Earlier in April, CEDIA presented a webinar entitled “The Changing Face of the Dimmer Rack,” hosted by our Director of Curriculum and Standards (EMEA), Simon Buddle. (Buddle is pictured at right; photo by Cameo Photography.)
The quick description of the webinar:
Is the dimmer rack still the same? What new lighting technologies are there, and what will be their impact on the rack? Lighting used to be straightforward, but advances in technology and communications have added a myriad of possibilities. This webinar takes a look at new and existing lighting technology and protocols to prepare you for a successful installation.
Following the webinar, Mr. Buddle was kind enough to answer a number of questions from the attendees. We’ve curated a number of highlights below the embedded video.
How large is the installed base of products for these systems? Do these systems include the full capabilities that are required for commercial properties, such as occupancy controls, daylight controls, receptacle controls, AV Integration, and so on?
Simon Buddle: LVDC and Bluetooth lighting are still very much in their infancy. They will grow and I'm sure others will come along too. Integration will happen as customers begin to demand new technology.
Do you think we'll end up using 24/48v POE networkable lighting in the near future?
Buddle: It is one technology that is gaining traction commercially. The key to the success of any new lighting technology will be the aesthetics of the fittings.
So is it now a good idea to start recommending interior designers to start looking into PoE light fixtures?
Buddle: No. Interior design is about aesthetics and that will always drive choices of the technology behind the lamps.
How long do you think it might be until the “brain” of these fixtures moves back to centralized panels? I’ve come across several health studies claiming wireless signals may disrupt the circadian rhythm.
Buddle: I honestly don’t think that’s going to happen. Wireless technology is here to stay in whatever guise.
Having used KNX all these years, what would happen to interoperability with Bluetooth-based control when the brain is in the fixture? Would the client have to marry to one lighting brand?
Buddle: I think it'll be either, for example, one could buy Philips Hue throughout. On the other hands, solutions such as Bluetooth and LVDC will simply be integrated into other control platforms just as we do now with DMX, DALI, and the like.
Are there issues with Bluetooth sitting on 2.4GHz?
Buddle: There can be, certainly. That’s the same frequency as your microwave! Unfortunately, as distasteful as it is, 2.45GHz was used to cook food long before the 2.4GHz, 5GHz (and other harmonics of microwaves), were assigned to the ISM bands. The reason they are unlicensed bands is because it was thought they wouldn't be useful in a world where everyone cooks at 2.45GHz.
Do you have any advice for traditional integrators selling lighting controls like Lutron to strategically move into the design and supply of selling lighting hardware (lamps and drivers) -- and the challenges that might bring when compromising with the lighting designer or electrical contractor?
Buddle: It's a delicate balance and it's really about treading gently into that space to find opportunity. Your technical capabilities to show your competence and understanding of the complete end-to-end solution is an important factor.
Is low voltage lighting a good solution for remote residences or it is complicated? Does it need a fair amount of maintenance?
It is just another technology (and opportunity) that can be used in the home. We are a service industry, therefore I would see anything that requires maintenance as a positive.