THE HIGH-END HOME OF THE FUTURE.
Tesla’s electric smart cars are very different to the automobiles the world has known this last century. In fact, they are much more robot than car. By the end of 2020, Elon Musk boasts that the full suite of Tesla vehicles will reach a state of capability completion, which means they will be a simple software update away from being totally autonomous. Sure, driverless cars are not a new idea but consider for a moment the potential upside of owning a car that drives itself. For one, it would immediately become an appreciating asset. As soon as your Tesla is driverless, it could be an Uber driver. Imagine you can sit at home while your car goes out to bring home the bacon by driving passengers.
But at Bright Group, we can’t help but wonder if the newly built dwellings of the future could share a similar destiny? The obvious answer is solar. The Australian economy has seen the democratic rise of solar energy as homeowners choose the great green potential of rooftop panels to reduce their own bills and push some 10.7 gigawatts back into the grid. As in-home batteries become more and more common, Australian homeowners will become less and less reliant on the grid.
In 2015, the Henn na Hotel in Japan opened to great fanfare. The robot hotel was, and still is, an exciting idea. While the business itself failed, the attempt to automate the hotel experience was an interesting one. However, the lesson learnt was that robots can completely replace the human experience – perhaps only enhance it.
In another development for the home robotics market, Google’s ex-director of robotics has recently launched hellorobot, a robotics company that hopes to open the door to in-home robotics. Their first model, the Stretch, is a simple design that the inventors hope will form a platform for other thinkers and tinkerers to launch from.
Unfortunately, the Stretch robot does not have the humanoid qualities of Bright Group’s Dean or Janni, but the boys have already reached out to hellorobot to take on Stretch as a first year. Jokes aside, the emergence of a simple yet effective robot like Stretch is the first step in bringing truly useful robotics into the home. And, while we are excited about the prospect of Stretch doing all the hard work, we are always thinking about how technology can complement the lifestyles of our clients and the clients’ of our clients.
With rooftop solar now the norm for many new builds, Bright Group can’t help but imagine how robotics and smarter homes might some day turn the humble abode into a self-sufficient appliance.
That’s why at Bright Group we are forever curious about new technologies and how they can brighten the future. From the installation of Tesla batteries to the upgradability of in-home electrical systems, the ideas and inventions that are being created today could very soon be the expectation tomorrow.
FROM THINKING TO INKING.
After the success of our toolbox memo (parts one and two) we thought we’d extend our research to ever more important inventions. We move our gaze to Thomas Edison, one of the most well-known and prolific inventors of the modern era.
The litany of inventions includes an electric pen, which Edison patented in 1871 — a year before the record player. Edison designed the device to automate the print duplication process that photocopy machines were used for in the early part of the 21st century.
A sharp vibrating needle traced the contours of written letters and created a stencil for each page. Users would simply have to run ink over the stencil to duplicate the page over and over again. The invention did not translate well to its intended audience, though, and quickly sank into obsolescence.
But the idea of using a vibrating needle to create patterns would later be inked into existence for a new kind of service: body tattoos. And there you have it: along with the toolbox, one of the most important decorative accessories for the tradie.
THE TOOL BOX PART 2.
Modular and Moving
As tools became more mobile, it only made sense that their means of storage did too. While Black & Decker can be credited with the invention of the cordless drill in the early 1960s, it was Makita that brought the idea to the mass market in 1978.
The advent of cordless power tools is one of the biggest changes to the way tradespeople get their jobs done and, of course, how they move their tools around. Since the introduction of battery powered tools, trades have needed new and improved ways to carry them.
Modular tool boxes with wheels that can be stacked and transported with ease have since become more and more popular for the tech-savvy tradie. Using a mixture of heavy duty plastics along with steel fixtures and even integrated battery systems, today’s tool manufacturers have created customisable systems that workers can adjust based on the project they are completing.
Thinking Outside the Toolbox
While the modern assortment of tools and tool boxes is more than adequate to get the job done, we here at Bright Group are wondering what the future has in store for our apprentice’s apprentice and apprentice’s apprentice’s apprentice.
As more and more of our work flows and processes are handled using smartphones and software, we are curious about how this technology could be better integrated into tool boxes (and the tools inside them) to make electrical work easier, safer and more efficient.
Wireless charging, larger and more efficient battery packs, voice activation and assistance, remote control and quad-copter capabilities are all potential innovations that could make the humble plastic, metal and textile carry systems most trades know and abuse a thing of the past.
