Only time will tell if 2016 will be the year that the Chicago Cubs' 104-year title drought ends. For now, fans are reveling in new improvements to the stadium and the surrounding area.


The improvements began several years ago and are expected to continue into 2018 or 2019.


One of the showpieces of the new construction and retrofit project was the installation of the Audacy wireless-energy-management and lighting-control-system, manufactured by Ideal Industries Inc., Sycamore, Ill. 


“Wrigley Field was a challenging environment of concrete, rebar and other construction materials," said Nolan Bello, business unit manager, Audacy. "We have achieved uncompromised signal strength and range, and it’s a positive proving ground for [Audacy's] integrity."


Audacy features push-in wire termination and proprietary, patent-pending wireless technology that extends the life of battery-powered devices, such as sensors and switches, to 25 years.


The system at Wrigley Field uses only one repeater for the entire lighting-control solution. The repeater is located 30 feet below ground level in the ballpark's basement.


The solution also includes one proxy server that can be run off a laptop or PC, two backbone, gateway controllers and hundreds of sensor devices. The Audacy system integrates with the building-automation system using BACnet internet-protocol interface communications. 


Of particular import to the installation is the 30,000-square-foot clubhouse and fitness facility. All controls are administered through an iOS or Android mobile device. According to Ideal, the wireless system can reduce lighting energy use by up to 50 percent.


“In addition to signal strength in challenging environments, Audacy provides ease of installation and commissioning,” said Nick Shkordoff, group vice president and general manager of the company’s electrical division. “The actual amount of time we were at the project was about eight to 10 days, which is a further testament of ease of deployment.”


In the next several years, the project will include the additional installation of Audacy sensors, control units, gateways and reporting components into the team’s facilities, retail spaces, entertainment clubs, suites and new five-story office building.