Automated Lighting Consoles

in Buyer's Guide

For a PDF of the August 2009 PLSN Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE.

(Note: The data gathered this month was extensive and required significant editing. For a PDF with the full data gathered for the August 2009 Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE.) 

You’re probably familiar with Moore’s law — that computer power doubles approximately every two years — but you may not be familiar with Groves’ law: network bandwidth doubles approximately every century. That was Intel founder Andy Groves’ tongue-in-cheek swipe at the slow pace of networking technology. But that’s all about to change.

Networks are no longer the bottleneck they one were. There are reports that network speeds have reached as high as 13 gigabits per second. Given the level of processing power in the typical laptop computer and the substantial growth in bandwidth and networking speed, cataclysmic changes are about to ball up and rain on us. Cloud computing, grid computing, and utility computing are all changing the way we use computers and software.

What does this have to do with you, the lighting industry’s answer to Michael Jordan in his heyday?

Soon you’ll be slam-dunking networked lighting consoles from the free throw line. Wherever computer technology goes, so lighting technology follows. We’re at the cusp of major changes at the FOH.

In the last five years, ESTA has published DMX512-A, RDM, and ACN. By the time you read this there’s a good chance that E1.31 Lightweight Streaming Protocol for the Transport of DMX512 over ACN will be on the street. It has been approved as an ANSI standard and it is waiting to be published at the time of this writing. Now instead of having to choose between various proprietary DMX-to-Ethernet protocols, there will be one industry standard. Next comes the work on streaming RDM over ACN. And after that, only time will tell where this will all take us.

In the meanwhile there are lots of new consoles with and without networking capability. Depending on your needs, there is a console that will fit the application. This month’s Buyers Guide on automated lighting consoles is a sample of the latest offerings from a variety of manufacturers. Enjoy.