As can be done with many of the world’s emerging technologies, perhaps the best place to look for the future of tool boxes is into the past. Science fiction movies and books have long proven a source of inspiration for science and technology and sources as popular as Star Wars might hold insight into how tradespeople of the future work. We wonder if one day you’ll see a Bright Group branded astromech droid arriving at your job site.
THE TOOL BOX PART 1.
The Future of Tool Boxes
For many of us a toolbox is completely utilitarian. It’s a safe place and usually portable hold all for the things we use to do our job every day. It would be difficult to say exactly when the first tool box came about. The idea is so ubiquitous that just about anything fashioned to hold more than one instrument could be classified as a tool box.
The History of The Tool Box
For a very long time, a tool box was any wooden or cloth object fashioned to hold and carry simple weapons and instruments. Wood was the material of choice for hundreds of years, with chests and boxes of all shapes and sizes being made from the organic stalwart.
In the late 19th century, Kennedy Manufacturing in the United States came out with a simple industrial innovation, the metal tool box. Even today, this same design is being made. For many years, the category remained more or less unchanged… until plastic arrived.
Plastic has a bad rep in modern popular culture, particularly the single-use stuff that’s messing up our waterways and natural habitats, but when it first entered the world of mass manufacturing it was an absolute game-changer. Bakelite was the first synthetic plastic to enter the home and workplace with a suite of incredible properties like electrical nonconductivity and heat resistance. On top of that it was durable and cheap to make using a coal by-product that was traditionally discarded. In the 1920s and 30s, just about everything could be made from Bakelite – and it included toolboxes, tools and electrical fittings and parts. Even today, some of the fittings and fixtures widely used by electricians are made with Bakelite. By World War 2, new plastics had entered mass production and it wasn’t long before they were the material of choice for cases, boxes and chests for our tools.
Historically, the primary innovation for the tool box has been from a material perspective and even then, the shift toward heavy duty plastics has been generational – even today, many craftspeople prefer the soul of wood or mechanics of steel tool boxes.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE SPACE?
While there might not be a lot of movement in the Commercial Property Market right now, it could still be a good time to look at your building.
Attitudes to long term leases have been changing for some time now. Lease terms now have to be more flexible and shorter and the gross space we use fluctuates.
With tenants not locking into traditional business models, they have greater incentive to move if they don’t like their building or are frustrated with flexibility.
Right now presents an important opportunity to look at your building. Start thinking Now.
Building Branding is continuing to gain traction and leads to greater loyalty to creative building owners.
Owners should be thinking about the spacial configuration, the digital readiness, the lighting and the productive communal spaces that attract a growing number of business tenants. This is its Building Brand.
Bright Group can assist and advise on the planning and execution of your Building Brand. We are ready to share our Bright Ideas with you.
DALI & THE NEXT SMALL THING.
DALI lighting is an innovative lighting system where every light is assigned a unique address. Rather than having to wire every light to every switch, all of the lights are connected in a single house-wide circuit. Using DALI lighting decreases the total quantity of lighting cables required by a factor of 10, adding to the overall sustainability of the home. The lights in the home can be controlled via wall switches, the household app and even using voice control with your preferred intelligent personal assistant: Siri, Alexa, Janni.
Over the next few weeks the Desert Rose House will be reconstructed at the University of Wollongong and we are planning to invite you to tour the 2nd most sustainable house in the world. Stay tuned and we’ll send through the dates.
The Internet of Things is making its way into our daily lives in simple but profound ways, next week we will talk about the TV series “Years and Years”. Not the scary parts.
Australia has been internationally criticised for producing very little of its energy from solar power, despite its vast resources, extensive sunshine and overall high potential.
According to The Institute for Sustainable Futures, Australia has the potential to install 179 GW of solar power on roofs across the nation. At the end of 2018 Australia had just over 8 GW of rooftop solar.
A sudden rise in Solar installations in Australia since 2018 dramatically propelled the country from being considered a relative laggard to a strong contender by mid 2019.
Australia still uses less than 5% of the potential capacity for rooftop solar. The combined annual output from rooftop solar could theoretically reach 245 TWh, more than the current annual grid consumption of just under 200 TWh per year.
The future is looking bright.
Orange light is thought to boost the creative thought process and helps you develop new ideas by increasing oxygen to the brain, therefore triggering increased mental stimulation.
