Wireless Sensors and Controls for Lighting Are Now Prevalent and Convenient
Also catching on are the use of tools for controlling lighting wirelessly. The pros of wireless lighting sensors for daylight harvesting, along with occupancy and vacancy sensors, significantly outweigh the cons. There are lower upfront material costs for wireless and lower upfront labor costs. “If a client is going to reconfigure their space in the future, the cost to reconfigure is significantly reduced. Since it is wireless, you do not need to open up the walls or ceiling to run new wire or do electrical work,” says Kay. “It is just a matter of moving a device from one location to another.”
The cons to wireless have been very minimal and center around the battery life of the wireless devices. “People naturally are suspect to the word ‘battery,’” says Kay. “But batteries are so well developed and tested at this point. They are guaranteed for a minimum of 10 years and they are built to last longer.”
Wireless sensors and controls for lighting are becoming the standard even though it is a recently introduced phenomenon. As a reaction to the performance of the technology, the whole industry is moving towards systems and away from products and components.
“The move to systems may be apparent but the residual effects are not so apparent,” says Kay. “This paradigm shift has created different needs in the marketplace. A project has to be spec’ed in the construction process with a commercial contractor as a system rather than as parts and pieces. It is a disservice to the client to buy a system the old way — as parts and pieces.” For Kay, the key element is to procure the system from a turnkey source to protect the client’s performance or the value of the system.
Lighting Integrated in an A/V System
Brightline’s Katz also observed that more and more, clients want one integrated solution with one manufacturer for it. “Brightline is aggressive about integration. We make sure to share software so anybody’s A/V processor can control our products,” she says. “Whether it is AMX, Crestron, Extron, Savant Systems or even a smart app with a front-end custom GUI, for Brightline fixtures, you can move the motors and automated carriages within the fixtures through any of those processors.”
Clients are pursuing all that control and automation have to offer as far as lighting is concerned. “They ask if you can provide an individual IP address for a lighting ballast and then they get very excited when you can,” says Katz. “In the last decade or so of saying ‘Yes, we can give an individual IP address!’ maybe four clients have done it. I noticed at InfoComm this year more people than ever asked me if we can do it.”