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Lutron’s Ethan Biery on Controlling LED Lighting

Lighting industry journalist Craig DiLouie recently interviewed Ethan Biery, Design and Development Leader, Lutron Electronics for an article about controlling LEDs for an article in tED Magazine. The interview follows.

DiLouie: How are LED sources different from traditional sources in terms of their controllability and their behavior?

Biery: As a light source, LEDs are easy to dim by simply regulating the amount of current the driver delivers to the LED modules. Like other light sources, dimming LEDs saves energy, but unlike other light sources LEDs have a very rapid response to any changes in current. The physics of fluorescent and incandescent lamps result in some “filtering” in the light output, which may mask any instability in the input. This filtering does not take place with LEDs, so instability in the power output by the driver is immediately translated to instability in the light output from the LED module, which is perceived as flicker. Proper selection of compatible drivers and controls (and control protocols) is critical to minimize the chance of flicker.

DiLouie: What opportunities (and problems) occur as a result of how controllable LED sources are dimmed, and how they behave while controlled?

Biery: An LED source is a system that consists of the control, driver, and LED module. The intrinsic potential for instability in LED module light output amplifies the importance of using quality controls and drivers, and differentiates products designed to deliver high-performance dimming. This is also what makes compatibility between drivers, lamps and controls such a big deal. Providing performance that is “good enough” for incandescent or fluorescent loads can be disastrous for a project where LED lighting is used and the occupant expects the same quality light output.

DiLouie: What are the top three technology trends impacting control of LED sources?

Biery: Digital control: Large-scale installations of LEDs, especially in commercial spaces, often demonstrate the weakness of existing analog control technologies, such as phase control and 0-10V. These technologies are not only prone to compatibility problems and interference, but they don’t deliver the features and benefits that many building managers are expecting from modern lighting designs.

Wireless technology: Wireless sensors and wireless LED lighting controls (whether fixtures or bulbs) are now widely available. As the cost of LED technology decreases, instances of successful, large-scale wireless control installations increase. Well-designed and reliable wireless fixture and control solutions provide simple design and installation, and a comfortable, efficient environment.

Color tuning: Color tuning is the ability to change the color temperature of white light sources from “warm” (reddish) to “cool” (bluish). This is a feature that many manufacturers are beginning to incorporate into their products. Incandescent bulbs inherently deliver a more orange color when dimmed low, and building occupants have become accustomed to this color shift. In addition, recent studies support claims that different color temperatures can be more beneficial to space occupants depending on the task or time of day. Control systems, luminaires, and user interfaces will become more sophisticated so they can deliver color tuning to give users manual or automatic control over color temperature.

DiLouie: LED luminaires are now frequently installed in new construction, where energy codes mandate a broad palette of lighting controls. How will this impact development of more sophisticated LED products and controls?

Biery: Advanced LED technology and more stringent energy codes are not strictly related, but as technologies improve, the regulatory bodies that develop energy and building codes can create stronger energy mandates. As LEDs become more common in both residential and commercial installations, users will continue to expect better performance. It is also important to keep in mind that lighting is a building system that is critical to the safety of the occupants. Reliable, easy-to-use control systems must be top-of-mind in any new product development, and this balance becomes more challenging to achieve as products and systems become more complex. LEDs are also installed based on their long product life, and building managers will expect manufacturers to be capable of supporting their products for the duration of the product’s life.

DiLouie: What should specifiers be doing to go beyond code and take advantage of the controllability of LEDs?

Biery: Today’s dynamic environments demand flexibility – users expect more from office spaces, classrooms, and other locations where they live, work, and play. While code compliance may necessitate only the most basic control schemes, progressive specifiers will provide their clients with digital control solutions that accommodate greater flexibility and configurability. Legacy analog and 0-10V control schemes will not meet the requirements of today’s sophisticated customer.

DiLouie: LED lamps and to an extent luminaires are being retrofitted into existing buildings. Controls, however, are often left out of conventional lighting retrofits. Has LED penetration into the existing construction market created new opportunities for lighting controls?

