Lighting Controls: Daintree gets ZigBee recognition, CommScope, Redwood Systems, and Digital Lumens

March 16, 2012
Daintree Networks has received ZigBee Certified recognition for its Wireless Area Controller product designed for lighting control in commercial applications, while CommScope and Redwood Systems announced a controls-oriented partnership and Digital Lumens announced participation in a Sacramento controls incentive program.

Controls-specialist Daintree Networks has gained ZigBee Certified status for its lighting-oriented Wireless Area Controller (WAC) that serves at the center of its ControlScope platform. The ZigBee Alliance certified the WAC for use in both ZigBee Building Automation and ZigBee Home Automation systems.

Networked-lighting-systems provider Digital Lumens announced that it will participate in the Advanced Lighting Controls (ALC) Incentive Program created by the Sacramento Municipal District (SMUD) in California's capital city to reduce lighting energy usage. Building-control-network specialist CommScope announced a partnership with networked-lighting specialist Redwood Systems to marry building and lighting controls.

ZigBee Certified

Daintree has been focused on the wireless, mesh ZigBee network as the basis for its lighting-control system since inception. CEO Danny Yu said, "Daintree Networks is proud to be the first ZigBee Building Automation lighting solution to obtain ZigBee Certified product status, an important milestone in our mission to bring wireless lighting controls to the mass market of commercial buildings."

Daintree's Technology includes the WAC that bridges the ControlScope lighting-management software to ZigBee-enabled light fixtures, occupancy and light sensors, control panels and switches, and other network elements (see image). The standards-based approach has been a missing element in lighting-control systems.

ZigBee compliance will ultimately mean that lighting designers can seamlessly mix and match fixtures, sensors and controllers from multiple vendors. And the ZigBee Alliance just completed the ZigBee Building Automation standards this past September.

Ryan Maley, vice president of strategy at the ZigBee Alliance, said, "The ZigBee Building Automation standard is the choice for intelligent wireless control of HVAC, lighting and other devices across commercial buildings." Daintree's Yu added, "Throughout our nine-year association with the ZigBee Alliance, Daintree has been a strong advocate for the value of open, interoperable communications standards. Our work and certification with the ZigBee Building Automation standard represent an important step towards building-wide, intelligent wireless control networks."

Digital Lumens

While a full ZigBee stack for automation may escalate the deployment of controls, other companies have already had significant success in installing systems. Indeed Digital Lumens has supplied its end-to-end lighting control system in a number of installations finding particular success in warehouses and cold-storage buildings. Examples include Americold refrigerated facilities, Maines Paper & Food warehouses, and Quandt's Foodservice warehouses.

Digital Lumens supplies the fixtures and control technology in its Intelligent Lighting System. The system is built on ZigBee's lower network layers but by necessity includes some proprietary elements given it launched long before there was a ZigBee Building Automation Standard.

Sacramento funding

The Sacramento ALC program, meanwhile, will offer rebates that total $1 million through the end of 2013 using federal stimulus funding. The SMUD hopes to reduce lighting energy by 50-75% in local businesses.

"SMUD provides energy solutions for our customers that help them reduce usage and save money," said Dave Bisbee, program manager of SMUD's Customer Advanced Technologies group. "This program has been the culmination of very thorough research and is designed to meet SMUD's ambitious energy efficiency goals set by our board of directors."

Digital Lumens is working with its distribution partners to identify buildings that range between 20,000 and 100,000 square feet that may be eligible for funding. The awards will top out at $100,000 or a maximum of 80% of the cost of a project. "The ALC Program provides a direct path to energy savings that customers might not have otherwise taken, and we commend SMUD for facilitating the adoption of energy-efficient industrial lighting," said Mike Feinstein, vice president of sales and marketing at Digital Lumens.

CommScope and RedWood

Redwood Systems, meanwhile, has been focused on a proprietary, wired, networked-lighting system that uses low-voltage, computer-network-like cables to send power and data to light fixtures. CommScope is focused on intelligent buildings and the integration of data networks and building-automation networks.

The companies' technologies may prove synergistic. "Information technology in buildings does not only refer to PCs and telephones," said Morgan Kurk, senior vice president of enterprise solutions at CommScope. "It also includes a building's automation system. With lighting accounting for as much as 35% of the energy used in commercial buildings, stringent building codes are now requiring greater energy efficiency from lighting systems. The Redwood platform's ability to run over structured cabling and integrate with building automation systems made them a natural fit as CommScope's lighting provider of choice."

Like Digital Lumens, Redwood Systems has had measurable success with its proprietary system. Examples include installations at Volkswagen Group and SAP Labs.