LEDs Magazine Newsletter 13 November 2019 - Editor's Column

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine weekly newsletter for Nov. 13, 2019. We have a story for you this week on Li-Fi or communications technology based on modulation of LED light to transmit data as an alternative to Wi-Fi. Our Mark Halper is a fan of the concept. I’m not sure it’s viable beyond two niche applications applications where security is paramount and line-of-sight requirements inherently make Li-Fi secure or applications that need a wireless scheme that has raw transmission speed well beyond Wi-Fi.

Mark sees Li-Fi as a technology that will complement Wi-Fi much more broadly. And he has written that a primary roadblock is implementation directly in notebook PCs and other devices. Today all commercially-available Li-Fi implementations are in dongles that attach to a PC, but Mark’s latest story is about a company that specializes in rugged devices and that may integrate Li-Fi..

I think that if Li-Fi has a broad future, lack of standards is more important than the dongle issue. If you have followed our coverage, the Li-Fi proponents aren’t even in agreement as to whether the technology will ultimately use visible or infrared (IR) light. And I’d remind Mark that I happily carried a Wi-Fi implementation in a full-size PCMCIA card (anyone remember those?) for several years once standards were adopted but before direct integration was cost effective in every PC.

But my purpose here wasn’t so much to air our disagreement on the future of Li-Fi. Trade magazine editors in the tech space like nothing better than debating future technology. What I was hoping , however, is that you would let us know how you feel about the potential of Li-Fi. And how much bandwidth (pun intended) should we devote to covering Li-Fi? Email me. My address is at the end of this column.

Meanwhile, our news is again dominated by the ongoing Osram saga. Our latest article would seem to indicate that ams may go from longshot to winning the needed support in terms of shareholder approval in the quest to acquire the much larger company.

We also have a news item about some unlikely lawsuits in the ongoing attempt by the US Department of Energy under US President Trump to roll back LED lighting efficacy standards. Separate coalitions comprised of environmentally-conscious organizations and US cities and states have both sued to stop the DOE action.

I was looking through the program for the upcoming Strategies in Light event. I’m sure many of you have heard that my long-time colleague and good friend Philip Smallwood left our Strategies Unlimited and Strategies in Light teams for an opportunity with a lighting company. We have a search underway for a replacement, and Philip will be hard to replace. Alas, he left me with yet another task helping out as co-chair of the upcoming conference. I’m thankful that Strategies in Light founder Bob Steele is still around to really guide things in the appropriate direction.

My look through the program revealed what again this year will be an outstanding conference. We will be offering you a number of session previews in the coming months. But one session really caught my eye — a panel on Standards for Circadian Lighting. The participants are:

  • Steven Lerman from the American Petroleum Institute, an organization behind an ANSI standard on circadian lighting driven by the need for worker safety and health in dangerous places such as refineries
  • Martin Moore-Ede, who was an iconic Harvard researcher and most recently has done independent research and developed circadian metrics in his Circadian ZircLight organization
  • Mark Rea, the former director and still active member of the Lighting Research Center (LRC) and leader of a UL-supported team working on circadian metrics
  • Jennifer Veitch, Vice-President Technical for the CIE and a principal research officer at the National Research Council of Canada.

I had better tell our conference manager now to order more chairs. Make your plans to join us in San Diego, CA Feb. 11–13.

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

- Maury Wright, (858) 748-6785, mwright@endeavorb2b.com