said, let's dive into the interview. Hey folks, Phil Zito here and I, Beatrice Wits Gaul with ai 3d. And so she has a tremendous background in the architecture space, specifically in space design related to lighting and occupant engagement. And I'm really excited because we don't often talk about lighting outside of just energy. Everyone's like, oh, how can we get those LEDs and to do our energy savings? And then everyone says, Oh, yeah, you know, circadian rhythm or just engaging occupants by changing their mood states and increasing their efficiency, and you see the talk about that, but you don't really ever get an in depth into it. So what Beatrice is going to be going through today with us and why I'm excited to have her here, we're gonna talk about the lighting industry, kind of understand how it's organized, how they go to market, how products are sold, then we're going to talk about how lighting systems are designed and delivered. And then we're going to talk about why we're not seeing kind of the same level of advancement in lighting technologies, and what we as an industry can do about that. So that being said, Beatrice, thanks so much for being here. It's awesome to have you this morning.

Beatrice Witzgall 3:53
Thank you, Phil, for having me. And I'm also excited to share some of my knowledge with your community and advance the space by helping with more knowledge.

Phil Zito 4:02
Yeah, yeah. I mean, you have a broad background. I mean, just your education alone, I looked at that, you know, dual dual degrees in architecture, you know, a bachelor's and a Master's, and then multiple positions, working on some marquee projects related to the interior design, the lighting, and I mean, way more in depth experience than I have on that topic. So this is going to be good. So let's talk Oh, you're welcome. Oh, thank you. Um, so let's talk about how the lighting industry is organized because as you explained it to me, there's like almost two different industries. There's the US industry and then there's like everyone else. So take me through that. So first

Beatrice Witzgall 4:49
of all, the big differentiation is between the commercial space and the home consumer space. You know, in the home consumer space, it's pretty straightforward. You go to a store, buy a fixture. At home, you go to Home Depot or anything, buy your light bulbs and you're done. In the commercial space, it gets a little bit more complicated, because you have to manage hundreds of palps light fixtures and different lighting zones. So the process typically starts with the architect or who gets involved with a lighting designer in a bigger project. And the lighting designer helps to assist the owner as well as the architect to define the mood, the identity and what the space is supposed to do. And then our job is to specify the lighting, design the lighting, specify the lighting and produce all the documents around it from lighting plans to specifications. So that's really the lighting where it starts with the owner engaging the lighting designer together, if the architect, then the whole project typically goes out to bid. And they're there for a little bit apart typically, because in the bid process, it is different in Europe or in the rest of the world than in the US because you have the agencies here in the US who have a very strong, powerful role in the market, which kind of muddies the waters. Unfortunately, if I go and buy a light fixture in Europe, I can say, Okay, I'm shopping for $200 down light, great. And I get a market discount for being you know, a trade professional of 20%. And I know, I can create my budget $480. In America, the agents do the pricing. So all what I can get as a lighting designer, whose job it is to design for a budget that the client gives me is Oh, I get the fixture is a student who the net price of $200. Typically the agency's at 20 to 30%. To that to do their pricing. So I know Okay, the picture should be around 250 260 worst case scenario. But then when I go at the end of the job site, I literally had sometimes a client yelling at me because the download came in at $650. So there's a lot of markups that happens in the process in especially in the US industry, from you know, the bid going out to the contractor, the contractor adds the markup, then you have the electrical electrician adding the markup, then it goes to the agency surprise the packet, the project out as a package. And that's typically that they try to substitute fixtures from other manufacturers to only use fixtures that every presenting so that their sales package goes higher, and then they're selling it to the market. That unfortunate and I know this was very detailed.

Phil Zito 7:51
This Oh no, no, a lot of folks don't know how this happens. So it's it's good to understand.

