Pharos Architectural Controls is an award-winning British manufacturer of dynamic lighting control solutions for architecture and other specialist industries. Its products are highly flexible, versatile, and powerful, providing dynamic lighting control solutions for everything from a simple indoor lighting installation to the façade lighting of a whole city, including both colored and white lighting. The easy-to-use and adaptable controls deliver the power and flexibility to meet the needs of any project. 

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Pharos Architectural Controls: Pharos lighting control solutions are installed worldwide, running day and night in landmarks, theme parks, state palaces, shopping malls, art installations, churches, museums, airports, stadiums, bridges, national monuments, and more.

Their extensive and expert product portfolio includes hardware solutions – controllers, wall stations, remote device and accessories – programmed using Pharos’ Designer software.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

Pharos Architectural Controls: Pharos unveiled Expert, a new lighting solution, at this year’s Light + Building exhibition. Expert is an all-new, innovative and straightforward control solution, centered around a single, reliable set and-and-forget controller.

Cleverly designed hardware simplifies installation, and programming software makes commissioning easy. The controller has the ability to guide users through setting up systems with clear, easy to follow Helpers and Walkthroughs.

Expert offers effortless control of decorative and functional lighting, while bringing artistic and dynamic control to even the most complex of lighting designs. Beautiful architecture can be accentuated, welcoming ambient spaces can be created, and stunning colors and movement can dazzle.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

Pharos Architectural Controls: Benefiting from all the expertise Pharos has in dynamic lighting for architecture, the Expert range of Control, Touch, Repeat, Switch and Expert software are designed and built to the same standard of quality and reliability for which Pharos is renowned.

Expert Control is a compact DIN rail enclosure with solid-state hardware for 24-7 operation and reliability. With up to 1024 channels of eDMX, two local DMX ports, a DALI port and two pairs of IO onboard, combined with simple networking for programming, installation-friendly connectors and test mode options, it’s a practical solution for architectural dynamic lighting.

Ease of installation is ensured with just PoE or 9-48VDC for power, coupled with install-friendly rising-clamp connectors. Standard DIN rail fittings and incorporated keyhole hanging options make it easy to position.

The elegant Expert Touch is the accompanying wall station, ideal for projects that require frequent user interaction. The 5” touch screen provides automatically generated pages to access lighting control, based on programming each space, to activate scenes, adjust intensity and reschedule future events.

Expert Repeat is a convenient DMX splitter for output distribution, and Switch delivers PoE networking.

The Expert commissioning software is a brand-new programming platform, redesigned from scratch to provide all the tools clients need. With innovative approaches to scheduling and triggering lighting – and with fixtures, scenes and stations all naturally grouped in their Spaces – Expert software simplifies managing installations, luminaires and lighting design.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

Pharos Architectural Controls: Expert targets a new, up and coming market, positioned between three mature market segments.

LED lighting for architainment – large scale colour-changing installations – is a well-established market, which is served by our existing Designer range. Installations often require high power and fully flexible control solutions to cater for a wide gamut of possibilities but commissioning these projects is a specialism.

Then there are the traditional commercial lighting solutions for switchable and dimmable fixtures. This is very much tailored to how lighting is typically used by people and offers great control logic and overrides.

Lastly, there are the very small-scale control solutions – an RGB LED strip in a cove, or a simple dimmer for a group of fixtures. Ease of setup with minimal commissioning is valued in this market, as the control intent is limited to just one or two groups of fixtures.

We see more installations, both indoor and outdoor, that need to combine elements from these 3 markets: dynamic lighting control, intuitive zoning logic, and a simple way to commission and use the complete system.

And an increasing number of these installations require remote management, particularly local authorities, university site managers and estate owners who want to be able to act on social events. They expect to be able to change the coloured lighting in their buildings across their city or campus without needing to go on site. Using Pharos Cloud technology, Expert can be controlled remotely using best in class security principles.

Expert is perfectly equipped to serve this up-and-coming segment of the lighting control market, by offering innovative lighting control that balances technological advancements with simplicity of use and cost effectiveness. 

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

Pharos Architectural Controls: We are increasingly seeing DMX used for functional lighting, particularly in the US. It’s becoming more common to have DMX on select parts of a project, such as a decorative colour-changing element. We see a need for a controller to handle these applications elegantly, without adding complexity.

We are seeing tunable white DMX fixtures come onto the market and in Europe there’s growth in DALI for white and colour control. There’s demand for control systems that can handle both DMX and DALI interchangeably.

We are seeing growth in projects requiring advanced integration requirements, and our Designer range continues to evolve with these trends. As DALI is used in more applications, the need for show control in DALI applications is growing, which we’re well placed to serve.

Finally, more installations call for remote management to save time, costs and the environment. Security is rightfully a concern for site owners, and we increasingly see IT departments getting involved in projects to understand the benefits Pharos Cloud offers in making systems like Pharos Expert and Pharos Designer remotely manageable in a secure way.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2023?

Pharos Architectural Controls: Expert will be shipping, so we predict an exciting year for Pharos. We expect to gain many new customers for whom Expert is solving a problem and allowing them to deliver a greater number of projects.

Expert will be fully compatible with Pharos Cloud, for which we’ve seen enormous growth in sales in 2022 and anticipate the new multi-sites feature making Cloud desirable for Expert projects that are geographically separate but linked in management, particularly in city-wide projects. Cloud is under constant development, with more enhancements planned for 2023.

Within the Designer range we will begin shipping the new TPS 5 (Touch Panel Station 5”) a new, elegant interface with a customizable, 5” capacitive touch screen, compatible with any Pharos Designer Controller. This is an exciting update on the current TPS in the range. We’ve got more new hardware in the works for 2023 in the Designer range – watch this space.