Biery: Customers are much more aware of the capabilities and conveniences that controls can provide. Connected home control and “smart controls”, including wireless controls that communicate via smart phones and other smart devices, are now part of the widely promoted Internet of Things. Furthermore, the cost of “controllable” LED lighting continues to be less of a factor, and wireless control makes installation easier than ever. These factors drive adoption of and demand for smart lighting control in both new and existing homes and businesses, and forward thinking manufacturers are working to give consumers what they want and need.

DiLouie: A number of luminaire manufacturers now offer integrated control packages. Is this having an appreciable effect on the lighting controls industry? What will we see in the industry, long term?

Biery: Fixture manufacturers who actively promote integrated control solutions are still a relatively new phenomenon. Traditionally, many have resisted branching out beyond their established fixtures. However, as control systems become more sophisticated, customers are realizing that compatible, well-designed systems can deliver better performance than individually-selected components. It is inevitable that forward-looking fixture manufacturers will offer more integrated solutions. When fixture and control manufacturers actively collaborate to offer the best mix of drivers, fixtures, and controls, the customer benefits, and those manufacturers enhance their market position. As manufacturers, distributors, and contractors, our goal is to add value and provide the best solution to each customer, for each project.

DiLouie: LED lighting presents such a small load that the economic argument for lighting controls is more likely to be challenged. Assuming that LED is the source of the future, what energy-saving control strategies are considered essential and therefore likely to endure?

Biery: From an energy perspective, it is true that LED sources use less energy. But it is also true that, as with incandescent sources, LEDs save proportionally more energy as lights are dimmed. Energy is a very real 21st century concern, and any energy savings that can be achieved are desirable. LED control solutions will continue to deliver the basic, enduring, and essential lighting control strategies such as occupancy sensing, daylight sensing, and timeclock control.

Beyond energy savings, lighting control of any source significantly improves comfort for space occupants. We are learning that the benefits of a comfortable, productive space often outweigh savings from energy reduction strategies alone. The costs associated with a typical office employee on a per-square-foot basis are orders of magnitude higher than the costs associated with lighting. Improving that employee’s comfort and productivity even a little bit, by providing them the right amount of light for the task at hand, will continue to gain attention from architects, lighting designers, and facility managers.

DiLouie: With LEDs, lighting controls can go far beyond energy savings. Lighting controls can respond to individual occupants and completely transform a workspace. What are these capabilities, and how would you characterize demand for them?

Biery: An enormous number of “what if” possibilities and new technologies are being developed. Some, such as the ability for occupancy sensors to count the number of occupants in a space, are not specifically related to LED technology, but are creating buzz in the market as a result of better data-processing capability and the availability of more sophisticated, lower-cost sensors. Other innovations, such as the ability to transmit information through high-frequency light modulation (called VLC, or Visible Light Communication), take advantage of some of the unique characteristics of LED lighting. These sorts of applications are still at the cutting edge of product development, and it will likely be several more years before widespread adoption is realized. However, technologies such as “tunable white,” where the control system has the ability to adjust both the intensity and color temperature of the light, are already generating market demand. Expect to see more fixtures and control systems that offer this capability in the next few years.

DiLouie: What should distributors be doing right now to maximize the value they offer to their customers when lighting controls are included in a project?

Biery: Distributors must realize that LED lighting is not as simple as selling a bunch of separate parts. Good LED designs consist of the control, driver, and fixture. Successful distributors must be able to offer their customers solutions, not just products. That means being knowledgeable about what controls work best for a given LED product (for example, what specific wallbox controls are recommended for use with a particular screw-in LED lamp), and becoming more educated about the products they’re selling. LED loads and controls are more sophisticated than their fluorescent or incandescent predecessors, and there is widespread differentiation in quality and performance across different products. The wrong recommendation or product combination can lead to end-user disappointment, expensive callbacks, or the loss of repeat business.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about controlling LED lighting, what would it be?

Biery: The specification of the driver used in a given LED product is perhaps the most underappreciated, yes most critical aspect of any LED system. The design of a driver (whether in the base of a screw-in lamp or as a separate component in a fixture) determines the best possible dimming performance: how low the lights will go, whether they’ll be flicker free, and what control protocol is necessary. When paired with the proper control, the driver can meet its design expectations. However, even the best dimmer cannot overcome the performance shortcomings of a poorly designed driver. Our experience shows that improper driver selection, or last-minute driver substitutions, often result in significant problems in the field due to performance or compatibility issues.

