Will the last person to leave the beach turn off the lights

For as long as we’ve been involved in lighting control technology we’ve run into the same analogy.  For a lot of people the idea of lighting control is linked to the hypothetical situation of turning their lights on and off from the beach.  With last night’s events in Brazil as a tongue-in-cheek backdrop we look at the issue of remote management of lighting using a lighting control system.

Brazil fan crying on the beach

We’ve never actually met anyone who wanted to turn their lights on from the beach.  We’ve met plenty of people who are vehement that they don’t want to – without our ever mentioning it.  The truth is that while lighting control allows remote access and management, it’s a by-product of the fact that a lighting control system is networked and therefore technically accessible anywhere.

That networking and connectivity does provide some really useful benefits however and a few of them are related to when you’re away from home.  We’ll frequently program a lighting control system to deliver a suite of “Welcome Home” functions.  As an example, the external lights can be tied to movement sensors or gates opening.  They can be programmed to bring on a defined set of external lights if it’s dark to provide a welcoming and secure environment.  This can continue through the house once you’ve stepped through the door.  A welcoming pathway of light can light your way through to the kitchen or whatever route you define.

Welcome Home lighting scene - lighting in the entrance courtyard

Lighting control systems improve convenience and security when leaving the house as well.  A “whole house off” function at the front door allows you to turn off all the lights off when you leave.  If you’re a footballer leaving for a few weeks (or realistically maybe just a week if you’re an England footballer) in Brazil, it might also be set up to put the house into “holiday” mode.  This can play back a realistic or recorded use of light to give a much better occupancy simulation than simple timers.  

The network connectivity that allows remote access also allows integration with other home automation systems.  So, it can be easily linked to a home security system to flood defined areas inside or outside the house with light should an alarm be triggered.

iPad Lutron app

While you might never want to turn your lights on and off from the beach you may well be glad that we can access the system remotely.  We can access our systems for maintenance anywhere in the world.  The same network connectivity allows homeowners to tweak and reprogram scenes or alter scheduled events themselves.  Apps allow end-user programming changes and management via an iPad, iPhone or Android device.  Giving a homeowner control of their own system is a major benefit of the networked nature of modern lighting control systems. it’s a huge plus that end users can now make changes to their own lighting scenes or scheduled routines without needing a visit from an engineer.

Not that many people on Copacabana last night looked to be in a hurry to reprogram their lighting systems.  They looked like they had other more pressing things on their mind.

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