The LED Show program will address basics to details of the SSL transition (MAGAZINE)

Aug. 6, 2013
Lighting designers and specifiers will discover an immersive learning experience focused on the transition to LED light sources in Las Vegas this August.

This article was published in the Summer 2013 issue of IIF Magazine.

View the Table of Contents and download the PDF file of the complete Summer 2013 issue, or view the E-zine version in your browser.


Peruse the conference program for The LED Show (, scheduled for August 13–15, 2013 at the Rio Hotel Convention Center in Las Vegas, and you immediately see a progression of topics that will take attendees from the basics of LED components to the future of LED lighting. Along the way designers and specifiers will have the opportunity to hear experts address specific topics such as indoor and outdoor lighting, regulatory and standards issues, and even solid-state lighting (SSL) project financing alternatives. Moreover, a preconference workshop will offer extensive coverage of the opportunities in the retrofit arena. And the exhibit floor will offer hands-on access to the latest LED lighting products and great networking opportunities.

The 2013 edition of The LED Show will be the largest event yet with more than 100 exhibitors. The program includes the top names in LED components, lighting products, and lighting design. In three days, the event will bring attendees up to date with the latest in what is becoming the broad transition of the lighting industry to efficient LED sources, as well as the controls that both enhance energy savings and bring all new functionalities into the lighting world, including the opportunity to enhance our wellbeing.

The conference program kicks off on Wednesday, August 14 with a trio of presentations from top LED manufacturers Cree, Philips Lumileds, and Nichia. The speakers will cover the trends at the component level that are impacting the work of lighting manufacturers, lighting designers, and specifiers. We offered a detailed preview of this opening session on our LEDs Magazine website.

New product demonstrations

Immediately following the component discussion will be sessions on indoor and outdoor lighting. While the speakers in these sessions are from lighting companies, expect to hear more about the specification and design process than about products.

Matching features to projects

For example, Mark Hand from Acuity Brands is always a compelling speaker, and arguably controversial as well. In the past, Hand has turned the tables on conference audiences, explaining that it is the specifiers/designers who have to manage the cost of LED lighting products. The LED lighting industry has hyped extremely long product lifetime since its inception. Moreover, the industry has been focused of late on maximizing quality, especially in terms of CRI.

Both long life and high CRI are good things in general. But you pay a premium for the longest life and highest-quality products with LEDs, just as you would with any other products whether we are talking automobiles or TVs. According to Hand, designers and specifiers should carefully match the features that that they pay for with specific project requirements.

Packed session hall

At The LED Show, Hand has pledged to discuss the new applications that are being enabled by LED sources. You can certainly expect an update on the state of the technology today. But Hand will also look into the future and where the SSL transition is headed.

Networks and controls

Thursday morning will start with a session that examines the network and controls space. Indeed, the session will feature information about how LED sources can be controlled, as well as how control commands can be transmitted to LED fixtures.

Scott Brown from LED driver IC maker iWatt will present "Cost versus performance: LED driver selection — getting it right." It is the driver electronics that ultimately handle dimming and on/off controls for lighting. Smooth dimming is absolutely critical in some applications, whereas dimming isn't even required in others. Brown will describe how the industry is segmenting around control features, and how to ensure that specifiers can choose optimally performing dimming technology when the project at hand requires that functionality.

David Weigand of Encelium Technologies will cover the system-level aspects of control. At a basic level, dimming may seem to be more about ambiance than energy savings, but the opposite is the reality. And lighting systems can only deliver maximized energy savings when sensors and controls dim or extinguish lights based on occupancy or the presence of natural daylight. System-level controls are a requisite in commercial buildings in most states, and the technology is headed to broad residential deployment.

Affording LEDs

On Thursday afternoon the discussion will turn to how customers can afford LED lighting projects. Increasingly financiers and energy services companies are stepping up with programs that allow small and large enterprises to install LED lighting will little upfront money. For instance, Don McDougall of Solid State Capital Services will present a talk entitled "LED light can be implemented with zero dollars out of pocket by the property owner and cash-flow-positive year one."

Of course, the other angles to lighting system costs are rebates and incentives, and programs that identify quality products that qualify for such funding. Angela Xanders of Kema Services will discuss rebate programs that target energy-efficient lighting. But Xanders will look far beyond the typical lamp rebates, taking a system-level view and stressing that the lighting industry needs to proactively encourage a transition to incentives for lighting systems that maximize savings — a message that complements the aforementioned controls presentations.

