Electrical Contracting News (ECN) November 2016 - Page 58

SPECIAL FEATURE HOME AUTOMATION & INTELLIGENT BUILDINGS THE LIGHT COMBINATION New technologies provide opportunities to make lighting smarter within ‘intelligent’ buildings, but these need to be combined with a more user focused approach. Paul Coggins of Zumtobel Group explains. A spirations to make buildings more ‘intelligent’ are largely dependent on the application of what might be referred to as ‘smart’ technologies. Such technologies are developing rapidly in many areas that relate to the control and management of buildings and lighting is clearly one of the principal areas for attention. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that lighting control is undergoing a transformation, in terms of both the way control is achieved and the capability of doing more than simply controlling the lighting. As a result, electrical contractors have an opportunity to provide better, more tailored solutions that add value for end clients in a number of ways. In terms of the way lighting control is achieved there is now a strong trend towards using ‘plug and play’ connectivity to integrate the lighting control network with other networks and control the lighting through a PC. However, this doesn’t mean that lighting control can become the domain of general networking companies; considerable lighting expertise is still required to achieve acceptable results. For instance, a company that has specialised in designing and installing Ethernet networks will probably not have the experience or expertise to design a lighting system. This requires the ability to calculate lighting levels, design a scheme that suits each space and how it is used – and ensure compliance with appropriate legislation. The key advantage is that these developments give lighting specialists the tools to provide a better solution for the end user – ensuring the right lighting in the right place at the right time. Achieving this also requires a change in focus from ‘how to control’ to ‘why to control’. For the building operator a further benefit is that the ability to reconfigure their own lighting avoids the need to pay for an expensive controls specialist every time minor changes to the lighting are required. Simplifying infrastructure Growing integration A good example of the closer integration between lighting control and other networks is the increasing u