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DALI China Summit preview: Interview with DALI Alliance General Manager

March 22, 2022

The 3rd DALI Alliance China Summit, which takes place in Xi'an on April 21, 2022, is jointly organized by the First Design all-media platform and the DALI Alliance.  This year's theme is "DALI-2: A New Era of Smart Lighting Connectivity." 

Before the opening of the forum, First Design invited Paul Drosihn, General Manager of the DALI Alliance, to discuss recent developments and future opportunities. 

专访 | Paul Drosihn:跨越里程碑,DALI-2引领智能照明互联互通新时代
Interview | Paul Drosihn: Passing milestones, DALI-2 leads the new era of intelligent lighting connectivity
>> View the complete article in Chinese and English on the DALI Alliance WeChat channel


FIRST DESIGN: First of all, in the recent past, we were pleased to see that DALI Alliance reach a new milestone: the number of DALI alliance members has reached 300, and the number of DALI 2-certified products has reached 2,000. In such an exciting moment, would you please review the important achievements DALI Alliance has made in the past?

PAUL DROSIHN: These two milestones are very important for the DALI Alliance. The growth in our membership to more than 300 companies demonstrates that we enjoy strong support from the global lighting industry. It also shows the growth in awareness of DALI as the leading globally standardized protocol for smart lighting. We have many members in China, and in 2021 we launched a dedicated China Focus Group (DALI-CFG) to continue to promote the benefits of DALI in the Chinese lighting market. This group represents the DALI Alliance at important tradeshows and conferences, and has also written a Chinese-language DALI Handbook.

One of the main reasons for creating the DALI Alliance was to introduce a DALI-2 certification program for standardized, interoperable lighting-control products. In just over four years we passed the milestone of 2,000 DALI-2 certified devices, including LED drivers, application controllers, sensors, bus power supplies and other device types that are required to build complete DALI systems. All DALI-2 devices are listed in our database, which offers a choice of compatible products from different suppliers, and enables future-proof designs and supply-chain security.

As the DALI-2 program evolves, many new features have been added, including colour control; sensors and other input devices; control gear for emergency lighting; and data specifications that enable LED drivers to store and report a broad range of luminaire, energy and diagnostics data.


FIRST DESIGN: New milestone also means the beginning of new challenges. Where will DALI Alliance focus its development in next phase? What are the foreseeable opportunities and challenges in the implementation process?

PAUL DROSIHN: The DALI Alliance constantly works to enhance and extend its certification programs. One current challenge is to introduce DALI-2 certification of wireless-to-DALI gateways, as well as building a new “DALI+ with Thread” certification program (see the next question for more details).

Alongside new developments, we also have the challenge to explain the wide-ranging benefits of DALI, compared to other technologies and protocols. We see opportunities to promote DALI’s relevance for emerging trends such as sustainable lighting, wellbeing, the availability of data, and connectivity and networking. We also see many opportunities to work with liaison partners, such as other industry organizations and standards groups, to ensure that DALI developments are aligned with the needs of the lighting market.


FIRST DESIGN: In the middle of last year, the DALI Alliance launched a new "DALI+ " brand dedicated to promoting DALI's wireless support. Could you please introduce this new technology to us, including its application scenarios, technical advantages and market promotion progress (or plan)?

PAUL DROSIHN: The introduction of DALI+ is part of the DALI Alliance’s efforts to combine DALI with wireless networking. Until now, the DALI communication protocol has used a pair of wires to transfer the DALI commands from device to device. The DALI Alliance wants to provide the market with different connectivity choices, including both wired and wireless options. One approach is to develop standardized gateways that allow DALI devices to participate in existing wireless ecosystems, such as Bluetooth mesh and Zigbee.

Separately, DALI+ was introduced as a new brand for wireless DALI and DALI over IP-based networks. DALI+ devices communicate using existing DALI commands, but these are carried over a wireless or IP-based medium. DALI+ builds on the proven and sophisticated DALI lighting-control features in wired (DALI-2 and D4i) options, and offers access to the same rich set of data from LED drivers, luminaires and sensors. However, DALI+ also brings benefits including enhanced addressing features, and optimized connectivity with other systems. When coupled with wired DALI installations, DALI+ will add flexibility for projects whilst maintaining the standardized, interoperable and future-proofed premise.

The DALI Alliance is now developing the first certification program for interoperable DALI+ devices, using Thread – a low-power, IP-based, wireless-mesh networking protocol – as the carrier.


FIRST DESIGN: Promoting green energy conservation has been an important and ongoing goal of DALI's development and improvement. In the context of global efforts to conserve energy and reduce emissions and China's stated goal of carbon neutrality and carbon peak, do you think DALI will have a broader opportunity for development in China? In view of the development of the Chinese market, what will DALI's subsequent layout and input be?

PAUL DROSIHN: We believe that DALI lighting control can play an important role in the global drive for sustainable lighting and reduced carbon footprint. Adopting a digital lighting-control protocol based on international standards will position China to benefit from reduced energy usage and future-proof designs. 

The switch to LED lighting combined with basic lighting control techniques can quickly reduce overall energy usage. Further savings can be achieved using DALI-based sensors, for example to turn on the lights only when a space is occupied, or to dim the artificial lighting when daylight levels are higher. Of course, this level of control also contributes to the wellbeing and productivity of staff. In addition, DALI can measure and report the energy consumption of devices, allowing energy savings to be accurately quantified.

As well as energy savings, the DALI-2 certification program enables future-proof and sustainable luminaire designs. DALI-2 provides an ecosystem of interoperable components from multiple suppliers, ensuring that compatible devices will be available over the long term. Standardization enables luminaires to be upgraded easily by changing components, rather than by building a new luminaire. One example is adding a new sensor or communication module to a luminaire using a standardized Zhaga-D4i socket.


FIRST DESIGN: Finally, the third DALI China Summit will be officially held in Xi 'an, China in April this year. After the communication and development of the past two summits, the DALI China Summit has become an important platform for the communication, promotion and implementation of the DALI and DALI-2 in the Chinese market. What new expectations do you have for the 3rd DALI China Summit? Also, please send your message to the upcoming forum.

PAUL DROSIHN: Based on the excellent quality of the past two events, the DALI Alliance has very high hopes for the 3rd DALI China Summit. This is one of the most important ways for us to interact with key players in China’s lighting market and explain the latest DALI developments. It is also vital for us to collect feedback from visitors so that we can make improvements for the benefit of the entire global DALI community.

The DALI Alliance wishes great success to the organizers, speakers, visitors and sponsors of the 3rd DALI China Summit.