DiLouie: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?

Biery: What customers really want are products that are innovative, simple to specify and use, reliable, and backed with world-class customer service. Manufacturers that can meet these needs will be the manufacturers of choice.

NEMA Publishes NEMA SSL 7A-2015 Phase-Cut Dimming for Solid State Lighting—Basic Compatibility

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) published NEMA SSL 7A-2015 Phase-Cut Dimming for Solid State Lighting—Basic Compatibility. This standard provides compatibility requirements when a forward phase-cut dimmer is combined with one or more dimmable light-emitting diode (LED) light engines (LLEs). An LLE, for the purposes of this document, comprises one or more LED modules, LED control gear (integral or remote), and a connection to the mains circuit.

Originally developed in 2013 by the NEMA Lighting Controls Committee, this revision eliminates the category differentiation of Type 1 and Type 2 dimmers. It also clarifies test condition language.

NEMA SSL 7A-2015 may be purchased in hard copy or downloaded for $60 on the NEMA website here.

Universal Lighting Technologies Joins AD

Universal Lighting Technologies, Inc. has joined the Affiliated Distributors (AD) wholesale buying group as an approved supplier for the group’s U.S. electrical distributors, effective January 1, 2016. Universal has been a member of AD Canada since 2013.

AD is the largest contractor and industrial products wholesale buying group in North America. The group’s membership includes 130 independently owned electrical distributors, representing more than 1,100 individual locations in the United States. According to the group, AD’s U.S. electrical division generates more than $13 billion in electrical supply sales annually.

According to AD, its members’ year-to-date sales were up three percent at the end of the third quarter in 2015.

AD members will receive access to the entire Universal product line, including LED Retrofit Kits, LED Linear T8 Tubes, “LED Ready” Ballasts, LED Wall Packs, LED Vapor Tight, LED Chains, and LED Replacement Drivers, as well as Universal’s broad selection of ballasts and lamps.

Universal Awards Agents of the Year at NEMRA Conference

Universal Lighting Technologies recently recognized its top agencies for 2015 at the National Electrical Manufacturers Representative Association (NEMRA) conference. Agencies acknowledged included Hawkins Sales, Yusen Associates, Bay Electrical Solutions, Empire Electric, United Electrical Sales, and Electri-Products Group.

Four Top Agency awards and four Top Agent Representative awards were presented by Damiani. Joe Miezin accepted a Top Performance award and Top Agent award for Hawkins Sales; Willis Milner and Joe Hample accepted a Top Performance award for United Electrical Sales. Jamie Walker accepted an EVERLINE Agency of the Year award on behalf of Yusen, while Nick Hart of Yusen accepted a Top Agent award. Darren Gerrietts with Bay Electrical Solutions accepted the EVERLINE Agency award for Bay Electrical Solutions. Stephanie Mullaney of Empire Electric accepted a Top Agent award; Matt Wagoner with Electri-Products Group accepted a Marketing Support award.

Lighting Control Rebates Going Strong

About two-thirds (64%) of the United States is covered by prescriptive lighting rebates, according to BriteSwitch, a rebate fulfillment company. These rebates can significantly reduce the installed cost of new lighting in existing buildings and improve payback by 20-25%, which would reduce a two-year payback to about 1.5 years.

Rebates became popular in the 1990s as utilities began engaging in least-cost resource planning. As reducing demand costs a fraction of what it costs to build new generating capacity on a per-kWh basis, utilities act more efficiently by incentivizing customers to adopt energy-efficient building technologies. Various types of incentives are available, but the simplest and most popular is the prescriptive lighting rebate. The rebate program identifies a list of technologies and products that are found to provide suitable performance while saving energy. After installation, the customer receives a rebate check as a reward.

Rebate trends

Despite the proliferation of the LED source, traditional lighting product rebates remain available. The most popular rebates are for high-pressure sodium, ceramic metal halide, pulse-start metal halide, high-bay T8 and T5HO and induction lighting upgrades. After the phase-out of a majority of linear T12 lamps in 2012, the baseline has switched from T12 to T8. Funding has moderated, but rebates are available that can cover a significant portion of the installed cost, resulting in a satisfying payback for installing these solutions.

