Colleges and universities that want to integrate the operation of as many pieces of their campus technology have increasingly diverse options for doing so. From one dashboard administrators can control the lighting and devices of an entire facility, if they wish, allowing them to create and implement a money- and energy-saving plan for their school.
The messages may vary from “Projector lamp is approaching 1900 hours in the B Building West videoconferencing room,” to “Temperature is unusual on the fifth floor,” or “The band room requires less lighting,” but across many industries, the way to control and automate, as well as respond to, these situations is becoming more standardized and streamlined through control and automation systems.
Control and automation is a general term for the use of machinery and technology to replicate a task to be done many times a day in one location, at the same time in a multitude of locations, or both. What gets controlled is lighting, heating and air conditioning, security cameras and notifications, and audio/visual components like DVD players, videoconferencing systems and music. Anything with an on/off switch in an environment such as a hospital, office building, college campus, hotel, or house of worship can be put on a network, automated, monitored and also tracked for efficiency reports.
Historically, control is the machinery an employee uses to complete a task. A remote control at home turns on and off the television. A light switch turns on and off the lights. “You never know if any of those things are on or off unless you’re actually in the room,” says Titus Sam, AMX Director, National Accounts. “The concept of control is the ability to show the status of these devices on a dashboard, whether that is on your iPhone, your computer or any tablet device. From the dashboard, you can also turn these items off and on remotely.”
Control allows for a group of peripheral devices to be controlled centrally from a single interface and allows for distant remote controllability and dashboard views of each device. Automation refers to reducing the workflow; it streamlines mundane or repetitive tasks. “For example, a building is automated to turn all the lights off at a certain time in certain zones,” says Cheryl Krasho, Crestron Regional Sales Manager. “The various zones for the lighting of a whole building are controlled and viewed on one central interface.” Control takes automation to the next step.
If a company has a weekly videoconference with another branch across the country, the control aspect of it would be that this videoconference doesn’t start until a certain event occurs. The event can be scheduled to happen at a certain time or when a meeting leader