Beatrice Witzgall 7:56
And this is where the specification often breaks apart in the bid price process, and the role of the agencies in the channel. Yeah, and then anyway, so the project gets spit, the pictures get purchased, and then the electrician typically installs them together with the contractor. And then we come back as a lighting designer on the project to approve it. And then parallel and depending on the project and the budget, we do also have to deal with a lighting control system, the lighting control system becomes now a really interesting topic, because it does go into the smart building industry. The lighting control system defines how all these dozens or hundreds of lights are being controlled together. So you define the zones and the lighting scenes. And then they get wired up. But now we have the discussion of wireless controls. And that's often the designer steps out and there's a little bit of a void in the definition and specification of who's taking charge. And then the vendors come in. And the vendors is about relationships, not always the best for the owner, because sometimes not the best solution gets placed on a project. And then you know, at the end of the day, when we are handing over the project, we come in and set the light scenes and say oh at, you know, at sunset lights them to 50% in this zone. And then this era, we want to keep them at 80%. And that's typically how a lighting project in the commercial market goes through the process. Okay, so

Phil Zito 9:31
let me kind of recap what I heard. So you got two kind of conflicts happening at the same time. And then you have a kind of pricing overlay as well. So you have potentially you're creating a design, and that design gets value engineered due to cost pressure and the cost pressure is because of an overlay model where people are marking it up. But then let's say you managed to get through that and your design stays intact and you still have the right lighting assets, I don't even know what to call them fixtures, I guess. So you have the right fixture still in place, then what you have to deal with at that point is the lighting control system. And can that even go and execute some of the use cases that you want to achieve? So you're being kind of constrained on two fronts. One is, you need to first get the fixtures in place and the appropriate lights in place to actually be able to execute a use case. And then you actually need a lighting control system to execute that use case. But what you've told me is, this is not the case over in Europe, it's it's different. How so?

Beatrice Witzgall 10:39
Well, first of all, that to the the two different topics are differently handled. So one is the bidding and pricing project. In Europe, you have transparent pricing, you know, they disclose your how much a light fixture costs over here, they give you kind of only a budget price in the commercial space. And then you don't know how what comes out at the end of it. So there's very little transparency in it. And the agencies package them together into one big number. And you don't really know what it's all in this number and what budget is in there. So that's difficult with the lack of transparency in terms of the budget, the lighting controls, isn't a very hot topic, especially now of the emergence of smart building, the traditional user cases energy efficiency and lighting mood. So we write as lighting designers control intent, when we say, we want to have in this lobby space for light scenes, or eight light scenes across four different zones with dimming, that's kind of the basic of a lighting control intent. And then that goes out and then a lighting control company is being picked. That process is a little bit fuzzy, or different topic. And that's it. But now with the emergence of smart building technology, the user case has changed because it's not just about energy efficiency anymore, or how to dim the lights at a certain hour when less light is needed. Now, we can also connect system and have interoperability between the different systems, for example, you have an access key in a hotel room. And the access key is now connected to the light scene. And then it says, okay, the person enters the room, the lights turn off, that is already part of the definition of what a smart building is, when the different systems talk to each other. And actionable actions happen. That is not traditionally the scope of the lighting designer, they don't specify these use cases. The question is who is and that is a little bit of a unknown. Suddenly, it has to come from the building owner who is often a little bit over bent of defining all of these use cases. Sometimes the building integrator comes in and define some of these. But it's a little bit of a void in the current space. And this is also why the lighting still stays and like a little silo in the space. And it's not as interconnected as some of the other systems in the smart building world. Because it's user cases need to be defined, and nobody really has full ownership of that.

Phil Zito 13:32
Yeah, so I was reading the white paper you sent over to me. And you mentioned how there's a hotel space. And there's a hotel space, and there was a proposed solution that would really enhance the occupant experience. And I'm gonna ask you to describe that in just a second. But it reminds me of when my wife and I traveled to Amsterdam, and we stayed in a hotel. I can't remember what it was, but it was at the Amsterdam Airport. It was like this little mini pod and we

Beatrice Witzgall 14:00
have in there. Yes, I actually Yeah, yes.

Phil Zito 14:03
Okay. And it had a very interesting lighting. Yes. You know, what I'm talking about, I lighting was really interesting, like, how the shower lighting was controlled. And it was just, it was a really cool experience. And honestly, the room was tiny. It was like, ridiculously tiny, but the lighting made it feel not small. And then the way they use the light levels in the kitchen area made it not feel as condensed it was it was a small square footage, but the lighting technologies. So talk about just lighting experience, what that hotel that you mentioned in the case study was trying to achieve and just how can owners actually navigate this because that's one of the points he pointed out in there was that the owner, it was quote unquote, small even though it had a nine month payback, it was small, and so it didn't draw the attention of the owner. But yet, as I read through it in my own personal experience, it has an outsized impact.

