As a leading lighting control company, Helvar recognises the value that connectivity and software based user interfaces can bring to a lighting installation.

The highly successful designer software already provides a powerful configuration, commissioning and operating tool to users of Helvar's Digidim and Imagine systems. Based on the existing HelvarNet message structure currently used for 3rd party integration, Helvar's software development team has produced the new Helvar Tridium Driver.

The new driver will bring the whole range of Helvar's lighting control system products within the compass of Tridium's renowned Niagara AX framework, allowing systems integrators to directly access Helvar networks. The driver is installed in the modules directory of Niagara AX Workbench and then configured into a Tridium JACE controller or AX Supervisor. The systems integrator can then configure and initiate control and query commands through both the Digidim and Imagine Routers, providing all the benefits of a dedicated Helvar lighting control system within a wider building management system environment. More importantly the user now has access to the lighting controls from the internet, bringing with it all the benefits of remote monitoring using a single M2M (man to machine) interface.

"We are pleased to be partnering with Helvar on the development of this driver", says Tridium's Sales Manager, Phil Barnett. "Tridium's Niagara web-based framework supports OEM applications, allowing the customised construction of dedicated drivers. As a result, Helvar can add value to its customers and, thanks to the power of the Niagara Framework, integrate more quickly and easily within commercial building control systems, where different protocols may be in use."

The Digidim and Imagine Routers already offer clients all the performance and functionality of the DALI protocol including the important role of emergency lighting testing and monitoring. Add the usual lighting control functions of energy saving through movement detection, daylight harvesting and time scheduling, as well as scene setting and the client has a properly managed lighting installation. The Imagine Router adds access to both Helvar's own S-Dim protocol and DMX - the Digital MultipleX standard familiar to the world of entertainment lighting.

The Helvar routers already take advantage of Ethernet connectivity and the use of the TCP/IP protocols. The move towards this technology has not only opened up the possibilities of web access and both wired and wireless connectivity; it has also meant that the lighting controls can use a building's CAT 5 or 6 IT network infrastructure. The reduction and simplification of dedicated control bus networks, lowers costs and increases reliability. The move to further, building wide integration can only extend this process of rationalisation to the ultimate benefit of the client.

The whole range of Helvar addressable lighting and control products - smart sensors, user interfaces, pushbutton panels, dimmers, relay units, ballasts and ballast controllers - can be now be manipulated using the Niagara AX based software with no loss of performance. Lighting is the single most pervasive building service and requires the most intuitive and immediate user controls. The building occupants comfort and safety is highly dependent on the correct operation of the lighting; Helvar system components deliver the full range of control functions - dimming, switching and emergency lighting - with reliability and simplicity.

The benefits of systems integration include lower overall costs, less equipment and better facilities management. In the past Helvar lighting controls have been successfully integrated into sophisticated AV systems, with components from multiple vendors, to create fantastic shows and performances. So the importance of hassle free integration is already well known to Helvar. The new Tridium driver now takes integration to a whole new level allowing Helvar lighting controls to sit alongside access, security, HVAC, monitoring and all the other building management systems found in an intelligent building.

As intelligence (or smart chips) is incorporated into smaller and smaller system components so the challenges of bringing out all the features of individual addressability and 'out-of-the-box' functionality have to be met. A DALI enabled ballast means every light has an individual identity and this is also true for the control sensors. Today the connections between the input and output devices now happen virtually rather than physically. Making these virtual connections is the purpose of supervisory software, like Helvar's Designer suite. Now the Tridium driver opens up this task to a single, overall, software supervisor that is web based and universally accessible. Some of the reliance on dedicated PCs and site based maintenance is removed and the cost of technical support is reduced.

Very few companies have the experience and knowledge of lighting, and its control, that Helvar possesses. In those situations where a fully integrated building management system is specified it is a great comfort to know that now there need be no compromise with the lighting controls. Whether the application is a small business, a chain of retail stores, an office, or a giant cruise liner, the most appropriate Helvar lighting control products can be safely specified and integrated. The Helvar Tridium driver confirms Helvar's commitment to the connected world, and the importance of remote, web based, access to building control systems.

To find out more about the Helvar Tridium Driver, please visit and for the latest updates from Helvar, follow us on Twitter @Helvar_Systems

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