RDM Control

in Buyer's Guides

For a PDF of PLSN's Oct. 2010 Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE .


Four years ago, a new protocol by the name of Remote Device Management (RDM) was created by the Controls Protocol Working Group of the Entertainment Services & Technology Association (ESTA).  

It defines a standard by which a console can manage devices like lights, media servers, fog machines, etc., by monitoring its status as well as being able to change its mode of operation. When it was launched, it was immediately received by the industry with a big giant thud, which rhymes with dud, which is almost what it seemed.


But not for long. Lo and behold, it started gaining momentum a couple of years later. Lighting appeared on the market that spoke the language of RDM. They were designed to be controlled with DMX, just as they had been before, but the RDM capability allowed the menu functions to be accessed and changed remotely. That meant that they could be addressed from the console, and the operator could change the mode of operation, the configuration, and check the status of any menu feature remotely. It would have been a momentous mile mark in the industry but for one thing - there were no controllers with RDM capability.


That's all changed in the last couple of years, and now there are a handful of forward-thinking manufacturers who have implemented RDM in their lighting consoles. It started when Zero 88 released the Jester console. It was able to automatically discover and configure RDM-enabled devices on its own (once initiated by the operator). Although it did not offer real-time status monitoring, it was a major first step.


Today, several lighting consoles offer the full gamut of RDM capability including discovery, examination of the attributes of an RDM-enabled device, and status monitoring. Welcome to the launch of third millennium technology where the true power of the computer is beginning to unlock the potential of our instruments, allowing the programmer and operator to focus on the creative aspects of the show. This month's Buyer's Guide focuses on those consoles that offer RDM. Enjoy.