How to choose the best control system for your smart lighting project?

Selecting a control system for smart lighting a building can be difficult because it requires some knowledge of networking. However, it can be simplified into the system architecture and the communications protocol. 

System architecture describes how control signals are transmitted, not the way they are powered. Wired or wireless technology can be used, or even a combination of both (hybrid). 

In the case of a typical wired lighting control system, communication signals are sent over wires to the lighting equipment. On the other hand, in a wireless system, control devices use radio wave signals to communicate without the need for cables. Hybrid solutions use wired technology in areas where it makes sense and wireless as an extension to provide coverage in hard-to-reach areas or where wiring would be too expensive.

When deciding on the right architecture for a particular site, consider factors such as the status of the building (new construction or existing), system reliability, scalability, and budget.

Wireless systems may be less reliable in some situations due to building materials and technology interference, but a wireless mesh network can help with this issue. A wired system may require less hardware, but the cost of wiring can increase as the building gets larger.

When the system architecture has been chosen, the next step is to pick the protocol that allows devices in the network to communicate. This protocol can be either proprietary or open. 

A proprietary protocol is developed by a manufacturer for their own devices only, although gateways to communicate with standard protocols could exist. Open or standard protocols are adopted by the industry and created collaboratively by specialists from diverse organizations.

Some examples of wireless open protocols include ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, and Matter. In the case of wired networks, DALI is the most extended open protocol in smart lighting, which is supported by most lighting manufacturers and compatible with other wired and wireless protocols through gateways.

It’s important to choose a protocol that is widely supported by vendors to ensure compatibility with a range of devices that allows the functionality you need for your smart lighting. Furthermore, you should consider also other kinds of controls such as HVAC systems, blinds, alarms, etc. if they are included in your smart building. KNX is one of the most extended open standards supporting those features, with over 8000 certified products from 500 manufacturers.

In the case of KUMUX circadian lighting, the automatic simulation of sunlight indoors can be included in any type of control system, regardless if it is wired or wireless, proprietary or open standard. An API allows integrating KUMUX data into any smart lighting system to automate the color temperature (warm to cool light) and brightness throughout the day to mimic the healthy natural light characteristics to balance people’s circadian rhythms (internal clock) and improve our overall health and wellness.

Whereas you are a control system integrators that work with open control standards or a control manufacturer with your own proprietary control system, you might take advantage of KUMUX circadian lighting by offering added value to your customers.

Let’s work together for more healthy lighting, whatever the control system you choose.