LEDs Magazine News & Insights 8 January 2020 - Editor's Column

Jan. 8, 2020

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for Jan. 8, 2020. And hello from the massive CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show but now legally just CES) tradeshow in Las Vegas. Over the years CES has been mostly tangential to our mission, although we’ve always anticipated that OLED display developments might lead to a breakthrough in OLED for general illumination. And there are some amount of connected-lighting/smart-home technologies at CES each year. Moreover, automotive technologies are now big news at CES and many compelling auto applications rely on solid-state lighting (SSL) technology.

Still, the biggest LED-centric news at CES 2020 will be in the mini and micro LED space. There are TVs and computer displays employing each technology. Mini LED is being used in backlight units to further enlighten LCD-based products, arguably pushing LCD past OLED as a display technology and at a lower price. Micro LED technology, meanwhile, is being used in direct-view, self-emissive displays such as we covered in our cover story back in the October 2019 issue.

We will have some coverage of the display technologies live on our site, perhaps by the time you read this newsletter. Ultimately, self-emissive video displays will be a huge market, although prices are still far too high at the moment. We further believe that principles from that display application will enable incredible new luminaire form factors and functionality. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, we have a CES story about new connected-SSL products from a startup turned Signify acquisition called WiZ Connected. The company is swimming against the stream, if you will, in using Wi-Fi network technology for smart lighting. And in residential applications, Wi-Fi might just make sense in connected lighting especially given the price points that WiZ is touting. It certainly got Signify’s attention even with that company’s huge investment in Hue.

We also have another CES story about Li-Fi, or the use of SSL technology to serve as an alternative to Wi-Fi. Just last Friday we had covered a story about a French lab that had anti-interference technology for Li-Fi that would be demonstrated at CES. Now we have news that LED pioneer Shuji Nakamura’s new laser venture SLD Laser will demonstrate a Li-Fi implementation at CES. The company said the platform can hit 20-Gbit/s speeds.

SLD Laser will also present at our upcoming Strategies in Light Conference. The company also targets applications such as auto headlamps with the laser technology. A Wednesday morning session will cover the latest developments in lasers. Indeed, the breadth of the program at Strategies in Light is quite amazing. The Early Bird discount is about to end, so act quick to register.

We also have announced the finalists in our 2020 Sapphire Awards this week. As is typically the case, the innovation represented by the finalists is amazing. And again I will remind you, make your plans to attend the awards ceremony. There will be no tuxedos or heels required this year. Join us on the flight deck of the Midway aircraft carrier. Not only will you get to celebrate the Sapphire winners, but you won’t find a better deal in San Diego for a night looking over the town skyline and San Diego Bay. And you get to explore a museum rated top ten in the US.

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, [email protected]