MSLLC announces draft of adaptive LED controls spec at SALC

Sept. 19, 2012
Edward Smalley announced at the Street & Area Lighting Conference that the much anticipated model specification on adaptive LED street light control is available for review and open for public comment.

On the final day of the Street & Area Lighting Conference (SALC) in Miami, Florida, Edward Smalley, the director of the Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium (MSSLC), announced that the " Model Specification for Adaptive Control and Remote Monitoring of LED Roadway Luminaires" document is available for review. The MSSLC is inviting public comments on the draft specification through October 12, and the consortium warned that the spec is not considered ready for usage as is.

Controls and remote monitoring proved to be a tougher challenge in terms of developing a model spec than did luminaires. Indeed, there are many elements in a municipal control system including network and software elements.

Like the luminaires model spec, the controls document is meant to serve as a template that users can follow to create a precise specification that meets their individual municipality needs. Moreover, the document will establish a common language or set of terms that suppliers and customers can use to ensure consistency.

The draft clearly shows the complexity of the controls area and the flexibility that had to be in the document. For example, users will be able to specify a variety of wired and wireless network types. The spec includes the option of specifying the maximum amount of time it takes a network to deliver a command to a street light. And there are many options of how to implement control and commissioning software.

It doesn't appear that the document indicates any preference as to whether a municipality ultimately owns and operates its own system of whether they pay recurring fees to a manufacturer for management services.

The Roam system from Acuity Brands, for example, was among the first comprehensive network and control systems on the market for street lights. But Acuity has typically sold the Roam technology with a contractual requirement for management services.

Over the course of the past year, speakers from municipalities at industry conferences have almost unanimously expressed the preference of buying and owning the management system. Apparently, the model spec will allow both.

It's hard to say when the first purchases of control systems based on the specification might occur. The model specification for luminaires was finalized about one year ago just after SALC, with a draft available months earlier. At SALC, a group of small municipalities in Iowa announced they had used that luminaire spec to make a group purchase apparently becoming the first to do so. But the controls spec could be in for a longer review cycle.