Next Generation Luminaires Design Competition

2016 Indoor Competition Connected Lighting Systems

Connected lighting systems, which integrate luminaires, sensor, and software to monitor and control lighting operation, received special emphasis in the NGL Indoor competition this year. The evaluation process consisted of three parts: specification, preliminary evaluation, and in-person judging.


The technical requirements for connected lighting systems included:

  • Occupancy/vacancy detection, with variable time delay
  • Local on/off and intermediate light-level control
  • Daylight compensation
  • Dimming to 10% relative light output, or below
  • Individually addressable luminaires and devices
  • Zoning

Entrants could submit wired, wireless, or hybrid systems, which could have luminaire-integrated controls or separate components.


Summary specifications for all systems were reviewed for compliance with competition requirements. The entrants provided complete systems, with three to six luminaires, and all required control components. Documentation for installation and commissioning was also required. The systems were all installed in the ceiling of the same conference room.

Judges scored each entry according to the required criteria. Presence-detection operation was timed, and daylight response was simulated using a bank of lights. In addition, ease of installation and configuration were evaluated. Prices for the complete systems were reviewed to assess value for the appropriate application.

Future Competitions

The judges also noted numerous challenges for design and widespread deployment of connected lighting systems:

  • How can a designer assess how system capabilities match to a project's needs?
    Currently, designers rely on prior experience with control systems. Consistent specifications and/or reporting of system capabilities and features could be helpful.
  • How do you know that a connected lighting system is correctly configured?
    Is professional commissioning necessary for all systems?
  • In practice, if a system fails to meet expectations, is it a problem with the system capability or configuration, or with a defect in a component?

NGL hopes to provide additional insight into these and other issues through future design competitions for connected lighting systems.


Two basic types of connected lighting systems were submitted:

  1. Systems with an external controller and networked luminaires -- see Enlighted's Advanced Lighting Control Solution
  2. Systems with self-contained network controls integrated into the luminaires -- see SpaceWise Technology or Cree SmartCast® Technology

The judges did not find any single entry to be generally superior, but rather noted the benefits and limitations of the three winning entries.

Indoor Competitions

Evaluation Highlights

Past Competitions