Our time at Strategies in Light 2020 and the Sapphire Awards ceremony can be summed up in one word: unforgettable. We always enjoy attending the conference to hear the latest thoughts and research and to network with our peers. But this year, our hard work, dedication and passion were recognized with two Sapphire Awards for our Cadiant™ Dynamic Lighting Experience – one in the category of Lighting and Wellbeing, and one as Illumineer of the Year.
The Cadiant™ Dynamic Skylight is an industry-first luminaire that recreates the sensation of being under a natural sky for an interior lighting experience that’s as smart as it is visually stunning. Using advanced lighting controls and color-changing technology, the Cadiant™ Dynamic Skylight mimics the actual dawn-to-dusk, east-to-west movement of the sun, helping people create a connection to the natural rhythm of the day.
Creating this award-winning luminaire didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took a team of over 75 people to bring this to life over 4 years. Representing the team effort this project was were two software engineers – Kory Liszt and Bob Rogers, both of whom were recognized as Illumineer of the Year. Here’s what they had to say about how the Cadiant™ Dynamic Lighting Experience came to be…
Where did the idea for the Cadiant™ Dynamic Skylight originate?
Rogers: The original idea for Cadiant™ came out of our Santa Barbara Advanced Technologies group. Demos were put together and our upper management decided to pursue the new fixture. This was a bit of a gamble on their part since the development effort was large and the payoff uncertain. I have great respect for their wisdom to enable our team to chase this down.
How did you get involved working on the Cadiant™ Dynamic Skylight? What was your contribution?
Liszt: From concept to production, I had the privilege to lead the efforts ensuring that we would provide a hand-crafted product at the highest quality to our customers. I was part of a team who would be responsible for designing, understanding and deploying the full system architecture that creates the Cadiant™ Dynamic Lighting Experience. As Bob mentioned, the team in Durham was essentially given the fixture concept of a skylight from Santa Barbara and our task was to determine how to make all the pieces from LEDs, drivers, communications, algorithms and user interfaces fit together to create a new and innovative experience for our customers.
Rogers: I had been working on a new device in our lighting networks that allowed for a gateway to be added to the network for the purpose of gathering energy data (and other data) from the fixtures, as well as serving as an alternate control input for the system. The bits and pieces added to support these functions lent themselves readily to the idea of controlling the Cadiant™ luminaire. New to the equation was the need for a tablet as a user control surface that would speak to the gateway, which led to the need for a wireless gateway. Our engineers took the existing code on the gateway and added it to the wireless gateway, along with special code to support the Cadiant™ fixture along with several major architectural improvements to the gateway software. In the end, we had a new set of light drivers speaking to a new gateway through a new, more powerful endpoint radio, which spoke to a new wireless gateway, which spoke to a new tablet running a new and specialized user interface for the Cadiant™ Dynamic Skylight.
What was the first step to making Cadiant™ a reality?
Liszt: For two months, a couple of engineers and I sat in front of a wall of white boards trying to answer the question of how do we create a dynamic experience with this new technology that will change the way we think about light? During these long days, in front of those white boards, concepts like dynamic lighting profiles, command synchronization, sun and sky performance ratios, and customizable experiences were born. It took the entire engineering team’s unwavering commitment to make these concepts a reality. From the LED designers to the Software Engineers, Mechanical Engineers to Reliability Engineers, Systems Engineers to Marketing, everyone played a crucial role in bringing the Cadiant™ Dynamic Lighting Experience to life.
What were the challenges of bringing Cadiant™ to life?
Rogers: Integrating the individual pieces of hardware, firmware and software into a working system was the challenge, withrequirements being tweaked as the software grew. Many small teams of engineers were involved directly in the effort, and all deserve tremendous credit for bringing the Cadiant™ fixture to market.
How do you feel now that you’ve won the Illumineer of the Year award for Cadiant™?
Rogers: Working on Cadiant™ was one of the best team efforts I have witnessed in a long career. I was happy just to be considered to represent the team for the award, but winning it allows us to show the team what the LED community thinks of our hard work. This award is for our entire team.
Liszt: The Cadiant system was the most challenging project I have worked on in my career, yet it has definitely been the most rewarding. I am grateful I had the opportunity to be part of a product that could change the way we view light in our environment and hopefully improves our customers’ experiences indoors, bringing the outdoors in. Cree Lighting winning the Illumineer of the Year award proves that if bright, hardworking people come together with a common goal of innovation, great things can be achieved. Our team really did work as a team, relying on each other’s strengths, and this award is a great recognition in the LED community of their achievements. From one engineer we got light, from a team of engineers we got an experience.