Businesses looking for a high-tech web site solution should look no
further than Peterborough-based Quarella. The company has recently
completed the contract to develop a cutting-edge lighting control
software system for the new Manchester City Football Club stadium that
hosted the Commonwealth Games in July and August.
Although Quarella's main area of
expertise lies in developing database-driven and e-commerce web sites,
the high profile project has drawn on many similar areas of software
development, creating a database backend, which can distribute data
over a network to control over 9,000 stadium lights.
"Whether we are developing an
e-commerce site or a cutting edge lighting control system, it is
essential to our clients the we create a system that cannot fail. No
matter how sophisticated the system it must be reliable. An unstable
system can very quickly lead to an embarrassing loss of credibility
with serious implications for loss of revenue", explained Andrew
Cater, Senior Developer at Quarella.
The sophisticated lighting control
system was installed in collaboration with Clipsal, C-Bus Lighting
Solutions, which produced the system hardware.
"With such an important project
being seen by the world it was key that the C-Bus and C-Lution
software integrated seamlessly", explained Guy Madgwick, General
Manager at Clipsal Integrated Systems. "Quarella not only
achieved this but expanded the capability of the system to offer many
more excellent features to help the client in the future. A prestige
project commands the best integrator and programming companies
available and we got them both."
Quarella also worked with enLIGHTen,
specialists in integrated building information systems, who provided
Quarella with essential hardware advice to develop the
multi-functional control software.
"Quarella have a lot of
professional pride in developing the very best software solution for
their clients' needs", explained Ian Meikle of enLIGHTen.
"Throughout the project they sought to excel expectations and
have helped to develop, what I believe to be, the most advanced
lighting control system of any stadium within the UK".
The system controls the lighting
throughout the stadium, including floodlights, tower lighting and blue
LEDs on the top of the towers and along the roof of the building,
which when dark give the illusion that the roof is floating over the
The PC-controlled system allows the
user to pre-programme events on a number of graphical screens, so that
the lighting can be automatically sequenced. Pre-programming also
allows the floodlights to be switched on prior to the event to ensure
that they have heated up in time to provide adequate lighting.
Such automatic control avoids the risk
of human error in forgetting to activate the lighting at critical
times and prevents the operator from accidentally switching off the
lighting during an event.
Additional cutting-edge features
includes the system's ability to vary the lighting intensity in line
with ambient light and interface with the fire alarm system to ensure
safety lighting in the event of evacuation.
The system has also been designed for
ease of maintenance, alerting the user to the need for lamp
replacement to minimise the risk of lamp failure during an event.