Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

 

Nov 19, 2018

Steve Mesh

Networked lighting control systems (NLCs) are really computer networks — they just happen to control luminaires, occupancy sensors, photosensors and light switches. The paradigm shift for lighting control systems has occurred at lightning-fast speed in recent years.

It is absolutely possible for you to specify, install and operate a networked lighting control system that is completely standalone, meaning that nothing whatsoever interacts with the NLC system in your (or your client’s) building. However, many systems are now being installed using an existing IT network to connect components of the NLC. A common example is when a central server must connect via wires (typically Ethernet cable) to wireless gateways. The central server is often located in an electrical closet or IT room in the core of the building. The gateways are usually located in the occupied space. To connect these components, cable must be run from the core out to the finished space. If an existing network is available, it’s usually possible to connect the server to the gateways using that network. The commissioning agent simply needs to know the IP addresses of the gateways and tell the server to look for them on the network.

Sounds simple, right? And in the process, you can save money because you don’t have to puncture core walls and run additional Ethernet cable. However, once you decide to piggyback onto an existing IT network, you are in the domain of the IT staff who work for the building’s owner. The IT staff have two main responsibilities:

1. Make sure that the IT networks are up-and-running and work 24/7.

2. Protect the owner from hacking/intrusions/problems.

Unless you’ve been living on Saturn for the past five years, you know that hacking into existing networks has become a huge concern in our society. Arguably, the second responsibility — protecting the owner from hacking — is a much more critical task for any IT professional than initially getting the networks up and running. This gives the IT staff enormous power and allows them to wield enormous influence.

What are some best practices for dealing with the IT staff when you use an NLC that will be integrated with existing network infrastructure? Here’s a partial list:

1. Talk with the IT staff early and often. Not only is this important from a “political” viewpoint (to get buy-in), but the IT staff may also have specific requirements, restrictions or prohibitions that will impact your choice of a recommended NLC. For example, a particular building owner might consider installing an NLC, but only if it’s wired and not wireless. They may have concerns about interference with existing wireless networks if another wireless system is installed in the same spaces. Needless to say, that’s a major issue, and you’d want to know about this as early in the process as possible.

2. Don’t fight with IT professionals! Because of the sensitivity of their job — in protecting the owner’s existing networks and information — these folks wield substantial power, at least when it comes to the IT infrastructure. One word from an IT staff person can shut down the possibility of installing an NLC in an existing building (or even a new building for that matter). Even if you don’t like the IT person’s personality or how he or she interacts with you, make it a point to think of them as part of the team that will help you specify and deploy an NLC that the owner will like and will benefit from. Just like anyone else, IT staff people may come across as prickly — maybe more so considering how critical their job function is. Do not let that sour your interaction with these folks. That is an enormous mistake.

3. Realize that the IT staff probably don’t know much about lighting and lighting controls. Considering the advances in IoT, increasing numbers of IT professionals may understand more about lighting going forward. Keep in mind, however, that lighting and lighting controls have only recently entered the “digital age” — where luminaires, sensors and switches are now connected devices on a computer network. An IT staff person with whom you are working may or may not know much about luminaires or lighting control devices, and they may or may not care about that either. What they do care about, however, is the IT aspect of what you may be recommending. If you are working with an IT staff person who is interested in learning more about the lighting aspect of the NLC deployment, by all means educate him or her about that. If not, be content to stick with the IT issues when talking with that person.

4. Listen to and carefully consider their advice about NLC system architecture and equipment. Many NLC systems allow you to install and connect components in a variety of ways. If an IT professional asks about or suggests connecting things in very specific ways, there may be a very good reason for that. If what they are asking for absolutely cannot be done using the NLC system you are considering, you are welcome to explain that. However, make sure it is a respectful conversation involving give and take. There may be extremely important reasons why they are asking about, strongly suggesting, or even requiring a specific architecture for the system.

