As LEDs Magazine contributor Mark Halper has been fond of saying, “The road to connected lighting has been long and winding,” and he is absolutely right. What seems to be the common theme of 2021, however, is a redistribution of the “business traffic” involved in connected solid-state lighting (SSL) and controls via acquisitions. In one case, unfortunately, a sale was not on the roadmap.
Early this year, Halper put a check next to another headline in the long-running ams Osram business transition. While Halper had inquired of Osram representatives whether the company would continue to invest in its Lightelligence platform for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, responses for a time remained noncommittal. Then, this past February, a financial earnings and analysis call revealed that the company would look to sell its digital lighting components group, also known as Digital Systems. Spoiler alert: That journey continues in our next item of the top four.
Over the summer, ams Osram sold off its North American Digital Systems business to Acuity Brands, which is integrating the connected lighting components unit into its own Digital Lighting Networks unit. Although not a part of this top content round-up, we at LEDs Magazine did learn in November from an Acuity press release that the former Osram OPTOTRONIC LED driver and PrevaLED LED module products would carry over into Acuity’s eldoLED portfolio and be rebranded with that moniker.
In light of yet another acquisition, LEDs Magazine chief editor Maury Wright mused that the landscape of the “big three” players in general lighting had altered significantly over the past several years and continues to do so as companies such as GE have parted ways with portions of their lighting operations, which essentially created a secondary player in GE Current, now owned by American Industrial Partners. Pending approvals, Current expects to close out a $350M deal for Hubbell Lighting businesses except for Progress Lighting, in 2022. With his Oct. 27 newsletter column, Wright noted, “Current may again grow in stature having acquired a company that was once perhaps one of the next big three of SSL in North America.”
Unfortunately, not all the top content has a positive spin on the SSL business. Lighting connectivity specialist Gooee, which made its first appearance on our radar back in 2015, filed for administration in London this year (an insolvency process which I infer is similar to filing for bankruptcy in the United States. Feel free to correct me). Gooee’s back story began with its founding by Aurora Lighting CEO Andrew Johnson, who later became CEO of Gooee. The hardware developer initially equipped Aurora luminaires with IoT chipsets and later inked a deal to provide building analytics solutions for contract engineering company TClarke. Sadly, attempts to sell Gooee fell through and it appears no other avenues were left to cover losses.
CARRIE MEADOWS is associate editor of LEDs Magazine, with 20 years’ experience in business-to-business publishing across technology markets including solid-state technology manufacturing, fiberoptic communications, machine vision, lasers and photonics, and LEDs and lighting.
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