Lighting controls need to 'win users back over'

Lighting controls need to win back the users who've had bad experiences with the technology, Andy Davies of Harvard Engineering told the Smart Lighting Controls Europe conference today.

‘Controls are simple, but there is a legacy of experience with wired systems which isn't always positive,’ Davies said. ‘That's something that needs to be addressed.’

Some systems are too complicated to use, too inflexible and too costly to maintain, he said. In particular, the absence of intuitive user interfaces has been ‘a major barrier’ to the adoption of controls.

Inability to monitor energy use is also an obstacle, Davies said. ‘Most people we talk to don’t have a good idea of what they’re using,’ he told delegates. ‘They may know they have an issue, but they don’t necessarily know where that issue is.’

Wireless lighting control systems tend to be much easier to retrofit and don't have to be more expensive than wired systems, said Davies, because the premium paid for wireless-enabled luminaires is offset by savings on wiring and central hardware.

Davies described the enormous potential for retrofitting controls, pointing out that 80 per cent of buildings that will be in use in 2050 have already been built, he said, and according to Frost & Sullivan, 75 per cent of controllable lighting isn't controlled.