In with the New and Out with the Lumens

SIL U.S. 2014 in Santa Clara was filled with new thoughts, excitement, and new ideas this year. We are out of the stage of explaining what LED technology is and what it is capable of and onto exploring new possibilities available with LED technology. There were stimulating talks from Philip’s introduction of Hue 1.1 lighting system and Samsung’s flip-chip technology to the bullish outlook of the general lighting market provided by Strategies Unlimited.

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SIL U.S. 2014 in Santa Clara was filled with new thoughts, excitement, and new ideas this year. We are out of the stage of explaining what LED technology is and what it is capable of and onto exploring new possibilities available with LED technology.

There were stimulating talks from Philip’s introduction of Hue 1.1 lighting system and Samsung’s flip-chip technology to the bullish outlook of the general lighting market provided by Strategies Unlimited.

One of the interesting talks for me was by Dr. Mark S. Rea of Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute about reassessing the standards that LEDs have been confined to. He suggested that we do away with $/lm and lm/W as parameters because they really don’t tell much about the technology. These parameters are just ways of looking at LED lighting in comparison to preexisting technology. We falsely assume that lumen is equivalent to light output being perceived by the human eye. This can be very misleading since the human eye is not sensitive to the light according to its wavelength. If this premise of lumen is false, why are we basing our lighting industry standards on the lumens being provided by light sources?

Dr. Rea had a few suggestions on how customer value should be reevaluated. Some of his suggestions were that value should be placed on employee productivity, driving safety, personal security, health and well-being, and light quality perceived from color of food, furnishings, and faces. And the beautiful thing is that these benefits can be quantified. In his presentation, Dr. Rea presented the following table:

Shonika Vijay Su Blog Mark Rea Sil

These benefit metrics can be measured and engineered to deliver greater value. Such as benefit metric/W, benefit metric/$,” mentioned Dr. Rea.

I know that it is not that easy. It is easier to work with standards we have on hand to evaluate current technologies than to come up with new ones. We cannot just change our industry standards in one day, but we need to reassess our priorities so that the average customer can realize the full benefits of LED lighting. By using the lumen standard as the key descriptor for lighting we are overlooking the benefits that LED lighting has to offer.

I hope that we can get a conversation moving forward and start discussing new metrics we can use to evaluate this new age of the lighting. If we don’t measure it, we can’t improve and manage it.

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