At GreenBuild 2010, Jim Frey of OSRAM SYLVANIA talks about the future of lighting, highlighting the EMerge DC Building Power Standard, LED general lighting, OLEDs and wireless controls.
Radio-frequency (RF) wireless communication is a significant emerging lighting control technology. In a typical hardwired lighting control system, control signals are sent using communication wires. In a wireless RF system, control devices communicate through the air using radio waves, eliminating the need for control wiring. The resulting advantages enable advanced lighting control with greater installation flexibility and lower labor installation cost, ideal for hard-to-wire applications non-accessible ceilings, hard ceilings, asbestos abasement issues, and brick and mortar existing buildings.
Wireless RF lighting control first became popularized in residential applications, with typical applications including home theater, kitchens and other common areas, master bedrooms and exterior and security lighting. In recent years, however, wireless RF lighting control has emerged as a viable alternative to hardwired controls in commercial building applications. What benefits does RF wireless communication provide?
The first benefit is flexibility. Wireless control devices can be placed where they are needed without limitation imposed by wiring, including areas that are difficult to wire. More flexibility is provided in unique applications. Electrical planning may be shortened. After installation, devices can be moved and the system expanded with relative ease.
The second benefit is labor and material cost savings, which may result in net installation savings after the typically higher product cost is figured. Wireless control eliminates the need for dedicated control wiring and associated switch legs, traveler wires and other raw materials. The system installs more quickly, producing labor savings. With no damage to walls or ceilings, and little to no disruption to business operations, wireless control lends itself well to existing building applications demanding the benefits of advanced lighting control.
The advantages of wireless control make these solutions particularly suitable for commercial building applications where the cost of running control wires is too costly or simply not possible, such as outdoor lighting, parking garages, warehouses and retrofits.