Australia's leading lighting control specialists keep things bright Down Under
For the professionals at Automated, life is how you light it. Thanks to their work, a litany of places throughout Australia and New Zealand have atmospheres enhanced by carefully, intelligently, and beautifully composed lighting designs. And, the more complex and challenging the task, the better Joseph Joukhadar and his team of bright bulbs like it.
As the company’s Managing Director, Joukhadar has built Automated into the premier lighting control enterprise in the region. As an electrical contractor in 1996, he found himself looking for a higher level of excitement in his work. He found it in the world of lighting technology.
“I was using Windows XP to start programming automation controls like PLCs (programmable logic controllers) with Philips Dynalite, working as a contractor,” he recently explained to VENTURE. “They were very new in the market at the time, and there weren’t many people in the space, so there were a lot of opportunities.”
In just six months — which felt like an eternity for the enterprising and creative young technician — he’d laid the groundwork for today’s award-winning Automated. The company markets and installs Philips Dynalite, Philips PerfectPlay sports lighting, Lutron, and Rapix products and controllers.
Automated’s highly trained staff of lighting specialists has put together some of the region’s most interesting and alluring projects, vaulting it into the international spotlight as winner of the Most Intelligent Project 2018 awarded by Signify, a world-leading developer of connected LED-lighting systems, software, and services. “Winning that award this year meant a lot to all of us because everything we do is all teamwork,” Joukhadar enthused.
If you’ve never heard of the Signify Summit, hold on to your hat: It is an illustrious gathering of hundreds of the best and brightest technology providers around the globe. Automated took the top spot for projects executed in the office and industry space with a state-of-the-art lighting scheme created for one of Australia’s first smart homes designed specifically for elder care, Thomas Holt’s Flame Tree facility.
According to Automated, the “centerpiece of the transformation was the technology founded on personal connections between both the members and staff working with ease, security, and comfort of the elderly residents.” The project, Joukhadar noted, was a company first.
“The project was the first we've done with human-centric lighting,” he said. “It is lighting in a way that is called ‘reciprocating the sun.’ It reflects what's happening outside; therefore, when you wake up in the morning and the light has a certain lux, your eyes adjust to it and your body adjusts as well. During the day (the indoor lighting) increases in lux, and during the night it reduces back into the low level of lux to get your body ready for sleep.”
The 24-hour system uses a suite of recipes based on outdoor lux levels that gradually shift as the sun’s light strengthens and fades. “It's not just for residences and care homes,” Joukhadar stressed. “We're seeing it now in boardrooms, and we’re seeing it in offices. There’s an amazing amount of difference in the amount of productivity you can get out of employees because they feel a lot better and more alert. They work a lot better based on the lux that are produced instead of just working under typical lighting all day.
“You could not fathom this five or 10 years ago, at all. It's slowly taking off on its own, seriously improving people's lives and their health just through the use of lighting. It makes for safer spaces and bolder visual content as well. It’s going to be improving learning, increasing concentration and performance.”
In the 22 years since establishing the firm, Joukhadar has seen lighting control technology completely reinvented, from incandescent to LED, halogen, RGB-LED, and laser lights. While the actual wiring technology hasn’t changed significantly, lighting controllers have shifted from requiring on-site human intervention to enabling control from nearly any remote site, thanks to cloud computing.
“If a computer crashes for whatever reason, you can replace it because everything is stored in the cloud. The best thing about it is that no matter where your project is, whether it's in Australia or worldwide, you can control it, whereas back in the day if somebody needed to change, code, or monitor something you physically had to be there,” he said. “There’s great cost benefit for the customer and it's great for time management for us. We're able to do more projects now than we could before and it takes less of our technicians’ very valuable time.”
Customers turn to Automated for one of the most precious commodities in today’s increasingly complex and fast-paced environments: simplicity. “They are looking for a system that maintains itself and that's user-friendly,” Joukhadar said. Building managers simply don’t have time to pore over hundreds of pages of documentation on the functionality of a space and how the lighting is set up. “Now everything is already done for you. User-friendly control should also be simple, so our systems do all our customers’ thinking for them,” he said. “On the service side, we know that if there’s any job a person jumps on — for whatever reason — they can easily understand the logic behind what's there. And again, it's been simplified. We don't overcomplicate anything.”
Automated is a service-focused operation where the customers come first, and that dedication to service is enabling the firm to set its sights on an expansion plan that includes opening offices around the globe. In addition to Australia and New Zealand, Automated also conducts business in Vietnam.
“Our company is built on passion,” Joukhadar said. “Lighting automation and lighting control technology runs through our veins. Our team at Automated share the same values, so it's not just a job for us.
It is surreal to think how far we have come with lighting control in today’s market. As the leader in an innovative industry I can guarantee that in order to stay ahead of the pack we have to embrace technology of the future by planning what’s to come in five years’ time and taking measures to be proactive and ready to dominate.”