This article was published in the November/December 2013 issue of LEDs Magazine.
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Organized by market research firm Strategies Unlimited and presented by PennWell Corporation, the 15th anniversary of the Strategies in Light (SIL) Conference and Exhibition shines its light on the worldwide markets and applications for LEDs with its theme of "Exploring Global Opportunities for LEDs." From February 25–27, 2014, SIL attendees will benefit from a new energy throughout the conference and exhibit floor, with programming changes that reflect both current and evolving LED and solid-state lighting (SSL) markets.
For example, SIL 2014 will debut a Luminaire Design and Manufacturing Track. Together with six workshops, the Investor Forum, the Plenary Session, and the Technology and Market Tracks, more than 90 industry leaders and visionaries will address important issues and hot topics in the SSL industry.
The Investor Forum also has a new feature this year: "The Dragons' Lair." Startups in the LED lighting and related industries will present to an investor panel consisting of venture capitalists (VCs) and corporate investors. The panel will question and comment on the presentations, giving the audience a feel of the pulse of the industry and how the investors feel about different companies and segments at the bleeding edge. An exciting lineup of speakers for the Plenary Session begins with Dr. Bang Won Oh, senior vice president, lighting marketing at Samsung Electronics. In his presentation "The Real Challenges Facing the LED Market," Oh will address the technical barriers that we need to overcome to continue the remarkable growth of our industry. Professor Mark Rea, director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), takes a scientific approach with his discussion of the potential benefits that SSL may provide based on increasing knowledge of how the human eye transforms optical radiation into neural signals. A veteran of the lighting industry, Ken Honeycutt, senior vice president, Toshiba International Corp. and chief venture executive, Toshiba LED Lighting System Division, will explore the challenges and the opportunities facing the industry's leaders. His talk will include lessons learned from rapid LED lighting adoption in Japan.
Tracking trends in technology and applications
One piece of truly exciting news for our industry is the arrival of quantum-dot technology in end products. This year, Sony introduced TVs and mobile phones that use quantum dots from QD Vision. The latest Kindle Fire uses Nanosys' quantum dot technology in a 3M film. We have invited Nanosys' vice president of engineering, Dr. Jian Chen, to discuss this cutting-edge applied technology in "Adoption of Quantum Dots in Display." Dr. Juanita Kurtin, CTO of quantum-dot startup Pacific Light Technologies, will also present her company's latest results on the use of quantum dots as downconverters directly applied to the LED chip.
Because of the rapid evolving understanding of the importance of human factors in lighting (to which we devoted a well-received workshop at SIL 2013), we have organized an entire session around this topic. Speakers include Fred Maxik, CTO of Lighting Science Group; Stan Walerczyk, principal, Lighting Wizards; and Thor Scordelis, manager of global product marketing, Xicato.
Advances in LED technology move so fast that you have to be vigilant in keeping up. We are delighted to host Dr. Ulrich Steegmueller, CTO of Osram Opto Semiconductors; Dr. Kibum Nam, CTO of Seoul Semiconductor; and Dr. Shawn Du, general manager of Nichia America, who will update us with their views on the latest advances in LED device technology and the outlook for the coming years.
A key element of the new Luminaire Design and Manufacturing Track will be how LED lighting suppliers can better understand the market they are serving. Kicking off this topic will be a presentation titled "Designers are from Venus; Manufacturers are from Mars," delivered by a group led by Ron Steen, VP of business development for Xicato, supported by Steven Rosen, principal and creative director of Available Light, Inc., and Megan Carroll, Eastern regional sales director, Xicato. In this session, Derry Berrigan, chief innovation officer at Light Think Studios, also will explain how tough lessons learned in LED lighting can be transferred to the next generation.
In other luminaire-focused sessions, our speakers will be exploring many key issues regarding the design and manufacture of LED luminaires, including subsystem and component development, reliability, the role of standards, and new optical designs, among others.
The LED industry is always on the lookout for new applications and new markets. We developed a Market and Application Track session titled "Application Potpourri" that will foster discussion of applications and markets such as flash, medical, agriculture, solar, visible communications, and ultraviolet (UV). We have also invited experts to give us the inside scoop on the LED industry and regional markets in China, Korea, and India.
In a session we have termed "The Future of Lighting," Konstantinos Papamichael, co-director of the California Lighting Technology Center, will address the topic of lighting quality as the Trojan Horse for energy efficiency. A new "Reports from the Field" session will uncover the lessons to be learned from real-world experiences with SSL technology. Naomi Miller, senior lighting engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL), will report the results of a study that involved retrofitting T8 fluorescent tubes with LED versions.
Investing in the future of SSL
With VC investment flowing more slowly into the SSL industry, we are putting more emphasis on corporate investors in this year's Investor Forum. We are fortunate to host Osram Sylvania, Toshiba Lighting, Silver Lake Kraftwerk, Crosslink Capital, Samsung Ventures, and Generation Investment Management as guests on our panel. Besides the VCs who follow the SSL industry, we expect more corporate investors to attend the forum at the 2014 event.
Although we emphasize to startups that this is not a place to pitch for money but a place to get exposure to a group of sophisticated investors, one CEO of a startup in 2012 was mobbed when he left the podium. He received $9 million in three months. It all started with his presentation at this forum.
The startups this year range from those involved in agriculture to controls and drivers to luminaires. We also have three longer talks to anchor the day, including a presentation by Dan Coyne, managing director of Canaccord Genuity, who will discuss the industry's liquidity and valuation trends. The Dragons' Lair, discussed at the beginning of this article, is also being introduced this year.
A lively roundtable at the end of day moderated by former VC and LED industry veteran Robert Walker will include all the panelists and investment banker Jed Dorsheimer of Canaccord Genuity.
Workshops and show floor activity
The workshops at SIL 2014 will cover a wide range of topics presented by experts in their respective fields, including standards for SSL organized by Osram Opto, thermal management organized by Bergquist, driver fundamentals for LED lamps and luminaires organized by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, specification and testing for LED lighting organized by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership, and intelligent lighting and controls organized by Cree. In addition, we will be offering an exciting new workshop titled "How Smart does Lighting Really Need to Be," chaired by SSL veteran Bob Karlicek, director of the Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center at RPI. Industry participants in the workshop include GE, AMS Taos, Bytelight, and Lutron Electronics.
The action at SIL is not only in the conference sessions but also on the show floor, where all registrants (including those with exhibit-only badges) can attend a series of free presentations in the LED Light & Design Pavilion. These will cover a broad spectrum of topics including economic incentives for LED retrofits, lumen maintenance and light loss, standards for dimming LED light engines, exploring the performance of LED PAR38 lamps, and a comparison of LED troffers, kits, and tubes with fluorescent lighting. We will once again host the presentation of the DOE's Next Generation Luminaires solid-state lighting awards on the show floor.
At Strategies in Light, there are so many interesting talks, lots of great products in the booths, and everyone who is anyone in the industry is there, so make sure you plan your schedule properly. We look forward to bringing you an eye-opening event. For more information, visit strategiesinlight.com. Registration is now open and early-bird rates available until January 2014.