5. Security, security and security! Just as “location, location and location” are the three most important things in real estate, security is far and away the most sensitive and critical aspect of the IT staff’s job. Do not assume that whatever methods of security are available in the system(s) you may propose are acceptable to the IT staff. They may have much higher standards about things like encryption, modes of access, and lots more. For example, it’s fairly standard these days for manufacturers to build in 128-bit AES encryption into their system’s software. What if the IT staff require 256-bit AES encryption? Here’s another example. You may want to propose an NLC system that allows for remote access, perhaps by building engineers to check and fix problems in the system even if they are not on site at the time. Many systems allow remote access as long as the NLC is connected to the Internet. This is a potential security problem. The IT staff may be okay with this, but only if the user is required to access the server remotely using a VPN, or only if there is a robust login/password methodology. If not, then this may not work. It’s really essential to make these kinds of determinations as early in the process as possible.

6. Make sure that you communicate with the IT staff throughout the deployment process. Don’t assume that because you had an initial conversation at the outset of the project, the IT staff now have buy-in to every aspect of the NLC selection and deployment. Do make sure that you inform them every step of the way. It’s likely that you will need assistance from the IT staff at various points throughout the process. For example, during commissioning, you may need them to assist you by assigning static IP addresses for specific equipment that you connect to their network. That’s not the kind of thing that a commissioning agent would typically do on their own, nor should they.

7. Make a point of learning more about IT over time. Computer and IT technology are not things that most lighting designers, electrical engineers, distributors and lighting salespeople study in school. This is new stuff to a lot of people in the lighting industry. Do not let that stop you from learning more about IT issues. Be a lifelong learner! So the paradigm has shifted — so what? Things change. The more you can learn about IT and how networks operate, the easier your job will be of interfacing with IT staff and successfully deploying an NLC on your next project.

This article was first published at lightingcontrolsassociation.org/2018/09/10/steve-mesh-on-talking-to-it-departments-about-connected-lighting/.


Steven Mesh is an award-winning lighting designer who has designed lighting and control systems for a variety of project types (commercial, museums, schools, residential, restaurants, retail, historic, healthcare, etc.). As an educator, he has taught classes and given presentations about lighting and controls across North America and internationally. One of his is developing lighting and lighting controls courses that rely on hands-on and/or interactive content. He has been a repeat speaker at LightFair for eight years.

 

Changing Scene

  • Prev
  Southwire Canada (SWC) has been named Supplier of the Year by Grote Industries, one of ...
  Techspan Industries is please to announce that Scott Lucas has taken over as VP Sales ...
Joshua Remigio, 29, of Leamington, Ontario was electrocuted last week while working on the property ...
O’Neil Electric Supply is very pleased to announce the addition of Siemens Canada EM LP as ...
Fluke is celebrating its 70th anniversary by giving away a prize package valued at US$6,000. Prizes ...
This past summer, from July 1 to September 15, AD Rewards ran the Redeem for a Dream promotion.
  Rittal Systems Canada, the world’s largest and most trusted manufacturer of ...
Learn about the latest trends in structured cabling. Offered by Fluke Networks, this seminar will ...
  After a decade of creating affordable, energy-efficient LED Lighting exclusively for the ...
Effective January 1, 2019, Ramy Yousif assumes the position of Rexel Atlantic’s General ...

Electrician Forum Brought to you by Schneider Electric

As industry experts you know the products you use everyday better than anyone and should have input on what information you receive about products and what could improve them.

Therefore, we want your insight on the biggest challenges or issues you face when installing loadcentres, breakers (CAFI, GFI's…) and other surge protection devices. We ask that you do not provide product specific details but rather your general issues and concerns or any questions that have come to mind while working with these product types. Provide us with your valued expert insight into the issues you have faced so manufacturers can better inform you about the installation and use of these products. Lets generate some discussion that will help guide the Industry.

Make your comments  HERE

 

Codes and Regulations Brought to You by the CSA Group

  • Prev
In this article: Tables — Part B. This section of the Code contains 99 tables of essential ...
In this article: Section 58 — Passenger Ropeways and Similar Equipment. Rule 58-000 ...
  Unauthorized CSA Group certification marks have been found on wiring by Triumph Cable ...
In this article: Section 52 — Diagnostic imaging installations. The CE code is a ...
In this article: Section 46 — Emergency Power Supply, Unit Equipment, Exit Signs, and ...
  In this article: Section 44 — Theatre Installations. The CE Code is a ...
CSA has published C22.2 No. 60947-7-3, the harmonized standard for low-voltage switchgear and ...
  Electric welders. The CE Code is a comprehensive document. Sometimes it can seem ...
  In this article: Section 40 — Electric cranes and hoists. The CE Code is a ...