Most popular traditional lighting rebates as of March 29, 2016. Source: BriteSwitch North American Rebate and Incentive Database.

Traditional lighting rebates as of March 29, 2016. Source: BriteSwitch North American Rebate and Incentive Database.

In 2016, many rebate programs have begun to focus more heavily on LED products. The most popular rebates cover downlights, track lighting, high-bays, garage luminaires, linear luminaires, outdoor pole luminaires and linear replacement lamps. Linear replacement lamps previously covered by custom rebates are now being increasingly covered by prescriptive rebates. Average rebates are continuing to decline as LED product costs fall. In 2015, the average LED product rebate declined 20-30%, according to BriteSwitch. The company expects a more modest 5% decrease in 2016.

Most popular LED lighting rebates as of March 29, 2016. Source: BriteSwitch North American Rebate and Incentive Database.

Most popular LED lighting rebates as of March 29, 2016. Source: BriteSwitch North American Rebate and Incentive Database.

Lighting controls continue to be included in the large majority of prescriptive rebate programs. In contrast with other technologies, average rebate dollars have remained somewhat stable, declining just 10% over the past five years. Average rebates cover a significant portion of the installed cost. The most popular rebates cover remote, luminaire-mounted and wallbox occupancy sensors; light sensors; and daylight dimming systems. Many programs are removing their requirement that controls be hardwired, allowing wireless controls.

Most popular lighting control rebates as of March 29, 2016. Source: BriteSwitch North American Rebate and Incentive Database.

Most popular lighting control rebates as of March 29, 2016. Source: BriteSwitch North American Rebate and Incentive Database.

We are at the beginning of a new phase on prescriptive rebates for lighting controls, which is inclusion of networked lighting controls. In addition to determining energy savings, rebate programs are currently working out whether to treat them as individual components or as complete systems. The result is we may see networked lighting controls begin to enter a significant number of programs in 2017.

An example is the Advanced Lighting Controls pilot incentive program offered by Consumers Energy in Michigan. Recognizing energy savings of 65-95%, Consumers Energy provides a bonus incentive of $0.18/kWh saved (not to exceed $50,000) and another $0.08/kWh through the Consumers Energy Commercial & Industrial Custom program, subject to that program’s caps and limits. According to Consumers Energy, these incentives can reduce normally a five-year payback to three years. To qualify, at a minimum, the solution must provide centralized programming and control with a remote interface; data collection, storage and reporting; step dimming capability; implementation of at least three control strategies such as scheduling, occupancy sensing and daylight harvesting; and granular zoning (maximum 16 luminaires per zone).

A major development in networked lighting controls being included in prescriptive rebate programs is the Commercial Advanced Lighting Controls (CALC) program being developed by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP). The program will involve training, demonstration projects and other market transformation activities designed to address barriers to adoption of networked lighting controls. In tandem, the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), which maintains the Qualified Lighting Products List (QPL), is working on a networked lighting control system specification, which will allow this product type to be included in the QPL. This is a major development, as the QPL determines what products qualify in many prescriptive rebate programs. Previously, most utility companies considered networked lighting controls as part of their custom programs. The draft specification requires the control solution to be networked; feature reconfigurable, granular and layered zoning; be able to enact occupancy sensing, daylight harvesting and institutional task tuning; feature continuous dimming; be secure; and provide a graphical interface for operators.

Getting the rebate

There is substantial funding available to reduce the cost of upgrading existing lighting systems, but they can take a lot of work.

Get to know the program. It is beneficial to get to know the program early—what incentives are available, what products qualify, approval deadlines and how to get the rebate. This means determining the process and how long each step takes. According to BriteSwitch, application and pre-approval takes an average 31 days. After installation, it can take up to 120 days or longer to receive the rebate check. The entire process can take five or six months.

Programs often require pre-approvals. Pre-approval is required in about 80% of rebate programs. Starting installation before approval is granted can disqualify the project for a rebate.

Identify products that qualify. The large majority of rebate programs recognize only qualifying products for rebates. Often, this involves the product demonstrating compliance with performance criteria published by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), DesignLights Consortium and ENERGY STAR. CEE maintains a list of reduced-wattage and high-performance lamps and ballasts. ENERGY STAR and the DesignLights Consortium (via its Qualified Products List) maintain a list of LED products. For example, ENERGY STAR listing is required for LED screwbase lamps in about 94% of rebates. It’s recommended to verify these listings on the listing organization’s website, not just the manufacturer catalog sheet. For lighting controls, the program may require a minimum controlled number of luminaires or wattage to qualify.

Stay on top of the program. Rebates are becoming more competitive as a growing number of programs run out of funding during the year. Historically, BriteSwitch has seen 11% of programs run out of money during the year, which climbed to 24% in 2015. Stay on top of current funding to ensure a rebate isn’t promised that can’t be delivered.

Stay engaged with your application. Be sure to comply with all requirements and deadlines. Avoid mistakes on required paperwork such as an incorrect address (a common mistake). As rebate programs accept thousands of applications, mistakes can occur at the utility’s end too, so some follow-through can be beneficial. Rebates take time and work.

Become a trade ally. Many rebate programs maintain a network of qualified service providers, or trade allies. It can be beneficial to join these networks to gain valuable recognition and access to program resources such as training.

For a list of rebates and other energy incentives available across the United States, visit www.dsireusa.org or contact a manufacturer.

Irvine Company’s The Square Wins 2015 IES Lighting Control Innovation Award Of Merit

The Lighting Control Innovation Award was created in 2011 as part of the Illuminating Engineering Society’s Illumination Awards program, which recognizes professionalism, ingenuity and originality in lighting design. LCA is proud to sponsor the Lighting Control Innovation Award, which recognizes projects that exemplify the effective use of lighting controls in nonresidential applications.

This month, we will explore the role that lighting controls play in an outdoor LED retrofit. Lighting and control design by Ken Perez, Sr, President; Philip Dodge, Project Manager; and Kenny Perez, Jr., Project Manager of Visual Concepts Lighting, Inc. Photography by Chrysalis Effect. Lighting and controls by Cree and LSI.

The parking field at The Square, owned by the Irvine Company, was originally illuminated with 400W metal halide luminaires in order to achieve a 1.0 footcandle minimum per city code. While levels were achieved, there was poor uniformity.

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Cree Edge Square 262W LED luminaires replaced the original fixtures while maintaining the same 1.0 footcandle minimum. Though the site now appears overlighted, this is only because of the nearly perfect uniformity ratio. A wireless dimming control system by LSI Virticus was utilized to reduce the light levels on demand. The photos demonstrate this ability, providing additional significant energy savings. At 100% of LED output, the energy saved was 44%.

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By employing wireless dimming controls, the entire site was reduced by 20%. While energy was reduced by 53W/luminaire, no recognizable reduction in illumination took place. The site is still evenly illuminated, though saving additional energy. (Client maintained this level.)

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The site, as shown, represents a 50% reduction in energy and light output. At this level, with enhanced uniformity, the site still appears brighter than the original 400W luminaires.

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The below photo shows the site dimmed down 80% to provide afterhours security lighting. Previously, security lighting was achieved by turning off 50% of the site lights, leaving the site very dark in most areas. By dimming down the entire field, the designers achieved a more uniformly lighted site at reduced levels and thus a more securely lighted site. Police departments are satisfied, as they are able to detect suspicious activity more clearly utilizing this approach. An 80% reduction in energy dropped these luminaires to 53W.

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Dimming controls resulted in greater energy savings–89.1KWH annually, equating to $14,256/year.

Acuity Brands’ Mick Wilcox Talks Internet of Things

Below is an interview LCA’s education director, Craig DiLouie, conducted with Mick Wilcox, Vice President of Strategic Marketing, Acuity Brands on the topic of lighting and and the Internet of Things.

DiLouie: How do you see lighting fitting into the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?

Wilcox: Lighting, once relegated to a service, is rising to an advanced building communication infrastructure used for far more than what it was originally intended. As the industrial lighting business moves decidedly towards digital LED-based solutions, there is a strong case building for the lighting system to serve as a major component of an IIoT scheme. LED lighting systems address key IIOT concerns on practically every front:

• By using an existing lighting array, IoT functionality can be added by a simple driver upgrade.
• Overhead lighting systems are ubiquitous in a facility layout, and organized spatially in a fixed manner that is optimal for both wired and wireless networking. The fixed location is also ideal for applications such as indoor positioning and heat mapping.
• The controllers that run the systems are networked – either via wired or wireless networks.
• The system is powered and always-on, capable of powering IoT devices – so no batteries or extra wiring are required.
• Each fixture can be easily outfitted with smart sensors that capture specific data and feed it to a backend computing platform.

DiLouie: With intelligent lighting control, one could argue the Internet of Lighting is already here. How do you see lighting control fitting into the IIoT?

Wilcox: I completely agree that with M2M communications and lighting controls, industrial IoT is already being implemented, tested and proving its worth every day. So I see lighting control fitting quite well into IIoT.

Today, the popular industrial sensor applications are passive-infrared occupancy and photo sensors that create a more efficient work environment by turning lights off when space is unoccupied. Networked controllers are software-driven, enabling remote monitoring, configuration, rezoning, task tuning, systems alerts and energy reporting. The command center for the lighting and sensor operation is in the controller – so adding new intelligent capabilities typically only requires a device upgrade.

Further, lighting controls play a key role in IIoT planning in two ways:

• Communications – when the lighting control is networked, that same network infrastructure can be used as the data backhaul for the IIoT, eliminating the need to install a separate data network.
• Modern lighting controls devices have upgradeable firmware to allow the field software to be upgraded for the applications that we have not yet considered.

DiLouie: What capabilities and benefits will lighting-IIoT integration present that go beyond the capabilities and benefits of today’s advanced lighting control systems?

Wilcox: There are interesting near-term developments that further integrate the LED lighting system into building automation platforms. In the very near future, sensors in the lighting system will interact with HVAC, access, smoke and fire control and other building management systems controlled and managed from a single system. These solutions are being developed with open architectures to streamline customization and interoperability with legacy and new systems.

New IoT platforms will include LED-based indoor positioning. This system uses Visual Light Communications (VLC) and other embedded beacon technologies to track people, equipment and inventory as it moves through the facility. Lighting-based indoor positioning also enables GPS-style “blue dot” mapping of a facility to guide workers directly to a location, system or item.

The icing on the cake is return on investment. LED lighting is unlike any other IT or OT technology in that it is a future-proofed platform that pays for itself. LEDs are up to 70 percent more energy efficient than traditional lighting, so there is immediate, significant energy cost reduction. LED systems are long lasting and require minimal maintenance, so both capital and operational costs are contained. And, as I mentioned previously, upgrading feature and functionality is streamlined through component swaps, as opposed to costly system overhauls.

DiLouie: Not all buildings will require extensive data collection beyond lighting, HVAC and occupancy. Will the IIoT be scalable? Who will own these different levels in terms of collecting and presenting information?

Wilcox: IIoT solutions and deployments will be scalable because customers will require flexibility and a rational evolution path. IIoT, like lighting, will never be a one-size-fits all proposition. The best way to look at ownership of the solution is to understand the operational and business outcomes you want to drive; determine what IIoT applications are required to achieve those outcomes, then find the technology solution that will best support the application at the lowest overall cost of ownership. We think LED lighting offers considerable benefits both as a component and a hub of an IIoT topology.

DiLouie: What role will lighting control manufacturers, who already offer management and analysis software, play in IIoT integration? Will they work with or compete with tech giants interested in the IIoT market?

Wilcox: I can’t speak for other manufacturers, but Acuity Brands will play a significant role. As I mentioned previously, the networked controller serves as the command center for the lighting and sensor operation in the solution –so any IIoT scheme that integrates the lighting system will need to interact intimately with the controller.

Like most evolving technology ecosystems, we see the IIoT solutions marketplace driven by “coopetition.” We will both continue to work with other tech solutions providers, leveraging our core competencies in digital lighting systems; and compete with them when we believe we have a superior solution to offer. The good news is that we think there is ample opportunity for lots of players to collaborate. It will definitely be a dynamic ecosystem.

DiLouie: What do electrical contractors need to know today about the IIoT and how it might affect their business?

Wilcox: First, they need to understand that the technology evolution of the IIoT is moving faster than manufacturing stakeholders can evaluate solutions and integrate them into their technology plans. As such, there is an opportunity to become a valued advisor to the customer, and to grow the consultative side of the business. They should champion the rational approach to designing, implementing and executing IIoT schemes. It would also be wise to work with partners that simplify the implementation of the solution vs. make it more complex.

