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Osram Lightify Pro

Issue 87 October / November 2015

David Morgan reviews Osram’s Lightify Pro wireless lighting control system, offering a wide-ranging system for medium size projects and is already being well received by the lighting design community.

For a lighting company that celebrated its centenary in 2006, Osram shows that being well over 100 years old is no impediment to successfully incorporating new technology into its lighting control systems.

One of the most active areas of the lighting market in recent years has been the introduction of wireless lighting control systems. In this area it seems that innovation in the consumer market has been the starting point that then leads on to more sophisticated commercial systems.  Philips was an early entrant in the consumer market with its well-received Hue range: a smartphone app controlled lighting system.

Osram has taken a slightly different approach and introduced its Lightify system in two versions. Lightify Home for the consumer market, with up to 50 lighting points, was introduced last year and Lightify Pro for medium size commercial projects, with up to 100 lighting points, has just been launched for commercial applications.  The number of lighting points controlled by Lightify Pro can be increased up to 800 by using DALI luminaires via the Lightify DALI interface that can communicate with standard DALI drivers.

Lightify Pro fits in between simple consumer applications and the larger commercial and architectural projects where other more complex Osram systems would be more suitable.

The underlying operating system for the Lightify system is ZigBee, a low power and low cost wireless data transmission system specifically developed for small packets of data. While its low power consumption limits transmission distances to 10–100 metres line-of-sight, ZigBee devices can transmit data over long distances by passing data through a mesh network of intermediate devices to reach more distant ones.   

The obvious applications for Lightify Pro are in heritage and retrofit projects where wireless communication eliminates the need to add wiring for digital LED dimming, thus speeding up project installation and reducing costs. However, comments on applications for the system from lighting designers suggest that it may not be the panacea it at first appears to be. Iain Carlile at DPA, said: “Wireless dimming is great for refurbishment but for new construction projects, it may not be much of an advantage since mains wiring has to be installed in any case and the current additional cost of using wireless control may not be justifiable.” 

The Lightify system incorporates a wide variety of elements including ZigBee enabled retrofit LED lamps, LED luminaires, interfaces to DALI drivers, switches and sensors. The range of ZigBee enabled LED lamps includes single colour, dynamic white and full RGBW types. Other brands of ZigBee enabled lamps can also be controlled by the system. At the moment, most of the Lightify Pro luminaires are for office and commercial lighting applications with a limited range of simpler luminaires for the Lightify Home range. The Lightify Pro DSE / SSE interface to DALI drivers includes inputs for connection to sensors and can dim or switch up to eight DALI luminaires individually. The Lightify Pro Gateway unit is the heart of the system and provides the link between the luminaires and DALI interfaces and WiFi systems. The system can be integrated with larger IT systems or run independently. A real-time clock can also be integrated into the system to automatically control lighting scenes.

Commissioning, which in the past has been an expensive and sometimes fraught process, should be much simpler using Lightify Pro and can be done by the lighting designer, end user or contractor. Layout drawings of the project can be loaded into the free commissioning app loaded onto a tablet and luminaires are then grouped in a simple drag and drop process onto the layout graphic. Sensors and switches can also be integrated into the scheme in the same way. There are predefined lighting schemes for offices, corridors and staircases to speed up the commissioning process.

In-depth control of Lightify Pro is via a smartphone or tablet with a free app but push button wall switches, sensors and a clock can be used for simple and automatic running. The Lightify Pro control app allows access and control of all the preconfigured settings and scenes. Dimming of individual and groups of luminaires can also be controlled.

One of the appealing features of Lightify Pro system is that it generates a QR code that can be read by a smartphone or tablet. In a hotel room, for example, pre-set room lighting scenes could be accessed via the guest’s smartphone by downloading the control app and scanning a QR code thus giving the guest complete control of their room lighting.

Lightify Pro offers a wide-ranging system for medium size projects and has already been well received by the lighting design community particularly for refurbishment projects. It will be interesting to see how quickly this type of wireless system replaces hard wired dimming systems as the costs fall.

David Morgan runs David Morgan Associates, a London-based international design consultancy specialising in luminaire design and development and is also MD of Radiant Architectural Lighting. 



Tel: +44 ( 0) 20 8340 4009

© David Morgan Associates 2015


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