November 12, 2014
Their dual presentation, entitled “Control Freaks”, gave the audience valuable insights into the world of lighting controls from complementary perspectives. Lighting designer Iain Ruxton has a deep understanding of controls, while lighting engineer and technical guru, Wayne Howell, has a real appreciation of design.
In an engaging presentation, the pair led the audience through the control needs of a typical scenario: a hotel with many and varied spaces, including the bar, meeting rooms, bedrooms and ballroom.
Above all, the speakers were keen to get across the message that controls are not optional: they are an integral part of lighting design and should be considered at the outset of a project, not as an afterthought at the end.
Developing that message, Wayne talked the audience through the basic types of control philosophy – client-server and peer-to-peer – explaining the importance of choosing the right approach for the task in question.
The speakers discussed how, for example, a peer-to-peer network would serve the needs of a self-contained hotel bar well, while a client-server approach could offer powerful functionality for smarter applications – such as calendar-based programming for meeting rooms. They also explained how to break down complex systems into sub-units, with hierarchical levels and types of control.
Real-world examples were never far away: tales of logic-defying hotel bedroom light switches and motion sensors that stalk guests down corridors clearly resonated with the audience. The challenges of controlling zoned lighting spaces, such as a ballroom with multiple partitions, also provided plenty of mental stimulation.
Summing up, Iain made the simple but powerful point that controls represent great value. The bidirectional protocols that are now available enable a host of energy saving measures – sensing daylight levels, detecting faults and providing accurate power monitoring for buildings management and regulation.