Beatrice Witzgall 15:08
Yeah. So that hotel corridor project was part of when I was, you know, part of Luma phi, and Luma phi is a wireless lighting solution that also does color changing and uses actually some of the home consumer products like Philips Hue. So, in a corridor, what we did there is we exchanged the traditional bulbs with energy savings LED bulbs, they were halogen before to get the color temperature, right. And then we said an automated different scenes. And it really became a nice experience, because for special events on the penthouse floor with special colors, for certain holidays, or we had different light scenes throughout the day. So they daytime, we mimic the outside temperatures, it was a colder white pride versus at night, we went into the amber tones, and then the lights down. So it was a really great experience. But at the end of the day, we never got the whole, it never went beyond the prototype or the pilot stage where you just had one floor. And the the the manager told me at the end of the day, it was too small of a project for the owner to pay attention. Because even though it was just I forgot the exact budget somewhere, you know, it was 1020 30,000, something like this. And they're like, we have a multimillion dollar budget to manage. This is just peanuts, we don't have the time to look at this really, even though it's a nice experience. So we kind of got, you know, for all this falls through the cracks in their budget meetings and decision meetings. And then it really came down to some of the other hotel people and consultants I spoke with, and they're like, there's the DLL 3033 3300 rule that they say, you know, energy costs is such a small portion of a building, it's like one or 3% I forget the exact number, while 300 go into employees 30 go into the real estate into rent and lease or space management. And they're like we rather if we need to do a cost cut, we rather focus on the big pie of the 300, then the energy savings. You know, it's a nice argument, the good arguments, but how about employee satisfaction? How about employee experience. And I think that's where lightning misses out right now. Because all the engineers that drive a lot of the control systems are focused on energy savings, and it's a proven ROI model. But it doesn't, it only goes so far. And of the smart building technology, we can really look at new use cases that are created by the interoperability between different systems, where we also have the feedback of data and can create a better understanding what's going on in the building and how we can improve and optimize it.

Phil Zito 18:05
Okay, I'm just taking some notes here. Because there's so many paths that that branched off into that.

Beatrice Witzgall 18:14
sidetracked but it's a complex topic.

Phil Zito 18:17
No, it's it's very good. So let's do this first, then it's a hotel. It's all about occupant experience, otherwise, they're gonna choose another hotel. We've all stayed at hotels that are terrible. And we're like, we're never staying there again. So what do you mean by they couldn't focus on that, when that, to me? Seems like a pretty important thing is just because it's a small monetary budget item, is that come about because of our contracting processes, and how kind of our contractors manage things? And they say, Oh, it's so small, we don't want to bring it to the attention of the owner. I mean, what's going on there? Because that does seem like a big issue.

Beatrice Witzgall 19:08
Yeah, and I can, you know, I can only speculate, I don't know all the details of it. To tell you the truth. It is a little bit of a, you know, fuzzy process that, you know, every owner has a different decision process. But at the end of the day, if you know, a manager has an hour time of the owner and they need to make certain decisions, they're gonna go by what a decision is the most important for them, which one is the biggest budget item? So I think that was basically what drove that. You know, there are other examples too. You know, where owners made a decision against it because it was an innovative technology, they were afraid of it. There's a whole range of different reasons, but the decision processes are sometimes in the real estate process. Project very convoluted, and you have a lot of stakeholders that need to get on a table and agree on something. So every project is different. And it's it's hard to navigate it in a way, unless you just stay in your predefined silos and responsibilities. But that doesn't really allow for innovation.

Phil Zito 20:23
Yeah, Yeah, I would agree. How do you think COVID-19 and re occupying the space is going to affect lighting innovation, and specifically, and we were talking about this before we hopped on the interview here, specifically, people having Smart Home technologies, people having the experience they want, and then entering into a building that does not have the experience they want? How does that influence? And? And is that going to influence the market?

