The heart of the lighting control center is typically a web-enabled server,, a workstation with a GUI interface, and client software applications for system administration. The lighting control system may be interconnected to other facility technology systems, such as shading or the HVAC system. The networked system allows any authorized individual, including tenants or other occupants, to adjust their lighting through the network or a web browser.
One approach to the lighting control system is the use of intelligent controllers These controllers are distributed throughout a facility, house system electronics, and manage downstream relay panels. The controllers and the system server are networked via an Ethernet network, usually sharing schedules and overrides. The controller may have a user interface panel, which can be used instead of a system workstation, to program and monitor the lighting control system.
System controllers may be modular to allow for growth. The controller may also have several communications interfaces such as an Ethernet port, and ports for RS-232 and RS-485 communications. The system controller communicates with each of the panels through an Ethernet connection, or a BACnet, LonTalk or Modbus protocol that is routed to a larger IP network.
Another emerging networking strategy for lighting control systems is distribution of the intelligence and control further downstream to each device by providing a network interface for each device, such as a lighting ballast. This approach centralizes the control to the network server and allows for network interfaces to specific devices.