 

Cloud

There has been a lot of talk about cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models these days but both are relatively new to the lighting industry. Let’s take a look at what they are as well as their roles in commercial lighting.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of compute power, database storage, and applications via the Internet with pay-as-you-go or subscription-based pricing. Cloud computing means that instead of all the computer hardware, software, and data that you are using sitting somewhere inside your company’s network, it’s provided and managed for you as a service by another company and you access it over the Internet. 

Read More



Tools for the Trade

  • Prev
  IDEAL Industries has introduced Combination Drill Taps to its tool lineup. Combining the ...
  Stripping and crimping device, 100 - 240 V input voltage, for insulated ferrules with a ...
Professional all-in-one cutter/stripper for coaxial and twisted pair cables     ...
  Klein Tools' Coax Explorrer 2 tests coaxial cable and maps up to 4 locations   ...
  Ideal Industries' T-14 wire stripper s are ideal for all professionals working within the ...
  The ATS850 conveyor eliminates all types of electro static discharge requirements. ...
  Lorik Tool & Automation has the experience and ability to manufacture a variety of ...
  Ideal Industries' 26 piece insulated Journeyman kit is ideal for new electricians or for ...
  Klein Tools Deluxe Fish Rod Set comes in 19 pieces that when assembled can fish wire and ...
  BendWorks Software was designed to help electrical contractors adopt this new process ...

Product News

  • Prev
Vive Wireless fixture controls allow you to easily enable any fixture with wireless communication and ...
TSP (Toolless Sensor Platform) is a new and innovative lighting control platform. Adding TSP to ...
Introducing the ultimate in lighting flexibility: LED Flex Lights. An ingenious flexible design ...
Eaton’s Lighting Contactors are designed to provide a safe, convenient means for local or ...
LOW PROFILE recessed T-Bar ceiling fixture with parabolic reflector and high efficiency molded ...
Lighting should be simple. Easy and intuitive to interact with, yet versatile enough to give you ...
With high performance LED’s along with high-quality construction, this fixture performs ...
SmartRay’s LED Parking Lot Light (3rd Gen) use Nichia LED chips, Meanwell and Inventronics ...
Commercial and industrial high bay Sports arena lighting applications.  
Galaxy Lighting offers lines of affordable LED, Compact Fluorescent, and ENERGY STAR products. ...

 

Peers & Profiles

  • Prev
Allison Wood and Dominique Rivet are two apprentices who had a wealth of career options available ...
  In a recent sit-down Electrical Industry Canada was able to learn a little ...
David Johns is a unique and dedicated individual both at home and in the workplace. At home he is a ...
    Sean Freeman is a vibrant, enthusiastic and selfless individual who has taken his ...
  Automation companies are drivers of innovation, and have penetrated near every industry ...
Total Electrical Solutions was founded in 2013 by Jeremy Herrington in Quispamsis, on the outskirts ...
Andrew MacLeod is a territory sales manager with Leviton Manufacturing of Canada in British ...
  Floyd Lau founded Amptek Technologies in 2002 as an end to end engineering design ...
Mike Marsh, President and CEO of SaskPower, has been a leading figure in Saskatchewan’s ...
Gordon MacDonald is a cheerful, driven individual who loves to be challenged, a trait that suits ...

Copper $US Dollar price per pound


 

Jean-Marc Myette

By Line Goyette

Meeting people in our industry often comes with surprises. This was the case with Jean-Marc Myette, Business Development Manager of ABB’s Electrification Products Division and chair of the Board of Electro-Federation Canada’s Quebec section. Not only does he know the electrical industry down to the most minute product and technological innovations, he is also a professional car racer on sabbatical, and someone very involved in his business community and personal life.

Read More

 

 

Kerrwil Publications

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2018 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil