Lighting Control With Wireless Flexibility? It's Possible
Digested From “Customize Lighting Control With Wireless Flexibility”
Buildings (08/01/14) Penny, Janelle
Running wires can be expensive, invasive, and labor-intensive. It's no wonder that wireless technology continues to gain popularity for such applications as lighting controls, where it offers a simpler strategy for intelligent lighting management. Owners and operators can automate dimming and shutoff without having to cut holes in their buildings' walls to install new sensors and controllers. Devices that form a mesh network -- a self-healing web that allows all components to communicate with each other and relay messages -- add a new layer of ease to installation and operation. Wireless technology is especially well-suited for existing buildings where running additional wiring is not an option.
Depending on the product, the mesh network likely includes a combination of: software that helps management staff review data and control lighting remotely; at least one area controller to deliver local control for each floor or building; centralized software that acts as the liaison between the operator and the area controllers and provides a user interface; devices such as switches, sensors, and fixtures; and any wired devices that have been adapted to support wireless connectivity. Such installations allow every device with a power supply to communicate to any other device with a power supply. For instance, when an occupancy sensor detects motion in a laundry room or a fitness facility, it fires off a split-second command to the area controller to turn on one particular bank of overhead lighting. The area controller commands the nearest affected light fixtures to turn on. They then pass on the message as needed to other light fixtures in the zone -- a task that is completed in the blink of an eye, just like it would be in a wired control system.
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