LEDs Magazine News & Insights 5 February 2020 - Editor's Column

Feb. 5, 2020

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for Feb. 5, 2020. Strategies in Light starts next Tuesday. Hope to see you in San Diego. We will have a fantastic start to the tradeshow year.

Many times in life, business, and other settings, you have to ask yourself if you are a half-full or half-empty glass type of person. Generally, I’d put myself in the half-full category. But it’s still hard for me to figure out where I come down on some of the latest financial reports from major companies.

Take Signify, for example, one of the only solid-state lighting (SSL) pure-play companies in business. Our Mark Halper covered its latest quarterly results. The story accurately reported a string of quarters with declining revenue. But read the Signify press release and things are just peachy. The company is executing to plan. And that’s the story many media outlets reported.

The reality is somewhere in the middle. Like most of the former lighting industry, Signify has had to evolve to a new reality of long-life LED sources, and the machinations of the semiconductor industry. The company is working to reinvent itself, and I think doing quite well. And then of course it gets to deal with the Coronavirus and an uncertain supply chain in the near term.

I thought twice about mentioning the Coronavirus outbreak here. We all must understand that the impact of its malice on humankind is far more important than the impact on the lighting industry. We certainly wish all of those afflicted well and hope efforts to control the spread are effective.

That said, from a pragmatic standpoint, the Coronavirus situation will impact the supply chain in our industry — and many others. For now, packaged LEDs are in a state of oversupply, so having fab facilities in China closed temporarily should not impact operations for lighting companies. But SSL companies often import near-complete fixtures and, in other cases, multiple subsystems of a fixture from China. There will be some inevitable delays in companies delivering end products based on the extended closure of factories in China. We will continue to remain alert to these issues and to try to address them appropriately.

In the area of business, TDK Ventures has made an investment in SLD Laser, a company that continues to push laser sources as more efficient than LED sources in future lighting applications. Of course, lasers require significant light management to serve in lighting due to what’s a much narrower beam than what LEDs produce. There will be applications for lasers without question. Where they can win in the SSL sector remains to be seen. The company will present the latest laser technology at Strategies in Light.

Also back to the Signify story and other business news Signify said it would close the acquisition of Cooper Lighting this quarter.

One week from tonight we will hold our Sapphire Awards presentation on the flight deck of the historic aircraft carrier Midway. The event will be a great night out for Sapphire finalists but also for other Strategies in Light attendees looking for a good time. You get food, drink, and a top museum all for $50. And please everyone note — this will be on the flight deck of what was a working aircraft carrier. The deck has airplane tiedown recesses. Please leave the heels in the hotel room. And everyone bring a light jacket.

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]