Three Common Misconceptions About Going Wireless

While sold on the benefits of converting to Casambi, the most common concerns we hear from new customers as they stand on the precipice of their wireless lighting investment are…

As human beings, we love control and choice. In fact, we need to have a certain level of control and choice in our lives. The accelerating demand for smart products is perhaps connected to the discovery of this psychological value behind the IoT. As consumers, we’re investing in wireless smart health and fitness devices, remote home security, and automated heating systems. The data harnessed through the IoT can reveal inefficiencies ripe for exploitation while going wireless is all about collapsing distance and using technology to enable people to live richer lives with minimal environmental impact. Whatever can go wireless, will go wireless. Not least – lighting.

Even though the benefits are multifarious, there still exists a certain amount of reluctance to operate over radio waves. At Casambi, we appreciate these concerns. We’ve spent decades cultivating mastery of wireless communications and we offer technical expertise, and guidance to minimize the barriers to going cable-free. 

Today, people want to personalize their lighting experience and to do so with ease and within an instant. Casambi’s simple wireless lighting control system opens up a whole new world of possibilities in this respect. Our uncomplicated yet feature-rich application can seamlessly control all luminaires in any given lighting project. Users of our wireless system can free themselves from the physical constraints of wiring and the proprietary legacy systems of yesterday. And the ever-expanding features of Casambi’s control application can match the strictest of briefs and the wildest of imaginations.  

While sold on these benefits, the most common concerns we hear from new customers as they stand on the precipice of their wireless lighting investment are related to security, interference, and robustness. Here’s what we have to say to help dispel any misplaced anxiety:

1. Wireless lighting networks can be hacked.

Firstly, it is possible to control access rights to your network and to define who interacts with the lights, if at all. An assigned ‘administrator’ can make all network changes and give access rights to new users. A ‘manager’ can make changes to all lighting control functionalities but cannot get access to passwords or decide who can access the network. A ‘user’ can only use the network but not make any changes.

Secondly, full encryption of communications and security for authorization means all data that is transmitted in a Casambi network is 100% protected and safe. 

A connected device is needed for the setup (for communication between the app and the nodes). Once the network is set up, it does not require any outside contact, and the node-to-node communication is encrypted at each step – so even being able to “listen” to the communication in the network wouldn’t give you much.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is used for communication between a mobile phone or the control device and the Casambi platform. BLE is the most popular, well-tested, and reliable low power radio technology found in all modern smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches today. It’s a wireless personal area network, which means that it can function without being connected to the internet. No additional network connectivity is needed (LAN or WAN) during normal operation. 

However, if you wanted to connect a Casambi network with a third-party Building Management System, a gateway can aggregate communication from the light controllers and backhaul data to a central management platform. In this instance, communication between a mobile device/gateway and the Cloud is fully encrypted by multiple industry standards and proprietary encryption mechanisms. We have a network that we connect to the cloud through a gateway set up in the app. Once this gateway is set up, the network is connected to Casambi Cloud Service i.e. our servers. From our servers, there is an API connection to third-party services.

Thirdly, security is at the core of our platform strategy. Sharing the same hardware and software environment, all Casambi nodes run on the latest version of the available firmware while over-the-air programming allows us to push new security, software features, and additional functionality out to the entire fleet of installed devices at once. 

2. There is a risk of interference created by other devices operating on the same frequency band. 

All communication that happens inside a Casambi mesh network uses Casambi’s proprietary BLE mesh technology, which does not use standard BLE radio channels. This means that there is no interference with standard BLE devices. These non-BLE radio channels can also be manually configured to avoid interference from traffic on bands other than BLE 2.4 GHz.

Casambi has been used in highly sensitive environments such as in hospitals and airport control towers, where reliability and security of communication are critical. For example, Casambi has been taken into use by Ulster Hospital in Belfast, Ireland. 10,000+ Casambi nodes were installed across 31,000m2 of floor space – spanning patient rooms, nurse stations, offices, and exterior areas. 

Every node in a Casambi Mesh network is endowed with the same intelligence, which means that all nodes carry a backup of the entire system. This eliminates the need to spam a network with traffic, in turn, speeding up the communication and preventing lag.  

Fun facts: Every two years, hundreds of Casambi Ecosystem partners will exhibit their Casambi-enabled products at the Light&Building trade show – resulting in 300-400 Casambi networks being laid out across two halls. We have never experienced any kind of interference here. And Casambi’s own training center in Finland has multiple networks that enable over 400 devices to be online at any one time. The training room is about 60m2 in size. This setup results in an extremely high Bluetooth signal density without issues.

3. Wireless technology hasn’t reached a level of maturity to guarantee its robustness. Am I one of the first to test it?

The ICT revolution actually kicked off back in the early 2000s, but it’s being succeeded by an even bigger IoT uprising today – as disruption hits the mainstream. In general, the technology has reached a level of maturity such that wireless embedded computing is now everywhere. 

Bluetooth Low Energy was conceived and developed at the Nokia Research Center where the founders of Casambi worked. That’s why Casambi has had the unique advantage of realizing the full potential of BLE early on. Casambi started the development of the solution before there were any BLE devices on the market.

But in this field, the job is never done. Modern and intelligent software-based systems are incredibly complex and in continual development to address evolving needs. At Casambi, we make regular shifts in our know-how to stay ahead of the curve, to update and debug the system in the field.

We go beyond the conventional to integrate the hardest problems that need to be solved. That’s the cornerstone of the Casambi way – reliability. Casambi’s system software is developed with modern design principles and comes from one source accountable for the whole. Us.

Since its establishment in 2011, Casambi has grown into a global organization with over 75,000 projects and 3 million Casambi-enabled products sold worldwide. We’re currently growing at an incredible rate of 5000 projects per month, with project references spanning every application from small high-end residential to 10,000+ node hospitals. A thriving community of happy customers bears testimony to our success and dedication.

If you’re interested in converting to Casambi, get in touch with our Sales team.