Orange creates a welcoming and balanced atmosphere in certain environments.
It can also stimulate appetite in young people, which is why orange is associated with healthy foods and undertones of orange lighting can often be used in particular restaurants or supermarkets.
YELLOW NOT MELLOW.
Yellow is a warm colour, which can evoke feelings of happiness or joy, as well as spark muscle energy and mental activity. Yellow light therapy has often been used to treat depression and anxiety. The colour yellow catches attention, which is why it is used often on transport including taxi’s, trains and buses.
In hospitals, warm tones of yellow lighting are used to create a calming and cosy atmosphere, which can help patients get to sleep at night. Warmer, yellow lighting is often used in homes to create a certain ambience and homely feeling.
GOT THE BLUES?
Colour is often used in lighting to set the mood for a space. Each colour carries meaning and has a subconscious effect on our brains. Blue lighting has a special effect on the body in a variety of ways. Research shows that the human eye has photoreceptors that are sensitive to blue light, which effects circadian rhythm.
Blue light is good when waking up in the morning. Blue LED lighting can also be used to increase blood flow, as the skin is also sensitive to the colour blue, and has been used in medical practises to promote healing.
In lighting and interior design, blue light has been used to portray trust, intelligence, peace, calmness, relaxation, loyalty, cleanliness and tranquility.
Ever go to the supermarket with the intention of buying one thing, and walk out with a bag full of shopping?
The lighting in supermarkets is designed to enhance the products on the shelves and highlight particular brands, through colour perception enhanced through the lighting.
Many elements are considered when designing supermarket lighting including colour rendition, reflection, contrast, and energy efficiency.
Continuous lighting lines with LED technology are arranged parallel to the shelving. Incorporating the recommended light levels and contrast ratios, the result is a space with high visual interest, depth, and dimension, which adds to the feeling of the space and the overall experience.
Supermarkets are one retail environment where the psychological effects of lighting are well designed to fit the product and the customer.
Bright Group Electrical specialise in lighting design for retail and commercial spaces, including supermarkets, but don’t blame us for making you buy that extra tub of ice cream.
LIGHTING IN HAIR SALONS.
Lighting throughout a Hair Salon needs to serve many purposes. Firstly, to make the customer feel comfortable and look great whilst they are sitting in the chair staring at themselves in the mirror for a long period of time. This is where soft lighting with minimal glare is perfect.
It can be hard to get the balance right when pairing this soft lighting with sufficient illumination for the Hairdresser, in particular when sharp scissors and permanent hair dye is involved! Allowing the light to clearly show a customers natural hair colour, and the range of hair dye colours available, from platinum blonde to vibrant blue hair, can be achieved by correctly spot lighting the task area.
Different lighting design needs to be considered for the other areas used in the process, including over the basins when clients are staring up at the ceiling having their hair washed, or when they visit the bathrooms to inspect their new look!
Contact Bright Group Electrical today to discuss your lighting makeover.
LIGHTING IN RESTAURANTS.
The overall tone and mood of a restaurant is largely attributed to the lighting. Designing the lighting according to the function of each area of a restaurant is important. For example, in the kitchen, the lighting needs to be practical and help the employees complete the required tasks of the restaurant – cooking, cleaning and serving.
Within the restaurant, how the environment is illuminated will affect the experience that customers are having. A dimly lit restaurant sets an ambience of intimacy, whereas a bright and vibrant setting creates a lively and sometimes casual tone.
The behaviour of customers is impacted by the lighting. In takeaway or fast food restaurants, brighter lighting stimulates guests, encouraging them to eat their food quickly and free up the table for another customer. A more dimly lit restaurant with warm lighting, can invite guests to linger, to enjoy another cocktail or order dessert.
The lighting throughout a restaurant is critical to the experience of the customers and employees and the overall success of the business.
Contact Bright Group Electrical today to discuss our menu of lighting options.
LIGHTING DESIGN AND DESIGN PREPARATION.
You’ve done the upgrade and everyone is complaining about their eyes. How were you to know that the LED lighting you chose was meant for a hospital.
The upheaval of LED has been a catalyst in improving the awareness and importance of having technical illumination and electrical knowledge.
More than ever, the design process has spread to involve not only architects, interior architects, industrial designers, graphic designers, visual artists, builders and engineers…but the client and all their clients too. Where previously we threw the book open on colour choices, now we need to consult widely on the ambience.
