Can disinfection be a shot in the arm to improve LED market health?

Feb. 21, 2020
Dare to call me an opportunist — I do feel a bit strange about that — but global health presents a dual opportunity for the disinfection application to pump more life into LED and SSL markets.

I’m sure it seems out of the ordinary, but this morning after I finished my workout, I was thinking about Bob Steele’s presentation on the 2019 packaged LED market numbers by Strategies Unlimited, which he delivered during last week’s Strategies in Light keynote session. I fully accept that is not typical pondering at the gym. 😊 I’ve had a cold this past week, which as we all know can happen during or after travel from being exposed to many different people and environments. And that led me to think about the coronavirus, which is also on many people’s minds, of course, and much more serious. I also recalled how many people I know who have come down with flu A and flu B this season, despite vaccinations and best efforts to stay healthy. And as I was mulling over how many surfaces I touched and then wiped down with disinfectant, using my best gym etiquette, I wondered what the potential for pathogen control would be if every public space we used had a better form of ubiquitous disinfection technology at its disposal. At that time, chief editor Maury Wright was in the process of writing up the Lighting Research Center’s recent ultraviolet (UV)-A study in a hospital setting, and I considered that. Looping, yes, but pragmatic, I arrived at the market potential for LEDs in that type of application across many segments of the luminaire market. Hopefully, now you understand the weird train of thought I boarded.

Back to the market According to Steele, in 2019 residential luminaires were still the largest lighting market segment for packaged LEDs at 32%. But look at the possibilities in the combination of market segments that deal with more public or populated spaces: Industrial – 19%; Office – 14%; Retail – 14%; Hospitality – 6%; and Healthcare – 2%. That’s a combined 55% of the packaged LED market consumed in the luminaire segment. To me, that sounds like incredible potential for players utilizing continuous-disinfection technology in solid-state lighting (SSL) end-product offerings to attack surface and airborne pathogens while building a healthy demand for such specialty-use packaged LEDs, whether in disinfection-only luminaires or in hybrid disinfection and visible-light producing models. There are a variety of approaches and I don’t have the expertise to decide which one will maximize the SSL business return nor the pathogen-killing potential, but it could be an important factor in the health of the packaged LED market, from my view.

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