Greetings, and welcome to the September 2016 Xicato Newsletter! It's a long one, but we hope you find it both interesting and educational. This edition is focused on Smart Lighting and Museums.
We invite you to Reply to this email to let us know how you like it, to discuss the products and topics raised, or to let us know what topics you'd like us to address in future newsletters.
XIM Generation 4 Launches in October
As promised, the new wireless Xicato Intelligent Module Generation 4 with Bluetooth Low Energy (XIM gen4) will be officially released in October. More than a dimmable LED light source, XIM gen4 is a control system, a beacon, and an intelligent IoT (Internet of Things) node that fundamentally changes the economics of lighting control, smart spaces and the lighting industry. XIM gen4 dramatically simplifies and cost reduces the design, implementation, provisioning, control and management of controlled lighting, while enabling new location-based information services.
XIM already integrates the industry’s highest quality light source with the industry’s highest quality driver. XIM gen4 adds Bluetooth wireless connectivity and the distributed intelligence required to respond to all types of sensors, switches, and mobile app commands.
XIM gen4 is about more than Lighting. XIM gen4 can advertise Google Eddystone and/or Apple iBeacons, providing wayfinding and other location-based information about such things as museum exhibits, retail merchandise, or restaurant menus.
A reflex is a rapid response to stimulation that does not pass through the brain. In the Xicato gen4 network, sensors communicate directly with lighting and other actuators, without passing first through central controllers or hubs. The distributed intelligence of the XIM gen4 network enables rapid, automatic, simultaneous, and adaptive response to occupancy, light levels, or other sensor inputs. XIM gen4 is standard Bluetooth, and will be field-upgradable to Bluetooth Mesh in 2017 when the standard is mature. Most importantly, XIM gen4 devices and software are all designed and tested to work together seamlessly.
XIM gen4 is part of a total ecosystem with compatible software, motion, lux, temperature, humidity and vibration sensors, switches, and gateways. Built on the ubiquitous Bluetooth standard already in billions of smartphones and tablets, Xicato has opened its software interfaces (APIs) to enable third-party developers to write their own apps, expanding opportunities for OEMs, lighting designers, M&Es, and end users.
XIM gen4 can be installed into any of the many luminaires that are designed for XIM. Hundreds of XIM gen4 modules are already deployed in multiple live trial installations in Europe, the US and Australia.
Contact Xicato now for more information.
Xicato gen4 Software
To complement the XIM gen4 hardware, Xicato has developed a suite of software tools for the commissioning, control and monitoring of the XIM gen4 network. These are available free of charge from the Apple App Store or Xicato.
Talk with your Xicato representative to get a full demonstration of the Xicato XIM gen4 system.
Van Gogh Museum Lighting Event
Curators and conservators from around Europe came to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam on June 3rd, 2016, for a half day session on smart lighting hosted by the gallery and sponsored by Save Solutions and Xicato. After refreshments in a private hall the program consisted of an introduction to the museum and its conservation goals by Kees van den Miejrakker (Head of Collections, van Gogh Museum) followed by a talk on the lighting design and light source selection process by Henk van der Geest (Lighting Designer, iLo). Finally Martin Mueller and Roger Sexton from Xicato outlined the topic of what smart lighting can achieve in the context of a gallery with a presentation, a demonstration of sensor-controlled lighting, then an in-situ commissioning and information streaming demonstration in one of the galleries. The event was rounded off by guided tours through the Museum.
What can smart lighting offer galleries?
- Light quality: sustained accurate color portrayal
- Easier (re) commissioning
- Maintenance savings
- Energy saving
- Conservation Management
- Indoor location-based services
Shanghai International Lighting Fair
31 August – 2 September 2016 at Shanghai New International Expo Centre
Xicato was proud to participate in the CLDA’s Lighting Design Agora in The Shanghai International Lighting Fair.
With an overall theme of “Art and Lighting Design”, the Lighting Design Agora was a sort of “Town Square,” with six manufacturer stands surrounding a presentation area with a speaker’s platform at the head end. On the outer walls was a cast of Lighting Designer luminaries with examples of their key projects.
CLDA president Lear Hsieh kicked off the presentations, which were all well attended. Xicato’s topic centered on smart lighting in galleries, and inspired a lively debate on the increased opportunities for Lighting Designers that smart lighting affords, as well as the new skill sets needed for deployment.
In our stand we demonstrated the simple control and commissioning possible with XIM gen4, including automated control using motion and lux sensing, as well as location-based information services using Eddystone Beacons.
