– Jaie Demaagd and Ken Sinclair
Demaagd has been working with DALI for seven years. In Australia he
runs a DALI products, training and support website and nationally
assists system installers with their DALI projects. Jaie is also the
lead designer for both the DALILite iPhone app and the DALICloud web
service. You can follow Jaie's at his blog http://www.dali.net.au/DW or on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/MsJaied
DALI Lighting App
One of our main goals was to design an app that is as easy to pick
up and use as a light switch.
Sinclair: What is the DALI lighting app and what project is it in?
The DALI lighting app is a new app designed for everyday users to
control DALI lights. The app is called DALILite, it has just been
submitted to iTunes and we are actively finishing the Android version.
The DALI app is only newly released so there are not many sites yet.
But it has been recently specified in the Australian National Library,
a new 2000 bed hospital and has been approved for installation at the
University of Wollongong in Australia. We have sites running in
Australia, New Zealand and in Europe we have a site in Austria with new
sites ready to go ahead in Sweden, Germany and the UK.
Sinclair: How is it different to other control apps?
One of our main goals was to design an app that is as easy to pick
up and use as a light switch. We tested the app on non technical
people; grandparents, housewives and children. All have been able to
control lights within seconds without getting confused.
The DALI protocol does so much, that it was a real challenge to keep it
simple. We have even gone the extra distance to include a user
tutorial, which we hope system programmers will like because it reduces
the amount of training and after sales support calls they might get
when a user forgets how to do something.
Another goal that we wanted to achieve was to make the app easy to set
up for system installers. So we take advantage of the fact that DALI is
two way and have made all lights auto detectable, using this feature we
are able to let the app map the entire installation itself. We believe
that installers will find the app the quickest and easiest DALI setup
experience that they have ever had. In fact it's so easy that we
included a tutorial that the installer can show a user who knows
nothing about DALI, and they can leave it to the user to setup the app
Two more key differences are that we have one of the first DALI Device Type 8 apps, and we utilise the DALICloud.
Sinclair: What does "device type 8 support" mean?
Device Type 8 is the new amendment to the DALI standards that allows for lights to change color.
For example the color of light that makes meat look good in a butcher
shop may not be the same color that customers feel comfortable under
while drinking a latte from the coffee shop. With LED technology you
require a different fitting for each application, but with a DALI
Tunable White Device Type 8 light you can have the on fitting that can
be programmed for any application. The same model of led light fitting
that lights up a plain office with 5000K white, can be tuned to a dull
shade of deep blue for a night club.
Some hospitals are picking up on this already, lighting designers are
writing specifications to refit their hospital wards with color
changing lights that reflect the color of the atmosphere outside. As
the sun gets closer to the horizon the sky warms, when the sun is higher
the sky is bluer. The concept is that by imitating this effect inside,
it will improve the mood of patients who are trapped inside without
Device type 8 is also being picked up by art galleries as it allows
them to change the color of monthly exhibits. And I also think that it
maybe attractive to shop retailers in the future as it allows them to
use their plain white lights to redecorate their store for the mood of
seasonal events, such as Christmas or Valentines day, quite easily.
This becomes even more powerful when you mix in the DALICloud and
realise that a multi-national company can schedule, change or
synchronise the color of their corporate sites internationally, from one common web portal.
Sinclair: What is the DALIcloud and how does it work with the mobile app?
The DALICloud is a next generation subscription web service for DALI
lighting systems. The cloud takes care of remote logging, monitoring
alerts, fault status and power monitoring, this information is
available remotely and even supports 3D. The cloud reduces upfront
installation costs, reduces ongoing maintenance costs, and improves
access to information and reporting.
The first great thing about the cloud is that while it has features of
its own, and the mobile platform has features of its own, when we
combine them we get a sum that is greater than the parts. For example
with the cloud we can monitor the site remotely, without having to have
dedicated software or a computer. Because the app is two way you can
look at an area and the app will ask the lights if they are on, even if
you are not in the room. Now combine the cloud and a mobile device, and
you can be on the road and the app knows you are not connected locally,
so it connects to the DALI cloud over the internet and can still show
you live status and fault information.
Another problem the cloud solves is documentation, which some
installers are guilty of not being thorough with. If the user has
an iPhone to control the system the setup would take a long time as
each phone has to be configured. Suddenly its easier and quicker for
the system installer to document the site immediately than not to as
system integrators can log onto the cloud and document the names of all
of the areas and every app will automatically download this information
and display each DALI address and group with the correct names. Then
when the name of an area is renamed on the cloud, all of the
connected apps will automatically update.
Another example is emergency lighting, because DALI can handle
emergency fittings, with the DALICloud you can now remotely schedule
emergency tests and see the results through the cloud before you go to
Sinclair: Can you use the app for DALI emergency testing or DALI programming?
You can monitor an emergency light to see its battery level deplete
over time, and you can also see if the light failed its last test. Some
of our early builds of the app had full emergency light testing.
However our goal with the app was to make it a simple app for building
staff or home owners, so we have decided to keep it simple and took
those more complicated features out.
We will release a separate app dedicated to emergency light testing. We
also are building an app for DALI programming. We will be opening up
the beta testing for that app next week, if anybody would like to
participate they can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sinclair: How can our readers try the App?
The DALI app was just submitted to the iTunes Store as DALILite.
You can download and try the app for free once it is approved. Of
course to actually interact with the lights you need our DALI four line
The gateway is plug and play, there is no required programming for the
gateway, however you still need to address and group the DALI Line. For
larger sites they can be networked together, and with the DALICloud you
can manage one or multiple sites as one.
For the first DALI line the app is free to use, a DALI line is a
connection of up to 64 lights. We are currently looking for
international distribution partners for the gateway, please email
if you are interested.
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