Beatrice Witzgall 20:55
I think this is a very complex and super fascinating topic. I think COVID-19 is for the real estate industry, one of the biggest pivot points, like decades before Sure. And it depends a little bit on the vertical to, you know, the building's owners have now a very clear need for more technology, because the technology can give information and help people keep them safer by giving them information, how many people are in the building, in you know, incorporating touchless technology, nobody wants to press a light switch anymore? Do we need all the lighting, if nobody is in the building or in that floor in that area? There are a lot of questions coming up. And it is definitely a great area of innovation. But then the building's owner have to struggle also, that there's a big shift away from office space, you know, owners struggle to collect their rent, they need to look at the bottom line, you know, cash is not as much on hand. So they need to look at the budget constraints while implementing new technologies. So it's a it's a careful balance, but it is definitely a time for innovation and a push for technology to be integrated in the in the building the lighting impact. I think that that a few different pen tendencies that happen. So one of the ones that has happened several years ago was enlighted, as what was one of the colliding control players, but then they shifted to energy management, but also to inclusion of sensors and light fixtures. During COVID-19, they actually were able and they had an asset tracking solution already developed in Tron COVID-19, they actually had already in buildings, the technical infrastructure implemented to now people tracking about how how to make a building safe in terms of people density, contact tracing in their buildings. So that became suddenly a really interesting topic for them. And a great use case, where lighting evolved to contact tracing and really making the building at the occupants safer in a building and make them more comfortable to return to work.

Phil Zito 23:23
That is interesting. Yeah, that's an interesting use case. And it's because they already had the asset in place. So do you think that influences spec design going forward on new builds and retrofits like people, they may actually have a viable reason to put infrastructure in place for use cases that they may not execute?

Beatrice Witzgall 23:45
Yes, I do think, I think what people are thinking a lot more about novel use cases that go beyond just energy management. And I think that's a really good progress. The question is right now, still, it's a wild, wild west on who's taking charge or lead of it. It is not it touches the lighting design industry, but they're not really having the responsibility. It's definitely the owners, definitely drivers drivers are the operators. And then on the other hand, you have vendors, pushing for solutions trying to get in front of the owners, to make them understand but this because it is you know it the innovation happens by connecting different disciplines and creating a new use case. So there is not a clear ownership and that's why I see the innovation is a little bit struggling but I also see this big opportunity for for new things to happen.

Phil Zito 24:45
Yeah, I want to come back to the use cases and talk through some of those but before we go there, fast forward 10 years, all buildings have ltds they no longer have ta halogens etc. It's all early days, what then becomes the value prop of lighting at that point, because I mean, the energy argument is going to kind of vanish. And yet I don't see people pivoting off of energy, even though that seems to be an increasingly reducing value problems.

Beatrice Witzgall 25:23
I think you don't need to wait for 10 years, I think it's happening right now already. And the next step is definitely lighting controls, and the emergence of wireless lighting controls, because now you don't need to pull wires, and it gives you the flexibility to always upgrade and update the lighting control system. And then the next part is the interconnectivity between the different systems. Yeah, you know, what happens if an access building access system talks to lighting? What happens when you can get the data of the lighting use into this platform? What can you do with that type of data or feedback? What can you learn about how people use their space through lighting, or how lighting changes by personalized settings from users, there's a lot more potential that's evolving, and it's happening already right now. For example, TLC, the designlights Consortium, which typically has certified lights, for all energy rebate programs and utilities come programs, they're already looking at a new business model, because the conversion teleties has already almost all happened. And it's not so much the energy argument anymore. You know, like when you had a bike that consumed 100 or 60 watts, and you were able to have that that was a big deal. But now you have about that six watts, and you get 10%, lower, it's not such a big, it doesn't move the needle so much. So yeah, the energy argument is gonna fade more and more away. So you'll have to the lighting industry has to look for a new, fun new value propositions.

