Feature Story

Cisco's Digital Ceiling will brighten the room, and your mood

by Stephanie Chan

digital ceiling gif

Filter your workspace with personalized lighting, temperature, and color.

The Cisco Digital Ceiling is the Instagram filter for your life—just imagine an office where you can adjust the light intensity, light color, and room temperature to your personal preference.

The Digital Ceiling framework and set of solutions converge different building systems and controls (lighting, HVAC, security, and more) over IP. The new advanced sensors can also provide insight into previously opaque building operations.

By bringing together building systems, building owners and operators can increase building efficiency and sustainability and more easily manage their buildings. The Digital Ceiling also allows building owners to deliver highly personalized user experiences and improves productivity, safety, and comfort of employees. 

“Increasingly, companies are looking to provide the perfect environment for each employee and customer,” says Nikita Jain, Solutions Marketing Manager for Cisco’s Digital Ceiling.“Increasingly, companies are looking to provide the perfect environment for each employee and customer,” says Nikita Jain, Solutions Marketing Manager for Cisco’s Digital Ceiling. "The Digital Ceiling enables the new experience-centric workplace. That could be enabling users to choose bright white or warm yellow light in their workplace. Or, providing lighting that more closely mimics natural light. On a broader scale, it could be linking sensors in light fixtures to HVAC systems via the network so as more people enter a conference room, it is alerted to pipe in more fresh air to optimize comfort.”

To bring the Digital Ceiling framework to life, Cisco is collaborating with domain experts including LED lighting innovators Philips, Molex, and Cree, building automation leaders such as Johnson Controls, and enablers and independent software vendors including Microchip, Siemon, Superior Essex, relayr, and more. 

The goal of a productive and energy efficient workspace is aided by utilizing existing daylight. Network-powered LED lighting in the Digital Ceiling can sense when daylight naturally illuminates a room, and will therefore adjust to dim the artificial light. This ultimately lowers costs and makes the most of resources.

In addition, natural light can have a profound impact on our mood, productivity, healing and learning. Emberlight states that our bodies respond to natural lighting by calming our moods and emotions. Brighter light also stimulates productivity and concentration. In contrast, fluorescence often aggravates uneasiness and can cause headaches. More workspaces are opting for LEDs which can most closely mimic natural light and which are color-tunable allowing users to select cool or warmer light tones to optimize a calming yet energetic light source.

“Cisco’s Digital Ceiling will change the way we think about lighting and the space we work in,” says Tony Shakib, Vice President of Cisco’s Internet of Things vertical business unit. “For the first time, we can intelligently control our environment through IoT and the convergence of the network with building technologies, including lighting, heating, cooling, security, motion detection, and a multitude of other sensors. The results are significant from cost and energy savings to occupant comfort.”

Toronto, Canada’s WaterPark Place III has a building that has been called “The Smartest Building in North America”. Cisco’s four floors there have been designed using the Digital Ceiling framework. The smart workplace also converges five networks—HVAC, metering, lighting, CCTV, and access—into one network. It is equipped with Power over Ethernet lighting and sensors that provide feature-level visibility and analytics. WaterPark Place III has been able to reduce energy costs by 50%.

Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) also installed PoE-powered LED light fixtures, and has dramatically cut costs. CIPCO has seen 85% lower energy costs by replacing their fluorescent lights with LEDs and sensors.

In Cisco’s own implementation of a Digital Ceiling, the results have been fantastic:

  1. 78% of occupants report a better sense of well-being and comfort
  2. Potential $2M in annual productivity gains from better lighting and temperature controls
  3. About a 10-15% operational savings with energy efficiency
  4. $150,000 annual savings in conference room energy alone

With potential productivity gains from better lighting, temperature controls and other personalization abilities, the Digital Ceiling is an innovation to invest in for employees' overall workplace wellness.