Design teams now have a broad experience in commercial architectural, landscape, façade, sports and retail hospitality. All have unique lighting principals and considerations. All of which influence unique and creative outcomes.
The choice of technologies grows and it’s very important to create an open dialogue with your electrical contractor. There must be flexibility and experimentation in the creation of beautiful spaces for your customers and your team.
LIGHTING FOR LEARNING .
Classrooms require good lighting in order to facilitate learning. Lighting is a dominant factor in the brain’s ability to focus and has been shown to improve morale and increase productivity in Schools. From a practical standpoint, there needs to be enough of and the right kind of light to perform the various activities and lessons undertaken within a School environment.
Classrooms today have transformed into digital hubs, where learning is focused and somewhat reliant on technology. This translates to new best practices that improve the learning environment while minimizing energy, resources and cost. Bright Group Electrical is revolutionizing lighting in environments including Classrooms, with dedicated solutions that integrate high-quality luminaires with state-of-the art lighting control, to optimize visual comfort, flexibility and satisfaction while slashing energy consumption.
Contact us to learn more about better learning environments.
WORKPLACE LIGHTING .
Good lighting in an office creates positive working conditions in a functional and atmospheric way. Satisfaction, efficiency and motivation will improve if you make sure you have the right balance of natural light and functional illumination.
Too often, office environments are insufficiently lit, not only from the perspective of biological lighting needs but also from an architectural one, where the room feels smaller due to inadequate lighting.
A study from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering, shows that in companies with a high standard of interior and lighting design, productivity can increase by up to 36 per cent.
Bright Group Electrical are experts in office lighting design and installation.
Contact us to arrange a lighting assessment of your office to increase productivity and the wellbeing of your team!
LIGHTING PSYCHOLOGY .
Lighting has a deep impact on our lives. Lighting effects numerous biological, mental, and emotional factors, and it directly contributes to our mood and productivity. Our happiness.
Lighting is known to affect circadian rhythms. This means that lighting can contribute to your alertness in the mornings, and it can either entice you to feel tired or keep you up all night.
As you might expect, brighter lights are best for mornings and daytime, while dim lights are good in the evenings. The reverse of these can cause a confused circadian rhythm, mess with your sleep schedules, or make it difficult to find energy throughout the day.
Contact us to discuss how we can improve your lighting, and more importantly your environment.
HVTC ALUMNI .
One of our Directors recently caught up with Hunter Valley Training Company as part of their ‘Where are they now’ program.
They discuss starting an Electrical Apprenticeship in Wollongong, starting an Electrical Business and some of the lessons gained along the way.
Read the full interview here . . . Read More
REDUCING ELECTRICAL COSTS .
Australians are becoming more and more serious about reducing carbon emissions, saving electricity and the use of smart electrical devices. If you are building a new home, requiring a little electrical maintenance or electrical repairs, have a commercial office or workplace, and you are located in Sydney, Illawarra or Wollongong, then read on…. Read More
LED SAVINGS .
Government incentives are helping local businesses save huge amounts of money on upgrading their Lighting to LED fittings. With electricity prices increasing upgrading your home, office or workshop lighting to new LED lighting already provides significant savings in electricity usage often resulting in our clients recouping more than the installation price in less than a year. With the introduction of government energy rebates, we are now able to provide supply, installation and lighting design for a fraction of the price allowing our customers to return on their investment and start making huge savings in very small amounts of time . . . Read More
ALEXA, WHERE’S MY COFFEE ?
Although home automation has been around for over a decade, consumer products have been slow to adapt. The IoT (Internet of Things) revolution is about to change that, with large organisations such as Apple, Amazon and Samsung investing heavily in IoT products you are now not only able to control your lighting but increasingly automate day to day tasks around the home . . . Read More
SURGING DEMAND .
While residential building clients everywhere continue to bemoan that building trades are dragging their feet on sustainability, there’s a boom in the environmental credentials of sparkies, thanks to the one thing they can’t argue with: consumer demand . . . Read More
TAFE Illawarra is thrilled to announce our recent success at the Illawarra and South East NSW Regional Training Awards held on Friday 29 June. TAFE Illawarra came away with four of the seven major awards . . . Read More
WIND TURBINES .
Ever tried riding a bicycle up a steep hill and ran out of strength? That’s when an electric bike with a built-in battery might have come in handy and carried you to the top. GE Renewable Energy is now pioneering a similar solution for wind turbines . . . Read More