For a report on the SILF Lighting Design Agora, you might want to read Martin Klaasen’s blog.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Xicato Artist Series modules were recently installed in the Victoria and Albert Museum's Europe 1600-1815 gallery, which contains over 1100 objects from the V&A’s impressive collections of 17th- and 18th-century European art and design displayed in a suite of seven galleries. The collection comprises some of the most magnificent and elaborate works of art and design in the V&A’s collections, including examples of textiles and fashion, painting and sculpture, ceramics and glass, furniture and metalwork, prints and books. The galleries opened to the public in December 2015.
For the gallery, lighting design was provided by Sutton Vane Associates. Mike Stoane Lighting supplied track mounted Track Type X and recessed ADL.CP Type X using Xicato’s 3000K Artist Series modules. A total of 90 individually adjustable and lockable Surf Type X were included in 2 bespoke Ø7650mm chandeliers, also using 3000K Artist Series modules
We hope you will all get an opportunity to see this wonderful, exquisitely illuminated gallery, and read the associated blog. Here are some photos to entice you...
Xicato AIA Approved Presentations
Tech Talk: How deep is “deep dimming”?
We all know from personal experience that our perception of dimming is not linear – a 50% change in actual light intensity does not result in a 50% change in perceived intensity. Instead, perception is exponential, as described by Stanley Smith Stevens in 1957 in what is now known as “Stevens’ Power Law”. For constant, non-point sources, and using percentages, Stevens found that the best mathematical model is: Perceived = 100 x (Actual/100)0.33
The resulting relationship is shown in the following graphs:
Note that at a typical “deep” dimming level of 5%, the perceived level is over 35%! It is not until the actual level is below 1% that dimming can start being described as “deep”, and dimming to at least 0.1% is essential for maximum control and a smooth transition to and from “off”.
The Xicato Intelligent Module (XIM and XIM gen4) driver provides smooth, controlled dimming between 100% and 0.1% settings, with a smooth slope to an on/off threshold of 0.012%.
Tech Talk: Bluetooth, APIs and license fees
Xicato XIM gen4 is based on the latest, standard Bluetooth protocol. Our APIs are open and free of license fees, and we are active members of the Bluetooth SIG, influencing the new Bluetooth Mesh standard to enable the kinds of control and management capabilities we have built into our XIM gen4 system, and toward true multi-vendor interoperability.
Q: Why Bluetooth?
A: Bluetooth is a widely available technology already installed in billions of devices worldwide. You probably have it in your pocket! It is a free, open standard that addresses the entire software “stack”, from the network to the application layer, so has the best chance of ensuring the greatest degree of interoperability between different devices from many vendors. It has technical advantages vs. every other protocol currently available (which we can discuss ad nauseum). And it already has several, easily implemented IoT capabilities – such as beacons – that add immediate value to lighting control in commercial spaces, in the form of location-aware information services.
Q: Why not Zigbee?
A: The Zigbee architecture is fundamentally limited. The network is at least 4x slower than Bluetooth. It does not allow direct interaction between lights, switches and sensors - all interaction must always be through a hub. This creates delays in responsiveness, adds mandatory costs, and creates a single point of failure for the system. Zigbee communication is not installed on mobile devices so, again, you need to work through a gateway and hub or try to attach a dongle to your mobile device. Zigbee can exhibit high and inconsistent latency, so that response time is slow and lighting may not respond simultaneously to commands.
Q: Why not Wifi?
A: Wifi provides high bandwidth for large data file transfers and streaming media services such as audio and video. But those are not applications required for lighting control and IoT, and the high bandwidth of Wifi comes at a cost. Wifi consumes many times more power than Bluetooth, and Wifi hardware is much more expensive than Bluetooth. Furthermore, its “star” architecture limits its range, forces all communication to flow through a single access point, and creates a single (and likely!) point of failure in the network. And these are just a few of many disadvantages.
Q: What is an API?
API stands for “application programming interface”. It is a set of commands, objects, and other building blocks that simplifies the development of software applications.
APIs can be “open” or “closed”, meaning that they are either freely published, or available only through a paid licensing agreement. If your vendor claims to use “open” software, but does not freely publish their APIs, then they are not truly open. Even vendors who are anticipating the Bluetooth Mesh standard are still using proprietary variants, and even when the standard is ready, there will be differences between vendors that will require APIs for full interoperability. Xicato wants a rich ecosystem of 3rd party software and hardware that works with the XIM gen4 system, both now and in the future. That is why we give away our APIs and support developers who want to use them.