Phil Zito 27:09
Okay, so then, let's talk through those value propositions and let's talk through just owners themselves. If you were advising an owner that had led assets, let's go through a couple verticals real quick. Let's go through commercial real estate, because everyone cares about that right now. So commercial real estate, they've got an LED system with ABC manufacturer as the control system. What use cases would you advise them? How would you? How would you facilitate developing is because I'm thinking of our audience here, which is owner operators, designers, contractors, and operators, right? So and I look at owners as different than operators, operators are like the technical folks and owners are the people who like are financially vested in their portfolio of assets. So we think about that, you know, how would you go about approaching? Because I think it's mainly going to be retrofitted, I don't think we're going to see as many new builds going up. So how would you even start that process? Would they go and look for a lighting consultant? Would they pull their users? Would they walk the building and just see what kind of sucks and be like, you know, this doesn't feel great. I mean, where do they start?

Beatrice Witzgall 28:35
First of all, all of the above? It depends on the owner the size of the building, you know, that they have a facility manager Do they have, if they are developers, they typically have already several very smart integrators in their network, or they go to the designers, lighting designers architect, so it varies and it's, as I said, this is a little bit of an undefined area. But in terms of the opportunity for lighting is, you know, you do have the different you know, you have now the conversion to LED, basically almost done. Now you have the big debate that's been going on for a few years, the role of lighting or colors or spectrum in lighting, that goes from color, you know, to actually color tuning, to circadian lighting, to you know, increase the employee wellbeing and performance on that aspect, but then you also from a technical point of view, the light fixtures always seen also as a great opportunity to incur in corporate sensors. The sensors are the eyes of a building, you know, because they can give you data, they can give you information about what's going on real time with your building and how it performs. But sensors need to be powered up, you know, Yes, batteries, performance is increasing. But at this point, they still need power. And so there has been a push for several years to integrate the sensors of the light fixture. So this is kind of right now where the dance happens, how much data do you want to know about your building? And then what do you want to do with this data? For example, with LIDAR tool integrated and has a great center network, they have now the software that they can track assets, you know, in an office space and getting people you know, safely back to work. It's about that they have contact with anybody who had COVID you know, how many contacts that they have a day? How can we manage that, you know, the flow within an office space, so that they don't cross paths with potential, you know, exposures. And that information comes typically through sensors, and they are often integrated with a light fixture, because of the combination of power supply. In, you know, in a hospital, you also have these kind of sensors included in in a light fixture and there it's often used for asset tracking, you know, where is my life saving machine located in which flow? How do I find that the quickest I can get it to my patient? That's another use case in a different router code. So it kind of depends a little bit.

Phil Zito 31:24
Okay, so I'm going to come right back to asset tracking in those use cases and sensor density in lighting. But you you said color, color, temperature circadian rhythm. There's a lot of people on this listening to this who probably don't know what that means. What is because color to me. And color temperature. I mean, I know what you're saying. But what does that mean to the average layman.

Beatrice Witzgall 31:50
Okay, so let's start with color. Everybody knows that we have now we have one. This is a Philips Hue LED bulb, you know, you can buy it for a couple bucks and in your home very simple. And it can do through an app control the colors from white to red to green, because we all don't want to have green unless it's some Paddy's days, where we get very quickly tired. But you know, having an if you look at high end restaurants and hospitality spaces, they use amber in the evening to make your female cozy. So you dim the lights down, you shift the color temperature more to an ember, which is a warm, warm, white, and you feel cozier, it actually has real reasons behind it. For example, we associate an amber the fire fire is warmed, is coziness. So there's psychological effects going on. But there is actually also if you go one step further, beyond the color aspect, a spectral aspect going on, UI has five receptors for basically for color, but the fifth one sees a different spectrum. And that is actually responsible for your melatonin production of blockage. So that in which kind of manipulates you know how alert you are. And this is where the circadian lighting comes in. So you have no light fixtures that go beyond the color tuning or color changing. So color changing is red, green, blue, all the spectrum. Color tuning is called White to warm white, you know, 6000 Kelvin, to 2300 2300 Kelvin, is the very warm cozy hamelech at a fireplace, I want to cozy up and put my feet up and relax, you know, versus like, if it's you know, 5000 Kelvin, you're like, oh god hospital setting. I'm like, No, like cafeteria setting. Yeah. Then the old fluorescent lighting color temperature, you're like, alert. And then you have the spectrum lighting, which is you know, addressing that spectrum, which is now measured in basically nanometers. It's a little bit more complicated, but it actually helps you to stay alert because it influences your circadian rhythm in your body. And that's another kind of push where it goes into the well health and well being part well it goes into the health and well being part of your body by using that spectro lighting fixtures that address that fifth receptor that influences your biology.

