LEDs Magazine News & Insights 27 Oct 2021 – Editor’s Column

Oct. 27, 2021

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for Oct. 27, 2021. Have you taken the time to think about how much the general solid-state lighting (SSL) sector has changed in the last five years? It really hit me as the news broke yesterday about GE Current acquiring the Hubbell Commercial and Industrial (C&I) portfolio.

Five years ago, we had the “big three” including Philips Lighting, Osram Sylvania, and GE Lighting. Essentially, in each geography there were also the next three that might have included Acuity and Eaton (Cooper) in the US or Zumtobel and Feilo Sylvania in Europe. And then we had the cast of hundreds.

Now all of the big three have changed names. Really only the Signify business that was Philips Lighting has escaped massive change. Signify was spun out as an independent company, but it remained virtually unchanged. And indeed it grew its footprint through the acquisition of Cooper.

Acuity has arguably moved into a big-three spot, although it is still heavily focused on North America. Acuity has always been among the most active on the acquisition front and its lighting portfolio has continued to expand. Meanwhile, the company has also been the most active in connected lighting and Internet of Things applications. And arguably Acuity has prospered above all others on the financial front.

Osram has moved in the opposite direction when it comes to the SSL sector. The company is now owned by the much smaller ams semiconductor operation. The Sylvania brand name remains attached to different product lines in different regions of the world. But Osram is out of the lighting business with the exception of making LED light sources. We’ll reserve judgment on the company’s future, but the changes were drastic.

And then we come to GE Current, a business that went through a strange name change while within GE, survived a fracturing of residential and consumer business units, and ultimately was acquired in a private equity deal by American Industrial Partners (AIP). Now, finally, Current may again grow in stature having acquired a company that was once perhaps one of the next big three of SSL in North America.

In other news this week, our Mark Halper has written about some cannabis research that is tied closely to the horticultural lighting market. The news was released last week with the start of the MJBizCon event in Las Vegas. I did not attend that convention, but I understand it has moved back towards pre-COVID-19 stature. Fluence by Osram released the report that it partially funded and that was done by Readex Research. Just a couple of years ago, LED sources were still losing out to high-pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures for lighting cannabis grows. That’s no longer true as LED penetration is happening at a rapid pace and increasing yields for growers.

We also have an upcoming webcast for you next week that I mentioned previously. Join us Nov. 2 at 3:00 PM Eastern to learn more about the process of planning, installing, and commissioning connected SSL. I went through a practice session yesterday. And we will have a lot of Q&A opportunity as attendees will have the chance to interact with a technology provider and a lighting manufacturer.

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]