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How Bluetooth® NLC Standardizes Control for Smart Lighting

Telink Staff

February 8, 2024


Discover how Bluetooth® NLC is paving a new path for lighting control and making it easier to illuminate your world with seamless connectivity.


Light switches have gone from our walls to our smartphones with the advent of smart home technology, but now, with Bluetooth® Networked Lighting Control (NLC), lighting up your world has become easier than ever. Developed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), a worldwide collaborative initiative composed of nearly 40,000 member companies, Bluetooth NLC is the first full-stack standard that introduces multi-vendor interoperability to smart lighting environments.


With Bluetooth NLC, there’s no more brand segmentation — you can control all your lighting devices from one place for connectivity that’s seamless and centralized. This protocol not only expands control access to users who prefer a mix of manufacturers to brighten their homes and offices but makes it simpler for product developers to craft devices that meet today’s standards while pushing the boundaries of innovation. Let’s explore why this matters.


Benefits and Breakthroughs of Bluetooth® NLC


Bluetooth NLC reimagines how we control and manage lighting in homes, offices, commercial spaces, and even public areas, transforming traditional lighting systems into smart, connected ecosystems. Architecturally, this protocol standardizes the radio through device layers for all-around compatibility.


But besides interoperability and centralized networked lighting control, Bluetooth NLC offers an array of additional benefits, including:


  • Significant Energy Savings: Bluetooth NLC allows for precise control over individual lights or groups of lights, enabling users to adjust brightness and scheduling to reduce energy consumption.
  • Better Occupant Experience: Users can tailor smart light bulb levels to their preferences, improving comfort and productivity in various settings.
  • Improved Building Operations: With Bluetooth NLC, users can obtain accurate data on energy usage and equipment health, enabling proactive maintenance and cost-effective operations.


As technology has advances, consumers and businesses have increasingly embraced the benefits of smart lighting solutions. In fact, it’s projected that Bluetooth NLC lighting shipments will surpass wired devices by 2027.


However, the growth of wireless lighting control has highlighted the need for standardization in the industry. With various manufacturers developing proprietary systems, interoperability and compatibility issues have arisen. Standardization is the key to ensuring that different devices and systems can communicate with each other across brand lines.


From Segmentation to Standardization


Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) laid the foundation for wireless lighting control by introducing the concept of energy-efficient communication. Defining how devices transmit data over radio frequencies, Bluetooth LE meant that smart home lighting systems could operate with minimal power consumption. This marked the first step towards transforming traditional lighting systems into intelligent, collaborative networks.


While Bluetooth LE paved the way for wireless lighting control, it had certain limitations, particularly in terms of communication topologies. Devices primarily communicated in a one-to-one or one-to-many fashion, restricting their ability to create intricate networks — until Bluetooth® Mesh came along.


Bluetooth Mesh added a communication layer to the Bluetooth stack that supported many-to-many wireless topologies, allowing devices to relay messages and extend communication throughout an entire network. It was revolutionary technology, enabling the creation of complex and comprehensive networked lighting control systems. But brand segmentation left many devices incompatible with each other, leading to unresolved connectivity issues.


Now, with Bluetooth NLC, silos created by proprietary solutions are no longer a barrier to interoperability, allowing users to mix and match devices and components from various manufacturers. It’s a monumental shift for the lighting industry, facilitating a more open and fluid ecosystem, much to the advantage of consumers, businesses, and developers alike.


New Offerings, Greater Potential


So, what does a world with Bluetooth NLC look like? Here’s a closer look at how the full-stack protocol revolutionizes smart lighting and networked lighting control for users and developers.




  • Multi-Vendor Interoperability: Consumers no longer have to ensure that their devices are all from the same manufacturer since their lighting control system is not limited by a single brand's product range.
  • Ease of Deployment: Standardized systems are easier to install and configure, reducing the complexity for end-users.
  • Greater Scalability: As needs change, consumers can easily expand their networked lighting control system with devices from various manufacturers, ensuring a future-proof investment.




  • Lower Cost, Faster Innovation: By adhering to a standardized framework, developers can reduce development costs and accelerate the introduction of new products and features.
  • Increased Market Opportunity: Standardization opens up new markets and opportunities for developers as their products become compatible with a wider range of existing and future devices.
  • Additional Revenue Models: Developers can explore innovative revenue models, such as offering lighting-as-a-service, maintenance contracts, and software add-ons to expand consumer reach.


Brighten the Path to IoT’s Future with Telink


As a member of Bluetooth SIG, Telink played a pivotal role in the development of Bluetooth NLC, and we’re thrilled to keep working on products for the future. In the meantime, Telink offers state-of-the-art SoCs and SDKs that enable manufacturers to create innovative and interoperable lighting control products with Bluetooth NLC based on a fully certified platform. With our commitment to delivering high-quality, reliable, and foresighted solutions, we help manufacturers bring lighting products to market quickly and efficiently while working towards technology that will bring forth the next generation of IoT products.


Feeling left in the dark? Visit our wiki to learn more about our development tools, or ask us a question through our Technical Forum or by contacting us directly today.