Lighting Is Only As Good As The Controls

| Posted in: Controls, Lighting

Andy Chell

We are used to good quality lighting, that should now be a given. But I have long campaigned that Clients need to understand that the lighting is only as good as the control of that lighting and vice versa is of course true.

It is often said that the best light you can ever get is the one which is switched off. If it is switched off it is not using any noticeable power, so the energy savings are great.

Unfortunately controls are complex beasts and the suppliers want to keep the air of suspicion over their design. There is no standardisation, should we go for 1-10v, DALI, KNX, ZigBee? Why are there so many? Why don’t they all talk to each other? What is the difference?

At Lumilow we’re great fans of keeping it simple. We offer what is the best solution for the Customer, not what is right for us. We don’t champion any one particular technology, apart from the one which is right for the project. I have said for a long time now that Customers want light and not lighting. Our Customers are not really bothered about whether their lights are LED, discharge or fluorescent, they just want enough light to make more stuff, sell more things, educate more kids, etc, etc. The same is true with controls. Make it easy for our Customers, take the problem away from them and just give them what they want in the most efficient, effective and economic way possible – a solution which is right for the Customer and not right for us.

The one technology which we are closely monitoring is ZigBee. It’s been around for many years now and so is very stable. It relies on mesh networking, so devices talk to each other and find a different path if their neighbouring device fails. The protocol is open, so much sharing of technology. We’re currently experimenting with adding ZigBee to our luminaires. So far tests have been very positive, proving to be very stable. All Clients need is a good internet router and a device to programme. In our case, we’re using our smart phones, using a QR code on the side of the luminaires to put into programme mode. It’s early days but we’re pretty excited about this simple solution for complicated controls.

We’re used to Bluetooth technology on our phones, but we are working with our key Suppliers in developing Bluetooth controls. This is cutting edge stuff and great to be involved at the forefront of technology.

Watch this space!