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How many marketeers does it take to install connected lighting?

 

July, 2018

After we demonstrated Interact Pro to some Electrical Contractors – one of them made the bold claim that it was “so simple, even a trained monkey could install it” …

 

Normally people consider this just an expression. A throwaway comment. Obviously, the zoo wasn’t going to let us borrow an orangutan to test the theory. But some bright spark decided the next best thing was to see whether a couple of total novices would be able to do it. And when you need to find someone with a complete lack of technical ability they decided marketing was the best place to start. Quite rude I thought, but in my case it is somewhat difficult to argue with. To put it another way, asking me to wire a plug will have the same results as you asking me to land on the moon. Either nothing or a blinding flash of light followed by a trip to hospital.

 

Ignorance, they say, is bliss. I’m not so sure… but just a week later myself and another colleague from marketing went over to a small office in Farnham to install an Interact Pro connected lighting system.

Immediately there was an surprise, albeit a good one, as we went to switch out the LED T8 tubes, sensors and switches – an electrician already very kindly fitted them for us. Good thing too as I thought replacement starters were just end caps and would have thrown them in the bin.  Once they had been plugged in the lights turns on and off without the gateway even installed. Nice to know that even if I messed up the commissioning, they would still have office lighting - I could breathe a little easier.

 

Then came the gateway; and, what turned out to be, not my finest moment. LAN cable to connect the router to the Interact Pro Gateway – Check. Gateway plugged in – Check. Scanned the QR code on the gateway as per the instructions – failed. Tried again – failed. What followed was 5 minutes of confusion and swearing profusely as I struggled to comprehend why it wouldn’t work. Only for my colleague to wander over and point out that while I had plugged the gateway in… I hadn’t actually turned the power on. Oh the shame. Surprise surprise, it worked first time when it had electricity.

 

The rest really was child’s play as I followed the instructions on the app– although probably worth mentioning that children are pretty handy with apps and smartphones these days, but you know what I mean. Press the button ‘discover lights’ and the phone whirred away for a few minutes and discovered the lights. Created 3 groups – kitchen, Main office and meeting room. Then tap a light so it flashes to tell you which one it is and assign it to a room. Simples (best meerkat impression). Handy tip though – don’t tap too many at once otherwise you will turn the office into some sort of weird formal disco.

Adding the switches and sensors too was a case of following instructions – and even I can manage that. For now though, what we are doing (at the request of the building owner) is not adding scheduling and behaviours yet. He wants to understand what his energy saving from fluorescent to LED is and then how much extra the controls element saves him. So we will leave him using the system as it stands at the moment and then in a month’s time we will head back to make some recommendations.

 

As the ‘installer’ I can log in to the app and the portal to make these recommendations and monitor his system health from the comfort of my office. Part two of this blog will be on exactly that and I will add a link here when that is available.

 

In response then to how simple Interact Pro is to install – for an Electrical Contractor or Installer who has fitted any lighting before, it’s exactly the same. What is much easier than other systems is the controls element. It’s intuitive, easy to understand and yes, even I could do it. Which means if you were put off existing controls systems because of complexity or the need to add signal cables like DALI then this opens up a host of new possibilities.

 

If you want to learn more about Interact Pro – visit the webpage to find our video and installer guide

 

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