LEDs Magazine News & Insights 26 May 2021 – Editor’s Column

May 26, 2021

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for May 26, 2021. As you are reading this, I hope to finally be on the road again — literally. I do plan to finally cross the San Diego County line and a few state lines as well. It will, I think, be an exhilarating feeling and scary at the same time. I just hope that all of the challenged regions around the globe also get back to a sense of normalcy and soon. And I’m still hoping to see many of you in person later in the year at LightFair International.

Our newsletter this week is full of intrigue or maybe the word is surprise. We have companies with known legacies making news in unusual ways. Take Xicato. Xicato was among the first innovators in light sources that I met more than a decade ago when most every speaker at an event such as Strategies in Light described the industry as like the wild, wild west. That description was based on sensational claims of lifetimes and performance of which many LED-based products fell far short. It was when I realized just how tough solid-state lighting (SSL) product development would prove. The simple DC-excited LED was not so simple at high power.

Back then, only a few companies were truly figuring SSL out. Xicato was one. The company had modular light engines with thermal design and optics that would deliver pristine quality of light, excellent lumen and color maintenance, and long life. The company has plied that niche for the past decade.

A few years ago, however, Xicato also added networked lighting controls to its modules. I saw that as an integration story and a natural fit. But Xicato has evolved to be a networked lighting controls company along with its architectural lighting expertise. The company was behind a major Bluetooth mesh project at a huge French business park, and did not supply a lighting element. It’s the wild, wild west all over again — in a good way.

Also, our Mark Halper continues to follow the ams and Osram odyssey, and this time offers up a pure technology angle that upon second thought might just be revealing of ams’ attraction to the former lighting heavyweight. Osram has always been serious about research and one target area that came as a surprise to Mark was quantum computing.

We have more surprise in store for you in terms of SSL stalwart companies adapting their business as we know it. Our June issue of the magazine will be out in just a few days. If you aren’t a subscriber, rectify that situation in just a few minutes and be ready to peruse the issue on our digital platform. Spoiler alert: Relatively new Lumileds CEO Matt Roney is very forthcoming about the newest technologies percolating inside the LED manufacturer and they aren’t all in traditional SSL applications.

Of course, companies also expand their technical innovation in existing lanes even while chasing innovations in other applications. The Cooper Lighting announcement of a DC grid for WaveLinx is one such example. It’s a seemingly conflicting story. You may have to combine wireless connectivity and a wired DC grid for an optimum capex and opex balance. These LED and SSL sectors are never boring.

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]