[To download the Feb. 2011 Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE .]
The raw data submitted for this month's Buyers Guide - which added up to much more info than we were able to include in the printed issue - can be viewed here .
If you want to follow the lighting industry, a good place to start is to take a close look at automated lighting console specs. Not only is control of automated lighting one of the fastest-moving areas of the industry, it's also an area that is touched by almost every other fast moving area of development, including LEDs, video, networking, wireless, new protocols and more.Take, for example, features like sACN (Lightweight Streaming of DMX over ACN), CITP (Controller Interface Transport Protocol), MSEX (Media Server Extension) and RDM (Remote Device Management). All of these are new protocols that have been introduced in the lighting industry in the past few years or so. Some have to do with networking, increased bandwidth, bi-directional communication and faster hardware, while others have to do with the extensive use of video and media servers. Other features like iPhone and Android apps have appeared more recently to take advantage of the growing number of Internet appliances. Perhaps slightly less apparent is the progress made in the area of previsualization, off-line editors and lighting design software because words just don't do them justice.
Automated lighting console technology is a good indicator of the direction the industry is moving and how the manufacturers are responding to its needs. As you peruse the Buyer's Guide on automated lighting, think about how far and fast lighting consoles have developed over the past few years and how fast technology is developing today. Then think about where it will take us over the next few years. As Rear Admiral Grace Hopper told Morley Safer about computers on 60 Minutes in 1982, "We're just getting started. We're just beginning to meet what we will be doing in the future."