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Will new wireless lighting management system help the Cubs win?

December 19, 2015 - Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, is undergoing major expansion and restoration “to ensure the viability of the ballpark for future generations of Cubs fans”. Known as the 1060 Project, the 4-year upgrade plan includes structural upgrades, improved player facilities, new fan amenities, outfield signage, expanded concessions, new and improved restroom facilities, and more. And, as you can imagine, there’s going to be a lot of lighting—some new, some legacy—and all of it requiring control.

December 19, 2015  By  Anthony Capkun

So how do you control all that lighting?

Project stakeholders settled on a wireless lighting control backbone from Ideal Industries called Audacy that promises to connect virtually any new or legacy lighting fixture to a secure cloud-based operating platform.

“We’ll be able to easily set lighting parameters for optimal impact and energy conservation in almost every venue across Wrigley Field,” said Carl Rice, VP of the 1060 Project. “What’s more, we can easily make adjustments based on event type, game delays and energy usage patterns from a tablet or mobile phone.”

The Cubs will also have the ability to automatically monitor and report on energy usage to city, state and federal agencies, Rice added.

Audacy will be installed first in the new 30,000-sf clubhouse and fitness facility for the Cubs (being constructed behind the 3rd Base grandstand), scheduled to open in April 2016 for the team’s home opener.

According to Ideal, the Audacy wireless system can reduce energy use from lighting by up to 50% for almost any space type—e.g. office, retail, multi-use and institutional buildings—and is simple to install in large-scale retrofit and new construction projects. The same technology, adds the company, has been integrated in large-scale HVAC applications at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., and the Stanford University technology hub.

The system provides wireless control via an iOS or Android phone or tablet app over multi-building lighting systems while automatically sensing and adjusting to ambient light, movement and room occupancy to maintain desired settings—all while being virtually maintenance free, says Ideal.

“Our push-in wire termination expertise combined with our 915 MHz wireless technology makes it incredibly easy for facilities managers and building owners to deploy advanced lighting control solutions that had previously been difficult to implement and unreliable to manage,” said Nolan Bello, business unit manager, Advanced Wireless Solutions with Ideal. “Audacy was designed to make wireless control extremely simple to install, configure and operate while delivering effective, reliable results.”

Jim James, Ideal’s chair and CEO, explained Audacy exploits the company’s “push-in wire termination expertise and a proprietary, patented wireless technology that can extend the life of battery-powered devices, such as sensors and switches, to 25 years with a more secure transmission and significantly extended range”.

Over the next several years, the 1060 Project team will install Audacy sensors, control units, gateways and reporting components into team facilities, retail spaces, entertainment clubs and suites throughout the ballpark.

“The Audacy system will be integrated throughout the ballpark and will be evaluated for potential inclusion in the office building and entertainment plaza adjacent to Wrigley Field,” said James, adding, “There is tremendous global demand for superior energy management systems that enable facilities executives and design engineers to drive down both installation and operating costs across large-scale projects.”

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