Mymesh by Prime Light

As Prime Light approaches its 30th birthday, they introduce EM Magazine to Richard Whitbread, UK Co-Director at Mymesh, who tells us about the future of lighting controls and its wireless infrastructure controls system Mymesh.

Can you explain what a ‘wireless infrastructure’ is and tell us a bit more about Mymesh?

Mymesh started in the 1980s as an industrial Internet of Things (IoT). It’s a robust radio-agnostic protocol that provides a wireless infrastructure. What this means in real terms is that it enables machines to talk to each other on any wireless frequency including (2.4GHZ) and 868 MHz so they can work together as a centrally controlled network. To date, this protocol has been primarily used for lighting controls as it’s the obvious place to utilise it; you’ll always have lights, they’re tucked away in a ceiling and have a constant source of power – so they make the perfect network. But the protocol has much broader uses and can transform your building into a smart building.

How easy is it to bolt these additional smart building solutions into the network?

With Mymesh it’s incredibly easy as the protocol’s already there, so you have an existing network in the building. You simply get power to the new sensor and drag it onto the network using a tablet. We’re working with lots of partners who are adopting our protocol on their hardware, so there will be even more options in the future.

What insight can you give us into the future of lighting controls?

To be honest, it’s much more about smart buildings these days, but with lighting controls as the backbone. Lighting controls are always going to be important as around 90 percent of buildings need one. But if you put a lighting control system in, then you can improve the intelligence of your building in so many other ways. You’ll not only have this efficient lighting network, but you can then add in things like air quality sensors, leak detection, daylight harvesting, automatic blinds, and much more. There are so many devices being brought to market to work on these networks, the future opportunities are limitless. Essentially if you’ve got a sensor and you can give us a signal, we can put it on our network.

With increasing cybercrime, isn’t security a big concern when it comes to lighting controls and smart building networks

Security is a massive concern for our customers as imagine being responsible for a major shopping centre or hospital and someone hacks your system, turns off the lights, and plunges everywhere into darkness. It could prove lethal! We have developed Mymesh to be a highly secure protocol, with our security keys rotating 10 times every second, providing banking style security.

We are so sure of our security that we have just had it independently verified by the IoT Security Assured scheme and have been awarded level gold.

My biggest piece of advice for anyone considering a smart building solution is to check out the security. I know of other lighting protocols on the market that says, “you only need a phone line to program it”. Well, that’s great, but so does anyone else!

What trends are you currently seeing in terms of customer demands for lighting controls?

Wireless lighting control is a key one people are interested in as it just gives you so much flexibility when you don’t have to install cabling around your building. We’re also seeing a large volume of calls on emergency light monitoring. Due to the regulatory requirements, people are keen to limit their risk and increase efficiency, so the fact you can automate your testing and receive a report each week is a very attractive prospect.

And what trends are you seeing in the wider smart building tech?

As a result of COVID, there’s a huge demand for a ‘people-counting’ capability to plug into the protocol and we’ve just designed a solution for this. I think this will be a real area for growth as people return to workplaces where businesses will be challenged on air handling units and how much air comes into a space. ‘People-counting’ for spaces, rather than just monitoring occupancy is going to be an increasing area of focus for building managers.

Prime Light

+44 (0)20 8968 2000

Images courtesy of Prime Light/Mymesh