Networking opportunities abound

In terms of programs that identify quality lighting, none has been more important than the Department of Energy (DOE) Lighting Facts program in terms of ensuring that specifiers know and understand the capabilities of SSL products, and that manufacturers accurately report such data. Still, the Lighting Facts program is a costly burden on lighting manufacturers that until now have had to put every configuration or model of luminaire within a product family through testing. That burden adds to the cost that specifiers and their customers pay for SSL projects.

Marci Sanders works for D&R International, the firm that manages the Lighting Facts program for the DOE, and will discuss changes that have been recently made in the program to lessen the testing-cost burden. Sanders first disclosed the fundamentals of the new program at Strategies in Light back in February 2013. At The LED Show, Sanders will further detail the new trust and verify approach in which manufacturers fully test only one product in a family, while the DOE randomly chooses products from all manufacturers for spot verification testing of the reported specifications. Sanders will report on the early stages of the program transition and how it will impact both specifiers and lighting manufacturers.

The future of LED lighting

Closing the show, the conference organizers slated a session that will look forward to where LED lighting is headed. The speakers chosen to present should ensure that everyone stays around until the end because you would be hard pressed to find more knowledgeable, passionate, and compelling speakers in the LED and lighting industry. Conference founder and organizer James Highgate will present along with lighting designer Derry Berrigan of DBLD Sustainable Lighting Design and Terry Walsh, president and CEO of Tempo Lighting.

Berrigan has been a pioneer in the use of LED lighting and in designs that deliver more than just energy savings. Moreover, she speaks with authority on accomplishing successful projects in the face of sales channels and engineering departments that often attempt to substitute inferior products. For examples of Berrigan's work, review the case study we covered in an article about a DOE LED workshop.

At The LED Show, Berrigan will discuss the fact that while LED lighting is becoming a mainstream technology, the application of the technology isn't necessarily enriching everyday experiences for people. She said, "In the race to socket saturation with LEDs, the industry is forgetting the needs of people." Berrigan clearly believes that LED lighting does have great potential for enriching lives, but added, "disruptive technology requires disruptive education."

Derry Berrigan

Indeed, Berrigan is among a close group of lighting professionals behind Light Think University — an education initiative that was launched at Lightfair International this past April. The organization intends to help interdisciplinary student teams work directly with lighting industry leaders, helping the students to learn how to fully exploit the potential of SSL and controls.

Terry Walsh will close with a session entitled "Has the future arrived yet?" Always entertaining, Walsh said at The LED Show last year, "If you spend any time working on fluorescent, HID, mercury vapor, or other legacy sources, all you are doing is reorganizing the deck chairs on the Titanic." His point is that LED technology has arrived, yet he will clearly identify challenges that hinder broader adoption.

Walsh believes that the full impact of LED lighting is not completely understood because it is a fast-moving disruptive technology. He envisions what he refers to as a smart diode that will deliver improved light quality and use less energy while also transmitting and storing data.

Terry Walsh

Walsh said, "The future of lighting, just like other aspects of the digital revolution, will come to us in a form that may be anticipated but never fully predicted. Our experience prejudices our outlook." Looking shorter-term, he believes that LEDs as a lighting technology have arrived but the channels of distribution and the specification processes are lagging. He added, "The development and adoption of LED lighting technology products is the most disruptive change factor since the fluorescent lamp in the early '30s."

Add to the conference program the opportunity to meet with exhibitors and other attendees, and The LED Show promises to be an excellent investment in time and money. The event will position attendees for success in what Berrigan and Walsh clearly know to be a disruptive time when new players have opportunities to displace participants from the legacy lighting era.

About the Author

Maury Wright | Editor in Chief

Maury Wright is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade. Wright first wrote for LEDs Magazine as a contractor in 2010, and took over as Editor-in-Chief in 2012. He has broad experience in technology areas ranging from microprocessors to digital media to wireless networks that he gained over 30 years in the trade press. Wright has experience running global editorial operations, such as during his tenure as worldwide editorial director of EDN Magazine, and has been instrumental in launching publication websites going back to the earliest days of the Internet. Wright has won numerous industry awards, including multiple ASBPE national awards for B2B journalism excellence, and has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards. He received a BS in electrical engineering from Auburn University.