How to Commission IoT Devices with no IT Expertise An Interview with Karl Jónsson, Chief Commercial Officer, Tridonic Inc.
An Interview with Karl Jónsson, Chief Commercial Officer, Tridonic Inc.
EdisonReport: Karl, you are co-presenting with Aman Bastani on the topic, “Commissioning Smart Lighting Systems” at Lightfair International on Tuesday, May 8 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. in room S405AB. What are we going to learn from your presentation that we won’t find anywhere else?
Karl: Well, first, Tridonic is excited to be presenting at Lightfair. Also, last year we announced the opening of our U.S. office and this event allows us to share all that we have learned over the past year and introduce new products and systems for the U.S. lighting market. As for the presentation, it builds on a recent keynote presentation from our CEO Guido van Tartwijk. He presented the vision of Tridonic as an Internet of Light (IoL) company that is enabling the IoT. He talked about how the company’s success doesn’t come from making every driver and component just because we can, rather, success comes from listening to customer challenges and then developing leading technology solutions that are open, scalable and simple to implement. And that is where my presentation comes in, I will be talking about the history of commissioning and how commissioning smart lighting systems vs. legacy systems are very different worlds. Commissioning legacy systems comes with a lot of “bad habits” that are mainly present due to history and technology limitations. With these limitations out of the way and new possibilities beyond lighting control, we need to clear our mind and rethink the commissioning process based on achieving the expected results in a fast and user-friendly way versus simply understanding the underlying technology.
EdisonReport: The term commissioning refers to something pretty technical. What kind of foreknowledge should I have if I want to attend your presentation or if I am thinking about commissioning systems myself in the future?
Karl: You don’t need a degree in IT to attend my presentation or to commission a smart lighting system, and you shouldn’t even need a manual. I know, it sounds impossible, since this is one of the biggest challenges for customers when installing a networked system. With our deep understanding of lighting, combined with knowing our customers’ pain points, we have simplified the commissioning for smart lighting systems into a ‘drag-n-drop’-style format. You will have to attend the presentation and learn how this can be done. In addition, you may be inspired by this information and achieve a better understanding of the key points you need to keep in mind for your own smart lighting system. If you want to see a demo of this solution, you can visit Tridonic’s booth #233 in the IoT Pavilion.
EdisonReport: I am interested to see how Tridonic solves this commissioning challenge. For attendees, can they get updates on the Tridonic net4more solution at your booth?
Karl: Planning is equally important to commissioning. With powerful planning tools a lot of the commissioning work can be done ahead of time and since the planning part of the application doesn’t require any hardware, this saves valuable time. You can download our ‘4Commissioning’ tablet app from the Google Play store free of charge if you want to get familiar with the commissioning and planning tools before the presentation.
And, yes, we are demonstrating the successful practical application of our net4more toolbox for IP-based networking. We installed 200 devices at our headquarters in Dornbirn, Austria. Our net4more toolbox provides a network for the connected devices, both wired via Power over Ethernet (PoE) and wireless via THREAD. The devices include occupancy, air quality, and illuminance sensors.
In our net4more pilot installation, we used the existing lighting infrastructure in our headquarters as the carrier technology. The individual sensors are linked to the luminaires and form a network which is connected to the internet and into which further devices (sensors and other electronic devices) can be seamlessly integrated. The sensory data collected is stored in our Cloud database and can optionally be made available to third-party analytic companies through a dedicated API using secure OAuth 2.0 authentication. Internal communication between devices is done without using gateways. Instead we use IP-based infrastructure to communicate between wired and/or wireless devices like luminaires, sensors and controllers. If you want to see how that looks, drop by our booth at Lightfair and we’ll be happy to tell you more.
EdisonReport: This is the first time I’ve heard of a gateway-free system. What is the advantage to eliminating gateways?
Karl: You’re right, this is well known in the IT industry but quite unique in the smart lighting and IoT domain. Maintaining a network without gateways doesn’t require individual maintenance of firmware, API’s and access control for individual gateways as traditional IoT wireless networks typically do. Because of this, the solution is more secure and fully scalable to thousands of connection points and can be implemented in any large office complex or any other type of building. As an analogy, imagine if you had to update the firmware of your home Wi-Fi router every time you bought a new gadget or installed a new app on your phone, that wouldn’t be sustainable. Come by the booth to learn more and see how it all works together, seamlessly.
EdisonReport: Karl, what else can we see at the Tridonic booth?
Karl: For smaller controls installations that don’t require all of the feature sets of the net4more solution, we’ll be demonstrating our basicDIM Wireless system, which is Bluetooth-based and works directly with a phone. Also, we’ll be showcasing our new, full, harsh environment driver portfolio for outdoor applications, along with our revolutionary DC-String drivers for minimalist track light design. Last month we introduced the first IoT-ReadyTM LED driver that was created on draft specifications developed by the IoT-Ready AllianceTM. The specification was officially finalized and released to IoT-ReadyTM members on May 3rd. Last but not least, you’ll see the complete portfolio of Tridonic drivers for linear, area and spotlight applications and the matching LED modules.
Last year, not only did we open our first U.S. office, but our entry into the U.S. market included becoming a co-founder with Enlighted for the IoT-Ready AllianceTM. The Alliance is an industry organization working to make it easy for all LED lighting fixtures and the buildings they are installed to be made ‘smart’ by simply plugging in a compatible IoT sensor. Enlighted and Tridonic are working together with industry-leading organizations to establish the IoT-ReadyTM standard. We will be showcasing the first IoT-ReadyTM LED driver interacting with our net4more solution, basicDIM Wireless and several partner systems including Enlighted’s IoT Solution for smart buildings and QDIS Surveillance System. Enlighted will be presenting the Enlighted Sensor based on the new standard in booth #412 (Intelligent Lighting Pavilion). Both the Tridonic IoT-ReadyTM LED driver and Enlighted IoT-ReadyTM sensor are available for purchase. Our booth will have more information on the products and progress from the collaborations of the IoT-Ready AllianceTM member companies.
EdisonReport: Karl, thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing your presentation and visiting the Tridonic booth to see all the great demos.
Karl: Thank you, and I hope you’ll join us on at our booth #233 (IoT Pavilion) on Tuesday, May 8 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. for a ‘Meet & Greet’ cocktail event with Tridonic CEO Guido van Tartwijk, and again on Wednesday, May 9 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. for a “Toast to the IoT-Ready AllianceTM” celebrating the First Anniversary.