Last week Echelon attended the annual LIGHTFAIR International Show at New York City’s Javits Center. LIGHTFAIR 2015 is one of the largest shows in the world for lighting technology, design, fixtures and services. As many as 26,000 visitors and 575 exhibitors participated in this year’s show, which organizers say set a record for attendance.
I have three takeaways from LFI:
1) There’s significantly increased interest in connected lighting controls, or the ‘Lighting Industrial Internet of Things’ (L-IIoT). I heard a lot more talk about the importance of controls, and more control technologies were on display. At the Echelon booth, we fielded a lot more questions than in previous years about specific applications and project deployments.To me, this suggests that controls are moving from ‘thinking about’ to ‘doing’ in key applications. As technologies such as multi-color LEDs for white-tuning and sensor integration become mainstream, this can drive the adoption of connected controls—because the business and societal benefits of these additional capabilities simply cannot be realized without connectivity.
2) The LED transition is continuing to gain momentum. In 2014, according to Strategies Unlimited, LED light engines made up almost 50% of the revenue generated by all light source types. Even with this, only 5% of the installed base of 30 billion+ light sources is now LEDs. So, we are only at the beginning of the LED transition. Not only will this mean more efficient lighting, but more range of functionality, as well.
3) LEDs are quickly becoming more feature-rich, which means they can provide more utility to more users as time goes on. A great example of this is white-tuning, which was on display conspicuously in the show for the first time this year. There’s a growing body of research that says that tunable LEDs can improve students’ ability to learn, accelerate recovery in health situations, and even improve customer satisfaction and generate increased sales in retail environments.
These are examples of how LED technologies can move beyond simple energy savings to providing strategic business benefits. For more information on white-tuning, or so-called human-centric lighting, a good overview can be found here, and very interesting work is being done here.
In line with these themes, at the show Echelon demonstrated our new Lumewave by Echelon lighting control platform, with the theme, “If you have it, we can control it.” What does that mean? We offer unified outdoor and indoor controls. We can connect virtually any fixture and sensor to support a wide variety of applications. And we have both secure wired communications links and fast-to-deploy wireless ones. And we have an integrated solution from “device to cloud” for easy installation, startup, commissioning, monitoring and management.
We also featured our newly enhanced Customer Management System for easy startup, commissioning, monitoring and managing of the system. We also had fun with a proof-of-concept demo of how our system controls white-tuning applications. In this demonstration, we remotely adjusted the color temperature of a fixture from cool white (toward the blue end of the spectrum) to warm white (toward the reds), along with on, off and dimming.
Echelon also participated in two panels, educating attendees on next-generation lighting controls, which had an estimated combined audience of more than 300 people. The first panel was titled “Transformation of the Lighting Industry to an Integrated Electronic Platform” and I spoke on that along with Menko Deroos, CEO and co-founder, Xicato. The second panel, “Lighting, Building Automation and IIoT Convergence: Perils and Promise,” featured Echelon’s CTO Sohrab Mohdi, along with John Curcio, chief commercial officer, Cupertino Electric; Jerry Mix, CEO, Finelite Inc.; and Noah Goldstein, research director, Navigant Research. Both panels generated lots of questions about the value of lighting controls, how they work, how secure they are, etc.
As the LFI show made abundantly clear, the transition to LED lighting, and the advancement of LED and lighting IIoT technologies, is driving lighting from being mostly about utility and efficiency to being a key element of business outcomes and strategies. Look for Echelon to continue our focus on adapting our innovations to the lighting world.