Remote Controlled Lighting (RCL)‘s recently-launched lighting controls iPad app, iDirect, has been received with great acclaim. The new app, which replaces the complicated sliders and switches on conventional controls with a simple-to-operate touchscreen, has won a host of industry awards and praise from designers and architects. iDirect controls the intensity and direction of RCL’s lights in pan and tilt, using innovative features such as Light Plans and the Gesture Pad to control luminaires individually or in groups.
Judges at the 2013 Lighting Design Awards described iDirect as a “great innovation that brings together knowledge and understanding, technology and creativity to solve a practical requirement”. Furthermore, BDP’s lighting director, Mark Ridler, wrote in a recent review: “For years, lighting designers have been asking for lighting controls to be as intuitive as an iPad and, now, here is one that is.”
The app was also commended at the recent Retail Lighting and Energy Conference, where products were submitted for scrutiny by a panel of judges. iDirect was declared the winner on the day, with the system proving a hit with all four judges. More recently, the Lighting Directory selected iDirect as its Product of the Month for June.
The Gesture Pad in iDirect offers a clean, user-friendly interface that anyone can learn how to use in just a few minutes. Much like using the trackpad on a laptop to control the cursor on its screen, iDirect uses simple gestures to control the movement of RCL’s portfolio of luminaires.
One main advantage of the system is that it allows the user to focus on the light’s beam rather than the device itself. To assist with aiming, multi-touch gestures can be used for fine-tuning. Alternatively, the Axis Lock feature can be switched on to restrict movement in the X- or Y-axis. The Gesture Pad is also where the intensity of individual fittings can be adjusted – ideal for projects that require varied light levels within a space.
As well as controlling lights individually, it is also possible to adjust groups of fixtures simultaneously within the app. When lights are added to iDirect, they are automatically allocated to an area that has been preselected by the user.
Areas can represent individual rooms or a section of a room, depending on the requirements of the operator. For each area that the user creates, a dimmer panel is also added to the centralised dimming section. Using these panels, the intensity level for an entire area can be controlled from a single location.
iDirect also features a Scenes section, which offers the user the ability to record and recall bespoke lighting schemes. Creating a scene within the app is easy – once luminaires have been adjusted, the user simply taps a button within the Scenes section, adds a description and chooses which areas to include in the scene.
The settings for the individual lights are saved and can then be recalled at any time with the touch of a button. There is no restriction on the number of scenes that can be created and as descriptions – not numbers – are employed for identification, the whole system is accessible.
To help manage lights once they have been added to the iDirect system, RCL has created Light Tables, with each luminaire represented by a tile. Tiles feature an image of the fitting and can be individually named to help with identification.
“Light Tables are great for smaller projects or where the number of lights is limited,” explains RCL’s creative manager, Simon Harrison-Wallace, who designed the app’s interface. “However for larger projects, Light Tables aren’t always practical, so that’s why we have also introduced Light Plans.”
Light Plans are an entirely new concept in spotlight selection. For the first time, lights can be overlaid on to a reflected ceiling plan, which has been imported by the user. “Being able to select a light from a reflected ceiling plan takes the guesswork out of spotlight selection,” Simon adds.
“The best thing though, is that everything is done within the app. Once a Light Plan has been imported, users can place their lights exactly where they want. Using multi-touch gestures, it’s easy to navigate around the display or zoom in and out and because the plans are vector-based they always remain sharp.”
RCL has made its name as the only company in the world to specialise in the design and manufacturing of low-cost remote controlled lights. The company was founded as a solution to solve a common problem – that aiming spotlights mounted on high ceilings is both difficult and time consuming.
For over 10 years, RCL’s patented Select & Direct technology has offered an alternative to using ladders, mechanical lifts or scaffolding to adjust lights by hand. iDirect takes lighting controls to the next level, combining the latest in remote-controlled technology with a simple interface that anyone can use.
RCL’s founder, Joe Ruston, explains: “For over a decade, RCL’s handheld controller has offered a practical solution to a common issue – however, technologies and applications have now evolved. iDirect offers the next generation of lighting management and control for moving lights in a package that is both affordable and simple to use.”