LEDs Magazine News & Insights 3 Mar 2021 – Editor’s Column

March 3, 2021

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for Mar. 3, 2021. Several times of late, I’ve noted a hastened pace to business in our LED and solid-state lighting (SSL) sectors. We seemed to dip slightly in the past week or ten days perhaps, but I still sense building momentum.

But I detect something that’s perhaps more important as well. Connected lighting or smart lighting interest is on the rise. And yes, I acknowledge that connectivity and the IoT (Internet of Things) have been over-hyped in our sectors going back at least a half decade. Yet the installation of such technology has lagged due to cost, complexity, and hard-to-achieve return on investment (ROI). But I think the present trend is perhaps a real indication of more and better controls installations.

Part of any new success may come from the old “keep it simple” premise. And even that concept is coming to our vernacular. You will hear less about the IoT and more about networked lighting controls (NLCs). It is those controls that can drive ROI.

Consider the Bluetooth mesh case study we have featured in this newsletter. EMC (Energy Management Collaborative), Silvair, and McWong have installed a single mesh network in a 22-story office building with upwards of 4000 nodes. The luminaire-level lighting controls (LLLC) delivered autonomous and programmatic control schemes out of the box. And compounded energy savings can pay the freight without any IoT application in sight, although the option remains to add IoT support.

Meanwhile, our Mark Halper wrote about European controls specialist Ingy and its investment in the Wirepas mesh. Essentially, Ingy has stocked up on Wirepas licenses. And companies don’t buy inventory, whether hardware or software licenses, with the expectation of it sitting on shelves. Ingy has sold half of the inventory already to Koopman Interlight.

We also continue to see the industry move towards executive management with connectivity and technology backgrounds. Early last year, we reported that Acuity Brands had appointed Neil Ashe as CEO and he arrived with deep experience in IT and even content creation. We haven’t reported on the latest Acuity news, but Ashe has just named Trevor Palmer as president of Acuity Brands Lighting. Palmer had previously helmed the controls business at Acuity.

Moving on, we have a lot going on internally. Our Carrie Meadows posted about the clock ticking on Sapphire Awards entries. Yes, you have a month, but boy, the clock moves fast these days. I’m told that particular speed comes with age — oh well. Still, get those Sapphire entries in.

We have two excellent webcasts coming up, both in the germicidal ultraviolet (UV) area which remains a very hot application space for LEDs. On Mar. 11 we will have a presentation on specific requirements for drivers of UV-C LEDs and how such designs differ from visible-light systems. Mean Well will present. A couple of weeks later on Mar. 23, longtime LED sector researcher Mike Krames will do a deep dive on advancements in UV-C LEDs in terms of performance, lifetime, and cost. Legacy lamps are dominant in UV-C disinfection applications today, but LEDs are starting to win in some cases and will serve a far greater segment of the application going forward.

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]