LEDs Magazine News & Insights 7 Jul 2021 – Editor’s Column

July 7, 2021

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for July 7, 2021. That’s right, mid-year has come and gone. The first half of 2021 has been exciting with LED and solid-state lighting (SSL) companies returning to more normal business practices. And I’m feeling that the second half will be the busiest six-month period in recent history. Get ready for action.

Acuity Brands is one company that got a jump on mid-year, having a very big May and June on the merger & acquisition front. Acuity first announced the acquisition of Rockpile Ventures and shortly thereafter the acquisition of Osram’s Digital Systems business unit in North America. Rockpile not only brought a cadre of artificial intelligence (AI) technology but also new executive talent.

Now Acuity is being more open about its plans, and our Mark Halper conducted an interview with CEO Neil Ashe and Peter Han, who came from Rockpile and is the president of Acuity’s new Acuity Intelligent Spaces business unit. Mark views the recent activity as a continuation of a trend where some major lighting companies have moved to establish themselves as broader technology companies. Signify is another company that has made similar moves.

Still, I’m not sure I see Acuity or Signify as having made an all-in wager on a technology future. I don’t compare them to Internet-of-Things (IoT) specialist Gooee, which is going out of business. Gooee was a startup. Acuity and Signify are extremely successful SSL companies looking for new business opportunities. And as Mark points out, Acuity’s Distech unit, acquired a few years back, counts major corporations as customers in the smart buildings sector.

Moving to an SSL enabling technology story, I meant to offer this driver-centric story for you last week and the rush to the holiday weekend combined with our rush toward production of our next issue just consumed me. For those of you in the product development community, On Semiconductor has some new LED driver ICs that could enable many of the types of applications that Mark mentioned relative to the latest Acuity strategy. Specifically, the drivers can support visible light communications (VLC) for indoor positioning and other connected-lighting applications such as asset tracking.

We have quite a few educational events coming up for you including of course Strategies in Light on Aug. 24–25. We have a webcast tomorrow, July 8, focused on the supply chain. It’s something that’s quite different for us. You will hear from global e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba and one of its Elite Partners, AEC Lighting. Have a listen. Also Carrie Meadows posted to our blog on Friday with details of more of our coming resources including HortiCann.

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) 208-9442, [email protected]