DiLouie: What are lighting and control manufacturers doing right now to prepare for and ideally play a part in the IIoT?

Wilcox: Acuity Brands is embracing the vision of a connected, intelligent digital ecosystem for factories and warehouses, where data sharing is seamless between machines and other physical systems. Today, we are actively selling and supporting intelligent lighting systems with key sensor capabilities. We are also moving aggressively to integrate facility automation controls technologies into the lighting schemes. We’ve built an impressive IoT technology stack that leverages a number of tech partners and can be engineered to serve multiple vertical sectors. We expect to be offering industrial applications based on this framework in the near future. We’re staying true to the idea of a rational approach.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about the IIoT, what would it be?

Wilcox: Don’t be overly romanced by IIoT possibilities – take a strategic, rational approach that addresses immediate, near and long term opportunities.

DiLouie: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?

Wilcox: It’s an exciting time to be in the industrial lighting space. We’re excited to see where we can take digital lighting as it becomes a key component of the IIoT.

Wattstopper DLM Platform Expands Capabilities

Legrand, North America recently announced new product enhancements to its award-winning Wattstopper Digital Lighting Management (DLM) platform with a new user interface and now programmable DLM Groups programming capability. Easy to deploy, customize, and build into the DLM architecture, these out-of-the-box enhancements provide greater system simplicity, flexibility, and scalability than ever before.

The 2.1 version of Wattstopper Segment Manager adds an intuitive and robust user interface that allows for easy viewing, organizing, and scheduling of lighting control systems and related energy usage. The interface is designed to be an effective management tool to help building owners, facility managers, and electrical engineers optimize building performance and reduce energy costs with valuable information on each space and visual history on the site’s operation.

New to the lighting controls industry is the tile-based user interface that allows users to easily group controls by room, area, floor, and building into their desired view. Also unique is Segment Manager’s ability to automatically populate tiles into the dashboard when integrated into the DLM system. There is no special programming required for set up. Additional features and benefits include:

• Real-time Analytics: Receive important current usage information per tile such as total kilowatts, watts per square foot, occupancy state, and alerts.
• Integrated Demand Response Functionality: Initiate demand response with a single button push. This capability is especially relevant in California for meeting Title 24 requirements.
• Improved Scheduling: View schedules for each day, week, or month. Events show both the start and stop time via colored event bars.
• Tablet and Smart Phone Friendly: Access Segment Manager 2.1 Graphical User Interface (GUI) from any PC, tablet, or smartphone with a web browser.

The Segment Manager can be used as a stand-alone solution, or extended into an even more powerful system with the Wattstopper LM Supervisor package. This option adds the capability to easily manage multiple Segment Manager installations across a site and enables long-term historical trending for benchmarking measurement and verification.

In addition, the expanded Wattstopper Groups programming capability marks a significant update to the DLM architecture. Control specialists now have new ways to combine loads throughout a facility for control by any selection of DLM devices. Enabling complete flexibility for zone-based, room-based, or load-based control, Groups allow loads in any networked areas to operate together on a schedule, sensor, or switch for greater convenience.

Click here to learn more (PDF).

SimplySNAP by Synapse Wireless

simplysnapSynapse Wireless offers SimplySNAP and the DIM10 family of lighting controls.

SimplySNAP is an on-site lighting solution that monitors and controls LEDs and other lights from a mobile device without requiring an Internet connection. The flexible solution is ideal for smaller installations and enables storage and display of power data, alarms and critical events for maintenance and troubleshooting.

The DIM10 series of lighting controls offer expanded functionality and make it faster and easier to install and commission systems. They provide both indoor and outdoor functionality, can integrate with either the SimplySNAP on-site solution or cloud-based solution, and are flexible enough for retrofit or new installations.

Synapse recently received numerous awards for their connected lighting capabilities including two Connected World Awards and one M2M IoT Excellence Award.

Click here to learn more.

LCA TV: LIGHTIFY by OSRAM SYLVANIA

This short video, produced by the Lighting Controls Association at the 2015 LIGHTFAIR event, introduces OSRAM SYLVANIA’s LIGHTIFY smart connected lighting platform.

Click here to learn more.