What's so smart about Smart Lighting Control Systems?

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Ron Steen Co-Presenter
VP Specification Sales

Ron is a veteran in the LED application space.  He first started playing with LEDs in 1995 while working as an engineer at General Motors and is credited with bringing the first LED Tail lamp to market on the 2000 Cadillac DeVille and subsequently started pioneering the LED headlamp.  Since making the jump to general lighting in 2004 with Philips as Director of LED Systems and Drivers, Ron continued to stay at the forefront of LED adoption. In his role as VP of Business Development for Xicato Ron has been a driving force to change the LED dialog from Lumens per Watt to Quality of Light and is now focused on exploring the world of connected lighting.

Alexander Cooper Presenter
Head of Exhibits Technology
National Portrait Gallery - The Smithsonian
Washington , DC 

Alex is the National Portrait Gallery’s resident Exhibit Lighting & Media Art designer.  Since coming to the NPG in 2006 he has lit over 130 Exhibitions, as well as designed and installed numerous Time Based Media Art installations and Video interactives.  He is an active voice in the various Time-Base Media Art conversations within and without the Smithsonian.  He is a member of both the NPG’s Digital Art Group Roundtable (D.A.G.R.) as well as the institution-wide time Based Media Art Group.  Prior to coming to the NPG Alex was a freelance lighting designer working in entertainment and architecture in the mid-Atlantic region.  His local architectural design work can be seen at the US Senate, The Cosmos Club and The Smithsonian’s National Museum for the American Indian, as well as numerous public art installation throughout the City.  In addition he has over 100 professional Lighting and Scenic design credits including productions for the Roundhouse Theatre, The Olney Theatre Center for the Performing Arts, and The Kennedy Center.  Alex has an MFA in Lighting Design from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is an adjunct Professor of Lighting Design for the Corcoran College of Arts and Design at the George Washington University. 

Wednesday, March 14: 11:00 AM  - 12:30 PM 
Conference Session 


The deluge of wireless, connected, IoT ready devices are here but how a designer can actually deploy them and the determination of any real benefit are still question marks. Do these technologies actually add value or do they create complexity. This presentation will describe a live case study in the implementation of Smart Lighting Technologies at one of the most prestigious institutions in the USA.

The National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian houses the Nation's only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House and the Americas Presidents exhibition lies at the heart of the Portrait Gallery's mission to tell the American story through the individuals who have shaped it.

This gallery has recently opened with a full refurbishment which included all new lighting. Running new control wires through the space would have been challenging and costly and wireless control technology has developed to a level of maturity where this step can be avoided but still with its own set of issues. The desired color changing technology carried a Zigbee protocol while the fixed white utilized a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) platform. Additionally, the building lighting and other AV systems are being controlled by a networked building control system. The trick was how to pull all these systems together while taking advantage of the new connected technology to allow the concept to become reality.

In 2006 networked building controls were the state of the art and using them to our best advantage reduced energy and power consumption significantly, but we were then at the limits of the control systems. We needed another technological leap to go any further, and for many reasons this is it

This presentation will describe the scheme of why color change and fixed white makes sense for this space at the Smithsonian, how these disparate systems were brought together through use of software patches and how Application Program Interfaces (API's) were utilized to make system merging possible. It will also address exactly what hardware was required and how it was specified to make the wireless systems work. The talk will touch on each of the technologies utilized, how they were integrated into light fixtures, how and where each of the devices were integrated into the space, problems encountered along the way and the actual outcome. Finally, the presentation will address the ability of system upgrades and the addition of sensors to conserve lux hours on heritage paintings


• Learn how connected Lighting technologies are integrated into a gallery setting and potential uses of controls and data going forward to help manage and conserve both energy and priceless art

• Application Program Interfaces (API’s) will be described and examples will be provided on how they are used

• A breakdown of the exact hardware and the hardware modifications required to make a wireless lighting system work will be described in detail to provide a sample specification

• The audience will gain insight on how a BLE and Zigbee system can be brought together in a single building wide networked control system 

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