Phil Zito 34:27
Well, that's interesting because I have this thing right here. And I can go and change my lights from 3000 to 8000 Kelvin and you can kind of see it like going from warm to like crazy bright. Yeah. And I keep it at 3000 most of the time just because it gives that warm glow in it looks better on video. But there is a noticeable when I start to get tired in the afternoon. I can turn it up to 1000 I'm like oh yeah. So that's Cool, yeah, um, and there

Beatrice Witzgall 35:01
is a lot of research going on in that space. It's really fascinating. For example, you probably have seen also on the iPhones, they have the ambient mode where you can, you know, as you said, switch it. But then you also have a lot of people now agreeing with like, Don't look at your screen on your computer screen or your phone screen before you go to bed. Because the blue lighting, which is in that kind of range, you know, actually blocks the melatonin and so you stay longer alert, but then you have sleep problems. So a lot of people don't realize that if they're looking, you know, in front of a screen that's close on their phone for two hours before they go to sleep, they might have sleep problems. Yeah, there is a very clear relationship between the lighting that affects your body, you know, that's why you have a lot of depression in the Northern Hemisphere. And they have, you know, Norwegian, like no daylight for months kind of situation. So that there is definitely a biological connections. Unfortunately, we don't have any studies yet to quantify it. That's why the ROI calculation is still hard to do. Because if you could say, we have a light bulb that improves your employee performance by 10%. Nobody would ask how expensive that light bulb? If that light bulb is five, or $10, they would be willing to pay hundreds of dollars for that light bulb? Yeah,

Phil Zito 36:29
yeah, that's very true. Because I can just think of myself, like how it affects my mood, because I live in Wisconsin. And it's, like, really depressing here in the winter. It just is it's like, no sun, and clouds and just no, interesting. Okay, so circling back to the sensor density and the IO in actual fixtures, let's kind of just take a dive through that because I know you have a fascination with IoT sensors, like what are some of the most interesting use cases, outside of the ones we talked to kinda with asset tracking and COVID tracking that you've kind of run into recently that you're like, ooh, man, that's kind of interesting.

Beatrice Witzgall 37:16
Um, that's a good question, I think. Um, but I'm still dealing, unfortunately, day to day is the most still how to integrate the systems with one one of each other. It's not so much the use case, it's really the technical implant implementation, where the lighting industry, you know, with the debate, should lighting control systems have an API, which most they don't, they like the level silo, and they like the proprietary car, you know, protocol so they can keep the footprint. Meanwhile, you have packnet, you know, pushing more for interoperability, and also trying to bridge more to lighting. You know, I think we're still scratching the surface in the user user cases, because the technical hurdle is still very high to overcome. And we need a lot more innovative thinking to make the connections between lightning and other use cases. But I think the biggest trends I see is employee comfort, which goes back to employee retention or employee experience and lighting. Another interesting one is Wayfinding. You know, telling somebody who's new in the building, okay, we are lighting up the way to your conference room or your office. I think I personally, also really like the idea of personalized lighting, you know, everybody has their own preferences, how can you make How can you transfer your own preferred settings from one location to the other and really make lighting more responsive to the people and activity within a space. I think that's really fascinating topic, which goes hand in hand with the sensors and personalized preferences. So there are a few different use cases. And then also getting feedback on the data. Because you can understand your building a lot better when you know what the lighting is going on. You know, if you know nobody is on that floor, you can turn the lighting off. But if the floors are busy, you know, you can get the feedback from lighting or the preferences back to a central place and start to understand how it's being used or how buildings are occupying and using the building which gives feedback on what can be done better, and how the building can be optimized. So there's still a lot of areas to be more explored.

