When we look at the range of projects that exist in the market today and when we then break down their requirements, we often find that one solution doesn’t fit all and that will come as no surprise to any of you.

So, a certain amount of evaluation must take place to identify the key features of that space and consider what is the most appropriate control methodology. If you look at the compliance route then, really you don’t have to do a great deal to meet the requirements of the building regulations and a base level of control is adequate but doesn’t really provide a sound footing for a connected building.

Why is this important, well I guess the answer is that we are living and working in a smart world where technology is an integral part of how we manage our spaces and our lifestyles. Our clients have an expectation of inter connectivity and aspire to provide a smart space for their clients and staff. I fully support this but there is often a slight impasse with technology, and this has to do with budgets.

If controls and life safety systems such as emergency lighting were ring fenced within a project then, the adoption of smart infrastructures would progress at a far quicker pace. Unfortunately Lighting and its control is seen as a commodity and priced according to models that may not fully reflect the developments in technology.

That is no fault of the cost consultants they can only use the data they have to work out the costs for a particular project, but when this impacts on controls this can have a serious knock on affect to the overall performance of that building through life, not to mention the clients expectation.

We all have to work within budgets and its a great tool for keeping costs in check and ensuring projects are delivered on time and at the cost agreed.

Historically Lighting controls were often dropped from a project to save money but obviously with the desire to deliver smart buildings this is difficult to do but more importantly could be very costly  if the decision was made to use the wrong technology.

Cheaper isn’t better, you are getting less for your money for a reason and those reasons can manifest themselves in a number of ways, performance and security being just two of them.

The zencontrol approach, which we feel reflects the industry approach is to use scalability to determine the level of control you have within your Commercial, Retail, Industrial or Wellbeing space. Scalability can be tailored to meet budget constraints whilst at the same time not limiting the functionality of the Lighting control and at the same time allowing the Building owner or Occupier the opportunity to add value at a later date.

The zencontrol matrix is a methodology of re-imagining spaces based on the requirements of everyone involved in the value change and socialises an approach that is inclusive and empowers all within the construction process.

Rapid change is happening within the world of controls and evaluating the technological choices is a complex task that we feel we can simplify with our approach to controls and this should be something that all controls companies should offer.

We partner at all stages of the development process to transition the vision to the reality and can advise and manage the final project after handover to maintain and optimise our controls solutions.

Actively supporting an open approach to controls, we at zencontrol can change the way you specify controls and can give you the freedom to choose the hardware to suit your particular project. Standards such as IEC 62386 Parts 102, 103 &1 04 DALI-2 has given the OEM’s the ability to source products that are finally compliant, and third party tested. Part 103 ensures switches and sensors work together and the soon to be ratified wireless interface Part 104 is a game changer for wireless controls. At zencontrol we are happy to share our part 104 wireless stack with partner companies as we feel that only through interoperability will lighting control come of age.

The tools we have in place enable us to build a control strategy for today with an eye to the future and with the zencontrol Cloud managing this process then upgrading the system and issuing security patches is no different to how your operating system upgrades on your phone. For buildings of a sensitive nature then obviously we would host our software within the client’s network with a view to manage upgrades locally.

The zencontrol decision tree is a framework for the future combining technology with a practical approach to controls.

Author: Stewart Langdown FSLL

E mail: stewart.langdown@zencontrol.co.uk

Mobile: +44(0)7774 821093