LEDs Magazine Weekly Newsletter 30 October 2019 - Editor's Column

Oct. 30, 2019

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine weekly newsletter for Oct. 30, 2019. I am writing this column in the midst of sorting through responses to our first-ever salary survey fielded in parts of September and October across the LED and solid-state lighting (SSL) sectors. I will write a feature article for our November/December issue on the survey. But I was immediately surprised that 50% of the respondents work at companies with 100 employees or fewer. The still emerging technology retains that fractured structure of the lighting industry even as we transition to more of a technology industry. You will have to await the article for most details, but the respondents are paid relatively well with the largest segment falling in the $100,000–$150,000 range.

We continue to be surprised by happenings in the business sector occupied by SSL manufacturers. I can’t believe that things continue to get stranger. I never understood why or how the folks at GE and GE Lighting decided to transition to the name Current for the commercial lighting business. Now that Current is owned by American Industrial Partners, we had anticipated another name change of some sort. This past week, we learned that the business would be known going forward as GE Current, a really good change except that the company added the suffix “a Daintree Company” to the name.

Current acquired Daintree back in 2016 with the plan that the Daintree Central Management System (CMS) would provide a front end to the GE Predix analytics engine. And Current has had some continued success with the Daintree technology. But the new name implies that Daintree is the parent company of GE Current. I will see some Current executives later this week at our HortiCann Light + Tech event and will hopefully learn more. You can still join us in Denver tomorrow for HortiCann if you hurry.

Name and brand changes of course have been the rule more than the exception in our industry of late. It was only 18 months ago or so when Philips Lighting, the world's largest lighting company, became Signify. Of course, the spinout of Philips Lighting by Royal Philips necessitated a name change. Signify, however, continues to use the Philips brand.

And in its most recent news, Signify has said that profits for its third quarter took a 20% hit. That news came on the heels of the announcement that Signify will acquire Cooper Lighting from two weeks ago. Signify put an optimistic spin on its financial miss, pointing out that it will still deliver margin improvement this fiscal year.

I mentioned our next issue at the top of this newsletter. I also wrote a feature article for the issue on presentations I saw at the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) Street and Area Lighting Conference (SALC). Working on that article reminded me that we had an excellent smart city article in our most recent issue. Dan Evans of Itron provided an exhaustive look at the many layers that comprise a smart city network and applications.

You will find many more stories of interest in the body of today’s newsletter. Please note my relatively new email address. And always feel free to contact me to discuss content we post or to pitch a contributed article.

- Maury Wright, (858) 748-6785, [email protected]