Cree has introduced SmartCast Power over Ethernet, a new way to power lighting and enable the Internet of Things.
Cree’s SmartCast Technology was introduced back in February of 2014, and was billed as “the first self-programming wireless lighting-control system that reduces energy consumption by more than 70%.”
In 2014 I began replacing all of the lightbulbs in my house with Cree LED bulbs and almost all of them were connected to my SmartThings hub. I standardized on Cree since they were a major commercial LED provider, had a full line of bulbs, Xcel Energy in Minnesota “underwrote” bulb costs so Home Depot near me had truckload sales of bulbs, and it was obvious that buying Cree was a good bet. With SmartThings and my in-home small mesh network, it was easy to connect them all and automate my lighting life.
Home automation is one thing but commercial users have great distance to cover, walls to go through, metal desks in the way, and other obstacles that limit connectivity.
Cree has partnered with tech company Cisco to provide SmartCast Power over Ethernet, which is part of the Cisco Digital Ceiling framework, “which connects disparate systems into a single IP network to create smart, more secure, seamless connected building systems.” Using an existing Ethernet framework rather than separate data and high-voltage power connections, Cree’s SmartCast PoE will be able to work straight out of the box and make use of existing data infrastructure. Cree explains Power over Ethernet:
Power over Ethernet (PoE) uses standard Ethernet cables to carry both power and data, replacing more expensive AC wiring while networking LEDs and a complement of sensors. Instead of wiring the light fixture into the building’s AC electrical system, it’s simply plugged into an Ethernet port and the network.
In one fell swoop, lighting can be installed that is at once powered and connected to the internet, allowing Cree’s suite of technology and software to drive smart lighting.