Hindsight is a wonderful thing: oh yes we can look back and add commentary to our decisions based on the fact that we have experienced a journey and have arrived at a point in the future.

We can debate and argue what thought process helped us reached a decision, was this the correct decision or should we amend our standpoint and move on in a different direction; learn from history and our own experience. In an ideal world, we would as this is generally how we function, we make a decision and if it’s a good one we stick with it and if it’s a bad one then we should modify our views.

Well, we do as individuals, but sometimes the momentum behind a decision especially within a large organisation can be so great, that just like a Super tanker you cannot change your path so you keep on doing the same things; albeit badly.

This is in part where we find ourselves today with controls, be this lighting or for safety critical services such as emergency lighting. If we have a system that works then why change, it fulfils 70% of what i need so, don’t rock the boat. The fact that some of this technology is more than a decade old should be a concern. Like us, technology gets older and unlike a fine wine, doesn’t necessarily get better.

Micro processor become obsolete and difficult to replace, and software has evolved tremendously in the last 10 years for example

There is a time bomb within some old technology that will fail due to the natural evolution of technology and the phasing out of older tech. If the system is capable of operating at a higher baud rate or able to manage more functions and or data and operations, then great, but in the vast majority of cases, this just doesn’t happen. The system was maxed out years ago.

So fast forward to our time line and we now have many years of experience using controls, be this the humble time switch, Passive Infra red detector, Scene plate and some sophisticated Building wide controls solutions.

With hindsight we can see that certain technologies haven’t worked and that some have been successful so we have rules that hopefully will help shape our future lighting control needs. Its worth highlighting that some specifications haven’t evolved over the past 20 or so years and are still being specified, so it does beg the question have we not learnt anything in the last two decades.

As with all industries and technologies there is always a but, and a little like any thriller or horror story there is always something lurking in the shadows and today its technology itself . It has been given a number of names from Smart Building to the Internet of Things, to the Connected Building etc To state that its lurking in the shadows is a huge understatement its flaunting itself in front of us at every opportunity and virtually every publication talks about the digital revolution.

Now I agree its happening, and I support this move but there are a few fundamentals that we need to address ;first and foremost it has to be how are we going to use the technology, and more importantly how do I avoid going down a one way street where I cannot possibly return. Remember, hindsight has shown that not all tech works and the challenge is deciding what route to take.Its a process that all organisations must undertake to firstly embrace technology and the benefits this brings and to avoid the horrors of getting in wrong.

Lets be brutally honest and state that no one really knows definitely where we will be in 3, 5 & 7 years, we can have a good guess and with the right partner you can shape that process to provide choice along that journey.

I have worked with Consultants, End user and large corporates to help educate and ask fundamental questions on where they want to see their business evolving over the coming years. I help to develop a controls strategy that is based on truly open protocols that are interoperable and use the web as the tool to visualise the smart devices. Using software sophisticated functions can be created and multiple devices connected across different platforms.

Hardware is key but it should not be the limiting factor. In todays smart world using hindsight to review the challenges of the past must point you in the direction of sustainable growth.

Key to this is taking control of your smart lighting strategy and then combine this with your smart building strategy. They should co-exist to develop the same functionality but the former provides the framework to build you’re building of the future.

Take the long term view and if you want some advice on how to develop a Smart Lighting Strategy then talk to me. I will help develop that strategy and work with you to create a partnership of different companies and organisation to deliver your Smart Building.

Stewart Langdown FSLL

stewart.langdown@zencontrol.co.uk

m+44(0)7774 821093