Zhaga is an open, global, lighting-industry alliance that is working to standardise LED lights and associated components, including LED modules and LED drivers. Their aim is to streamline the LED lighting supply chain and to simplify LED luminaire design and manufacturing.
Ahead of his appearance at IPWEA’s Street Lighting and Smart Controls (SLSC) Conference in Sydney on 2–4 April, Zhaga Secretary Dee Denteneer discussed the consortium’s goals and how it can benefit the industry. intouch: In your own words, what are the main goals of the Zhaga industry consortium?Denteneer:
Broadly, to create interface specifications for components of LED luminaires and have these adopted as market standard. We do so both to reduce arbitrary variation and to provide for separation of concerns between different industries through interoperability. These goals are as old as the classical light bulb, and now ported to the era of LED.
More specifically, to create a smart luminaire interface that supports plug and play interoperability between outdoor luminaires and smart modules for sensing, communication and smart city applications.intouch: What are the greatest impediments to interoperability of smart city devices at the moment?Denteneer:
Interoperability is a broad notion; what the smart city need is plug-and-play interoperability – if the module fits the luminaire, it works. At the same time, the interoperability should not come at the expense of the functionality required for essential use cases. Such an interface is not currently available; however, this is exactly what Zhaga is developing! The next impediment is fragmentation: standards only work if they are well adopted. That is what brings Zhaga to Sydney!intouch: What challenges does this lack of consistency create for purchasers?Denteneer:
Talking about the current lack of interoperability, this very much limits the purchasers in their smart city strategy. Smart modules have to be co-developed along with the luminaires. Firstly, this limits the number of suppliers. Secondly, and maybe even more importantly, this limits the number of smart city applications offered through such smart modules.intouch: How do manufacturers and suppliers benefit from ensuring their smart luminaires and control devices are interchangeable and interoperable?Denteneer
: Let me be clear here; a standard can only deliver on its promise if it there is sufficient scale. Therefore, I would say: go for Zhaga!
With this precondition, I see two enormous advantages. Firstly, mutual reinforcement. An installed base of smart luminaires will stimulate a supply of innovative smart city modules, which in turn add value to the luminaires. Secondly, operational separation. The lighting and the smart module industries must both be able to do what they are good at in relative isolation. If all projects require intensive collaboration, it is not going to work.intouch: In the current smart luminaire and control device market, how challenging is it for buyers to find interchangeable/interoperable goods?Denteneer:
This was impossible, also due to the power architecture of the luminaires. With the LED luminaires, technically, interoperability is very well feasible. The buyers should now also make it clear that they require and demand interoperability.intouch: What are you most looking forward about the SLSC Conference?Denteneer:
Speaking selfishly: to talk about Zhaga. I am convinced about the market promise of our smart luminaire interface and proud to convey this message. Being more modest: to learn. In Zhaga, we have traditionally been talking to luminaire manufacturers. This proposition is a promise to a different audience comprising end users, installers, lighting designers, road authorities, to name a few. So at the SLSC Conference, I look forward to learn in more detail about their needs and requirements, so that Zhaga can even better serve them.
Don’t miss Dee Denteneer, Zhaga Consortium Secretary, at the IPWEA Street Lighting and Smart Controls Conference, being held 2–4 April at the ICC, Sydney.