Stuart Tickle, Managing Director of AWE, discusses the opportunity that the smart home market offers electricians and explains the ways in which training can help.
A smart home has become a reality for many people. As products have become more affordable, it is no longer just for the rich and famous. Homeowners are upscaling their properties to benefit from the latest smart home systems, and they need someone to install these for them. Proactive and market conscious electricians could benefit from this upsurge in business.
A great place for electricians to start, and an area that is also attractive to end users, is lighting control. These systems provide great functionality to an end user, whilst also reducing energy usage.
Lighting control systems are capable of creating stunning effects at the touch of a button and providing eye-catching lighting scenes to reﬂect the mood of the environment. These systems can control lighting, heating, cooling and blinds automatically or from the touch of a button.
Always in Control
AWE distributes Philips Dynalite, a sophisticated lighting controls system. The Philips Dynalite Antumbra display is a stylish user interface panel that redefines the concept of minimalist chic. Rather than traditional hard buttons or light switches, Antumbra is unique in that the entire faceplate has many different touch control points. Different colour finish options are available for the fascia and rim, all of which can be mixed and matched to suit your requirements.
Antumbra incorporates a LED display that provides real time feedback on a home system, such as room temperature and current lighting scene, including for example the status of outside lighting.
Via field effects technology, the display automatically detects a person’s presence, waking up the control panel. An internal light sensor will ensure the wall wash effect is adjusted to the appropriate level.
Education is vital for electricians who are interested in moving into this industry. Just as a plumber wouldn’t install a new bathroom without training, an electrician shouldn’t install any professional smart home products without the required level of training. AWE provides award-winning training via the AWE Smart Home Academy. The training courses have been developed to promote best practice in smart home installations.
The Foundation Workshop is a great place to start for electricians as it focuses the fundamentals of smart home installations. Uniquely, as well as important background and theory, there is a heavy bias towards the essential skills and knowledge required for a variety of tasks that electricians will be faced with on a regular basis in a hands on workshop. Starting with basic health and safety advice and do’s and don’ts of smart home installation, the full day course then progresses into the practical sessions.
The Lighting Control System Design with Philips Dynalite course is aimed at electricians either new to lighting control or those looking to diversify their product portfolio. This one-day introductory training module covers lighting control fundamental basics required for an accurate design of a lighting control system, giving the students the template to become a confident designer using the Dynalite architecture.
For those electricians who want to take their skillset to the next level, the Philips Dynalite Envision Project Level 1 & 2 course will take them through the commissioning process using Philips Dynalite’s improved software tool. Over two days, students will learn how to configure each feature of the Dynalite system and to tailor each programmable asset to suit a customer’s given requests.
Paul Knott, owner of PowerPlus www.powerplusgbltd.co.uk
What made you venture into smart home install and what educational steps did you take to get there?
Powerplus has been carrying out installation of basic lighting systems for a long time. Since we were introduced to the Philips Dynalite system by AWE, we have been fully trained by them on lighting control and Dynalite, and are now installing the system into a range of different installations.
How has adding smart home install into your expertise helped your business?
It has allowed us to expand our business, providing us with more opportunities.
How important is it for electricians to be knowledgeable on smart home technology?
I believe that it is becoming very important to understand this way of installation as this is the direction that the industry is going.
What advice would you give other electricians in making their way into the smart home industry?
Don’t be scared of change. Spend some time understanding the systems available and attend the training courses. This will change your outlook on how lighting installations will be carried out in the future.