LEDs Magazine News & Insights 3 Jun 2020 - Editor's Column

June 3, 2020

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for June 3, 2020. While the news of the world remains mostly cloudy, I feel the world of LEDs and solid-state lighting (SSL) may be just starting to ebb in a forward direction. There has been an uptick in press releases over the past week, although I can’t say there has been any single story break that would really stand out. Remember the sum is always greater than the parts. Read to the bottom of this column and you will come to the realization as I have that coronavirus will remain intertwined with our technology sector to a greater and lengthier degree than I would have guessed even a few weeks ago.

Our Mark Halper writes a lot on the connected lighting space and has two stories with a networked SSL link. We have regularly written about platforms such as Signify’s Interact, and applications such as Interact Office that enable commercial office space optimization. Now Signify has added a feature to Interact Office for which we lacked a word or phrase to describe six months ago. The platform can use occupancy/vacancy sensors in luminaires to monitor social distancing in a space — distancing that’s prescribed to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Employees can utilize the capability to discern parts of a facility to avoid. Facility managers can analyze the data gathered to adjust floorplans in a way that eliminates heavy traffic areas. I think such concerns will last well beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

Mark also wrote a followup story to the one I wrote last week about GE selling the GE Lighting consumer lamps business unit to smart-home specialist Savant Systems. Mark and I have both written a lot about the trials and tribulations at GE in recent years. I must say, however, that Mark found an angle to justify the move that I missed. I tried to find something within GE Lighting that Savant wanted. But Mark theorizes that although GE Lighting will have a new owner, the deal was about bringing serious connected SSL capability into the GE Lighting brand. We will see how this works out.

Meanwhile, I wrote an article about ultraviolet (UV) technology, and the now common knowledge that UV-C-band emission can kill the coronavirus. And yes, I know you may be tired of hearing my complaints that too many opportunists are trying to exploit UV-C disinfection without the experience or eye for safety needed. But this week we have Acuity wading into the germicidal application, making a deal to embed Ushio far-UV lamps into general lighting products. And the far-UV technology at the center of the deal looks very promising for safe and effective disinfection applications even in occupied spaces.

I’ve promised more UV resources for you. I have just seen the first draft of an excellent article that will run in our July/August issue. And we have a webcast coming in just two weeks that will be presented by Bob Karlicek, director of the Center for Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications (LESA) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Bob will separate fact from fiction relative to UV. He was the leader of a development effort that recently delivered a UV-C-based medical mask disinfection system to Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. Register now for the June 18 live webcast. As always, it will also be available on demand after the event.

I also must tease one other story before I close. Those of you that read our horticultural newsletter will have seen it earlier in the week. But now scientists in our industry aren’t just tuning LED photons to create a desired spectra; it turns out that so-called perfect sunlight isn’t necessarily perfect and can also use some tuning. Remember we have our HortiCann event coming this fall.

You will find many more stories of interest in the body of today’s newsletter. 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]