Phil Zito 39:51
Interesting. So space utilization, occupant satisfaction through individualized control. Wayfinding is an interesting one, it's one I hear folks complain about quite a bit just how difficult it is to meander around a campus and try to find places. So yeah, I've heard everything from digital signage, to blinking lights, to, you know, kind of strobes that geo fence, they kind of use the Bluetooth beaconing to find out where you're at. So that's a that's an interesting take on that. All right. So Oh, my goodness, I just closed my questions. There they are, they just came back. Alright, so let's talk about the last thing I really want to cover here is the question I always ask someone, what questions are you surprised? I didn't ask you? Or do you feel I should have asked you for the education of the audience?

Beatrice Witzgall 40:50
I think that's an interesting question. I nothing jumps into my mind, I think, because it depends on the audience what their, you know, interest level are, I think, you know, getting an understanding for lighting as an experience is really important. I struggle a lot with engineers like this. In the world, I see two groups of people, actually, they are people who understand lighting, and other people who for lighting is just a utility. So I think that's a really big differentiation, especially if you have owners in the audience as well as engineers, because either people get lighting, and they understand that it affects your, the atmosphere, the mood, how people feel in a space, their comfort level, I think that's when we can really become creative to work with lighting, but then the other people, and that's a big trend in the industry, who are seeing lighting, just as a utility, you know, it's just the race to the bottom line, can I get a cheaper fixture? Can I get a cheaper fixture? And they don't really look at the quality of the lighting and the benefits of the lighting? Yeah.

Phil Zito 42:03
Oh, go ahead. I'm sorry.

Beatrice Witzgall 42:05
You know, I was literally on a on a client site a couple of days ago, and we did a basement renovation and the discussion was switched out light and, and I came in and I didn't approve some of the fixtures they installed and they had, like, you know, a bare fluorescent strip, for, you know, an entertainment space. That doesn't quite work, you know, like, I was like this. And, you know, we couldn't even look into that whole cozy area because the lighthouse or Clary, and, you know, the electrician just put the cheapest fixture there. You know, on there, like dropped on, let's move on. You know, so it's like, understanding what lighting can do. And it's not just the race, you know, just about the hardware cheapest fixture, but what can can give you in terms of the experience and lighting quality. I think that that's a big discrepancy that I see two camps in the industry happening.

Phil Zito 43:03
Yeah, I'm glad you hit on that. Because I remember about a decade ago, I went to an at&t building. When their corporate buildings, I forget where it was, was it in Indiana or somewhere? I don't remember. But I went there. And I was like, This building is so depressing, was like orange walls, t eight fixtures, no, like ambient lighting. Because I'm a short dude. I'm like, five, eight. So the cubicles were like up to here. So I could like, peek over them. And there it was just a depressing building. I felt the energy literally drained out of me. As soon as I entered it, I was like, I'm so glad I don't work in this building. That would have just been demoralizing. So I'm glad you hit on the effect of lighting on the occupant, because I think that a lot of people don't really consider that. And they're going to be in for a rude awakening when people start to look at buildings, in direct contrast to their houses, where they've been spending the past, you know, almost a year now working. So be interesting.

Unknown Speaker 44:17

Phil Zito 44:18
Well, that brings us to the end of our interview. It was super awesome, super fun. I feel like I learned a lot about lighting perspectives. I think the audience is going to learn a lot about lighting perspectives and have an idea on just the state of the market, how to approach things. Hopefully it opens up some eyes and considerations, Allah. I'll give them information to get in touch with you around their questions related to lighting strategy, ladder lighting design, we'll put a link in the podcast for them. With that being said, I do want to thank you for being here so much. I appreciate it. And I hope you had a good time.

Beatrice Witzgall 44:57
Thank you very much and thank you for having me and I I hope everybody enjoyed it.

Phil Zito 45:02
Yeah, it was good. Okay, folks, I hope you enjoyed that interview. It was really informative to me, kind of the state of the lighting industry, why we're not seeing a lot of innovation coming out? How do we tackle the concern that once you've retrofitted to LEDs what really is the value and ROI on lighting? How does the lighting market look for current state as well as future state? And just how does all of this function from someone who's been working in that space for so long? As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to go to podcast at smart buildings academy.com forward slash 245. Feel free to ask your questions there. Thanks a ton and I hope you have a amazing day. Take care

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Phil Zito

Written by Phil Zito

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