Electrical Contracting News (ECN) April 2017 - Page 66

SPECIAL FEATURE

SPECIAL FEATURE

LIGHTING
Commercial property owners want a lighting control solution that provides a seamless , high quality service . It is crucial that it does not fail , and is always operating as it should be . A hybrid connectivity solution , using both wired and wireless connections where appropriate , offers not only improved interoperability but also a significantly more reliable system that delivers a much improved quality of service . Wireless technology has developed rapidly in recent years but it may be some time until a solely wireless control solution is able to provide the same reliability of service that wired solutions can .
Commercial property owners want a lighting control solution that provides a seamless , high quality service .
little additional power to connect to the network , and can run on small coin-cell batteries or energy harvesting devices . BLE networks can only broadcast one message to all devices on the network ; however , the development of BLE mesh networks enables smartphones and tablets to control multiple devices that are connected to the same network , and the devices to communicate with each other . This is particularly important in lighting control applications because it ensures seamless adjustment of light levels when sensors detect presence .
One advantage that BLE mesh networks hold over comparable technologies , such as ZigBee and Wi-Fi networks is that there is no single point of failure . ZigBee and Wi-Fi networks require a router or hub to operate and communicate controls to connected devices , so if the hub fails then the system cannot function properly . In a BLE mesh network there is no hub and if one device fails then the others can continue to operate and communicate while responding to controls . Luminaires with integrated BLE mesh technology are also easier to install , requiring no
‘ A wired DALI network can provide lighting control to larger open plan areas in a commercial building .’.
Mesh networks allow whole lighting systems to be controlled through one device as the commands can be passed automatically throughout the network of devices .
additional wiring , a genuine ‘ plug-andplay ’ solution . This is hugely beneficial to contractors as it enables them to install an intelligent , self-learning lighting system with minimal additional cost or time . Mesh networks also allow whole lighting systems to be controlled through one device as the commands can be passed automatically throughout the network of devices .
BLE mesh networks have much higher bandwidth capacity so can collect more data on property occupancy and relay this intelligence back to a cloud or application based portal for analysis , which can generate real value for business owners . However , the control that tells the luminaires how to operate is yet to be standardised , so lighting control solutions that communicate via a Bluetooth infrastructure are currently using proprietary commands and are unable to communicate with each other to provide truly seamless lighting control .
Wired DALI networks
This makes the case for a hybrid connectivity solution for lighting control even stronger . A wired DALI network , which can broadcast commands to any connected luminaires , can provide lighting control to larger open plan areas in a commercial building , and the wireless connectivity technology can then be used in dedicated areas such as meeting rooms and hallways . A wired DALI network can translate proprietary commands , such as those used on a BLE mesh network , to enable the two connectivity technologies to work seamlessly alongside each other , so that a BLE mesh network can operate as part of a hybrid lighting control solution . This is the ideal solution for contractors installing lighting control in commercial applications , because it provides the lighting intelligence that many building owners expect now , as well as the quality of service that a wired DALI network can provide .
Security
Security is always a key concern when introducing wireless technology into a commercial environment . Reputable manufacturers and developers of BLE mesh networks build in strong security protocols and encryption to ensure that data transferred over Bluetooth remains secure , and the limited operating range means that BLE mesh networks are only accessible when a person is physically located very near them . Any person attempting to interfere with a BLE mesh network would also have to be inside the building , where physical security measures should stop any unwanted intruders . Wired lighting control systems have the benefit of additional physical security , because access to a wired network is required before any harm can be done . This again means that the unauthorised user would have to be inside the building and physically connected to the network , and most commercial properties would have other security measures to prevent this .
An example of how wireless and wired lighting control solutions can work together can be seen as a person approaches a meeting room . The luminaires in the corridor outside know , through BLE mesh network connectivity , that the person is approaching the meeting room so can command the luminaire closest to the door , which is also connected to the mesh network , to turn on . Once the person is inside the room that Bluetooth connected luminaire can , through a command that can be translated by the wired DALI network in the room , alert the other luminaires of the person ’ s presence . Those luminaires can then turn on and adjust to a pre-defined scene setting or other mode if required .
Future of lighting
We believe that the future of lighting connectivity may lie in hybrid connectivity solutions , IP controlled , wired or on Bluetooth Low Energy mesh network wireless technology . However , the wireless technology currently available on the market cannot support a solely wireless lighting system in complex and professional applications . To generate value in commercial applications and provide the very best service to its customers , the lighting industry will adopt a hybrid connectivity solution of wired and wireless technology . This can combine the advanced , autonomous , data gathering lighting intelligence through wireless technology with a reliable , standardised wired lighting control system like DALI to provide a seamless , robust , secure and high quality lighting control solution .
66 | April 2017