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Interview with Paul Drosihn: DALI China Summit preview

DALI Continues to Cultivate the Chinese Market and Concentrates on the New Era of Wireless Internet

March 8, 2023

In the build-up to the Fourth DALI China Summit, First Design interviewed Paul Drosihn, DALI Alliance General Manager. 

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FIRST DESIGN: COVID-19 has completely changed people's lifestyle and consumption habits, and has brought revolutionary impact on the design of various places. In the future, more attention will be paid to the needs of safety, health, culture, environmental protection and other aspects. First Design believes that this change will be a profitable trend for DALI Alliance. How do you see this opportunity?

PAUL DROSIHN: The pandemic had a major effect on shared working spaces such as office buildings, and caused many building operators to look towards smart building technologies. Lighting control networks based on DALI are able to save energy through the use of sensors to switch the lights off when there are no occupants, or when there is enough daylight. DALI can also control the light colour to mimic changes in natural light throughout the day, which brings many health benefits to occupants.
Also, a DALI lighting network can easily be reconfigured using software changes, rather than rewiring. This provides great flexibility and allows changes to the layout on the office space, for example to accommodate the disruption caused by varying work patterns during the pandemic.

FD: It is reported that DALI Alliance will launch the wireless DALI Gateway and DALI+ with Thread authentication program in early 2023. Please tell us about this new authentication program, its application scenarios, technical advantages, and marketing plans.

PD: Yes, the DALI Alliance is developing different options to combine wireless networking with all the existing benefits of DALI lighting control. In 2023, we will extend our existing DALI-2 certification program to include “Wireless-to-DALI Gateways”. These gateways enable existing wired DALI lighting products to be used in non-DALI wireless ecosystems. Our specifications support Bluetooth mesh and Zigbee wireless ecosystems.

Separately, we will also launch a new certification program for “DALI+ with Thread” devices. DALI+ devices communicate using existing DALI commands, but these are carried over a wireless and/or IP-based medium rather than the dedicated pair of wires used by DALI-2 and D4i. 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 control gear, luminaires and sensors.

FD: In the past two years, DALI Alliance has made many efforts to expand the Chinese market, such as organizing the DALI Alliance China Summit, setting up China focus groups, and compiling the Chinese version of the DALI handbook.
Do you think the cultural differences between China and Europe have an impact on the market demand for intelligent lighting control and dimming technology? If so, will DALI Alliance adjust its marketing direction and strategies for the Chinese market?

PD: Yes, we agree that there are cultural and market differences between China and Europe. A different approach is required in China, compared with Europe where DALI already enjoys strong market acceptance and has been used in many thousands of lighting projects over several decades.

The DALI Alliance strategy relies on the participation of our China-based member companies, who have already joined together to form the DALI Alliance China Focus Group (CFG). These companies meet together on a regular basis to discuss the important issues in the China market and to agree how to promote DALI through tradeshows, workshops, and other events such as the DALI China Summit.

FD: First Design has been collaborating with DALI Alliance for more than three years, and we are about to host the fourth DALI Alliance China Summit in Shenzhen, China.

At present, DALI Alliance has been successfully promoted in China, and more and more design institutions and business owners in China have begun to apply DALI technology to their projects. However, we have also found that designers prefer to understand the benefits of DALI's technology through the application of scenario cases. Does the DALI Alliance consider promoting DALI technology by sharing more design examples?

PD: There is no doubt that design examples and case studies are a very valuable tool to explain the benefits of using DALI and to encourage further discussion. We welcome all companies, whether or not they are members of the DALI Alliance, to share their design examples with us. We already show some of these projects on our WeChat channel. Also, the annual DALI Lighting Awards show many case studies from around the world, including China. The winners of the DALI Lighting Awards 2022 will be announced on March 15th.

FD: Compared with most DALI members, luminaires suppliers using DALI technology will be more directly facing design agencies and users in the market. Will you consider expanding the cooperation between luminaires suppliers and DALI Alliance? If so, have you considered having a plan?

PD: Many luminaire makers are members of the DALI Alliance and participate actively in our activities. Their input is very valuable to help us to understand the needs of the lighting market, based on their interactions with designers and other customers. We welcome all luminaire makers to join the DALI Alliance, and in fact we have a special category of membership, called Community membership. This is free of charge and I open only to luminaire makers.

FD: What new expectations do you have for the 4th DALI Alliance China Summit in Shenzhen? Please send your message for the upcoming forum.

PD: The DALI Alliance is very pleased to continue our highly successful collaboration with First Design, and to bring the DALI China Summit to Shenzhen. The event is a very important method for us to communicate directly with lighting designers in China, and to understand their needs and issues. We send our best wishes to all participants and hope for a very successful show.

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