Our annual analysis of website content trends demonstrated the continuing reliance upon news about bigger players among LED component suppliers and lighting manufacturers to determine where and what type of business challenges and opportunities exist. While we’re quite sure that everyone is tired of hearing it, economic and supply-chain impacts of the pandemic continue to linger, even as conflict between Russia and Ukraine have added further pressures to both energy and transport sectors in 2022.
Many of our most-read stories revolved around the business divestment activities of ams Osram in its pursuit of a more photonics-technology centric organization, as well as Signify’s and Cree LED’s financial and operations strategies to build on emerging applications as well as renewed interest in lighting efficacy that aims to help commercial and industrial customers manage their energy costs.
Our own brand has navigated a sea of change this year, with the retirement of former chief editor Maury Wright that brought editorial director Wanda Lau to join us; welcoming new colleagues to the fold with acquisitions in the communications, buildings, and lighting space; working with new events such as LightSPEC West; and an entirely new partnership model in facilitating the Resilient Harvests Conference. While they may not be the top coverage by LEDs Magazine in 2022, these new developments have helped to shape our strategy and focus our resources on delivering thought leadership informed by a full end-to-end connection from components and enabling technology through finished SSL products to lighting and controls integration in installed projects.
As in recent years, several related stories have been combined into our top 10 commentary that follows.
Top 20 articles of 2022
Tomato grower Westlandse Plantenkwekerij served up new lighting from Texas-based horticultural luminaire developer Fluence — which joined Signify’s organization within the past year — and found that not only were its plants exhibiting greater quality but that it could ultimately reduce the amount of high-energy-consuming HPS lighting it had previously relied upon in order to moderate the growth cycle of the tomatoes.
As it continues to pursue advances in chip-level operations, ams Osram announced that it plans to build out additional Malaysia plant capacity for LEDs and micro LEDs. As was the case in 2021, to bolster these expansion plans, the Austria-based company has sold off more of its finished SSL product operations, including architectural and façade lighting business Traxon Technologies, as well as its Digital Systems Eurasia division that produces LED drivers, in 2022. Finally, we just learned while collecting this Top 20 report that ams Osram has delivered on its promise to divest the Clay Paky entertainment lighting group “strengthening the focus on core technology areas” of optical solutions for sensing, illumination, and visualization systems.
A bit of surprise news for us this past year was the declaration of bankruptcy by pioneering circadian lighting firm Healthe Inc. Although the company filed for Chapter 7 in December 2021, it continued to make news with the names of creditors and amounts owed. The company’s financial challenges only came to our attention after it refocused its business development priorities to UV-C disinfection technologies after nearly 20 years of work in circadian lighting.
GE Lighting was forced to make some difficult financial moves early this year as it closed down U.S. lamp manufacturing operations and sold its ownership in its Nela Park campus under the direction of corporate owner Savant Systems. Although GE hadn’t ceased manufacturing of fluorescent and halogen products, those operations moved offshore like many others due to declining demand and energy efficiency regulations pushing them out of the U.S. market.
Although the slideshow format isn’t a typical news report, its popularity certainly capped our satisfaction with the revamped awards program. Having modified our name and approach to recognition, we were pleased to get such an enthusiastic response from the 2022 recipients we met with in person at LightFair — and hope to see more familiar names as well as new firms making their mark on the LED and lighting industry in the future. By the way, the 2023 BrightStar Awards submissions remain open until Jan. 31, 2023, so make sure to organize your materials and get those entries in.
Wanda Lau described the technology behind a dynamic color-changing graphical display encasing the elevator company’s 28-story building, and noted that the mesh of hundreds of thousands of LEDs were hooded to reduce light pollution while output can be carefully controlled to reduce energy consumption.
In a year full of economic challenges, Lumileds launched into action to reduce its debt and seek recapitalization through a prepackaged Chapter 11 plan this past summer. As expected, the LED developer emerged from the financial restructuring with business operations intact but under new investor ownership.
Back in the summer, contributor Mark Halper reported Signify’s second-quarter financial results showed a downturn in customer interest toward surface-focused UV-C disinfection products. When we described the “obsolescence” of the UV-C products in question, Signify representatives reached out to clarify that the use of that term by CEO Eric Rondolat referred to an accounting designation, “a write-down of part of the value of [company] inventory” that resulted from having higher levels of inventory on hand than predicted demand for the products. Regardless, the August story corroborates earlier evidence of Signify customer awareness that air disinfection systems showed more promise.
An early January report gave us a new pulse on Cree LED since its development activities have gone quieter under parent Smart Global Holdings. “LED Solutions” reported $111.9 million in sales for its first fiscal quarter of 2022. A month later, SGH CEO Mark Adams told Halper that with a more “under the radar” approach to the LED business, Cree LED was focusing its energy on “designing our products specifically for customer needs” rather than pumping out “commodity products for consumer goods.” Going into the fall, we learned that Gregg Lowe would take over as president of Cree LED as Claude Demby prepared to retire.
In a report released this year, the International Dark-Sky Association summarized the state of artificial light at night, based on a review of scientific literature studying the changes in artificial light levels including region-specific increases, concluding that a “re-bound effect” has unintentionally resulted from increased on-time and uncontrolled light spill from more energy-efficient lighting installations.
University of Exeter scientists report that the shift to LEDs is exposing both humans and ecosystems to what may be detrimental quantities of certain light frequencies.
At CES in January, GE Lighting owner Savant continued to boost the profile of its connected lighting products.
On our blog, we offered a news-based analysis of the moves by Li-Fi proponents that could drive more commercial interest in the light-based communications technology, whether laser or LED supported.
In early quarterly reports, executives at Acuity, Zumtobel, and Cree LED parent SGH all invoked measures to help offset a supply-chain situation that showed signs of worsening without some new strategies.
Austin, Texas–based Fluence teamed with New Zealand–based agricultural technology specialist BioLumic to deliver UV recipes, developed by BioLumic, via Fluence lighting hardware and systems.
According to a Harvard University study, senior care residents were much steadier on their feet because installed tunable circadian lighting facilitated better sleep and wake cycles, fostering alertness.
The cross-industry alliance that has been developing the Matter protocol has at long last completed it, so companies like Signify, Amazon, and others can now proceed. But what about Hue?
In 2022, IES and IUVA announced the availability of LM-92-22, a jointly developed standard outlining a measurement technique for UV-LED performance that should help drive consistency of characterization data for disinfection sources.
The SPYDR Fang delivers 1,600-μmol/s photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) for “craft growers and home hobbyists,” according to CEO David Cohen.
With customers’ attention on rising energy prices, the LED lighting provider added a dozen new lamps and luminaires that it claims are 50% more efficient than its standard LED offerings.
Compare our last several years’ trends
CARRIE MEADOWS is managing editor of LEDs Magazine, with more than 20 years’ experience in business-to-business publishing across technology markets including solid-state technology manufacturing, fiberoptic communications, machine vision, lasers and photonics, and LEDs and lighting.
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