Category: Lighting Industry

LD+A Wins Awards

LD+A, the official publication of the Illuminating Engineering Society, recently earned four awards—-one for each submission-—in the 37th annual EXCEL Awards competition sponsored by Association Media & Publishing. Congratulations!

LD+A, the official publication of the Illuminating Engineering Society, recently earned four awards—-one for each submission-—in the 37th annual EXCEL Awards competition sponsored by Association Media & Publishing.

The magazine received the highly coveted Gold award in the “Single Topic Issue” category (magazines, 10,000 circulation and under) for the October 2016 Light + Health issue. Only 64 Gold awards-—out of 830 total submissions—-were given in categories ranging from magazines to books, websites, videos and marketing pieces.

LD+A also earned Silver in the “Design Excellence” category; Bronze in the “General Excellence” category (magazines, 10,000 circulation and under); and Bronze in the “Media Kit—Print” category.

Congratulations!

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The University of California and its Partners Plan to Buy 1 Million LED Lamps

The Million Lamp Challenge has officially been launched by the University of California system in consultation with the California State Department of General Services. The groups have issued their purchasing…

The Million Lamp Challenge has officially been launched by the University of California system in consultation with the California State Department of General Services.

The groups have issued their purchasing standards to encourage the purchase and installation of high-quality LED lamps in their buildings:

UC System Purchasing Standard
DGS Purchasing Standard

The purchasing standards follow the Voluntary California Quality LED Lamp Specification published by the California Energy Commission and used by California investor-owned utilities to determine which lamps are eligible to receive incentives.

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Lighting’s Creative Destruction

Below is my contribution to the July issue of tED Magazine on the topic of change in the lighting industry. Reprinted with permission. At this year’s Strategies in Light conference…

Below is my contribution to the July issue of tED Magazine on the topic of change in the lighting industry. Reprinted with permission.

At this year’s Strategies in Light conference in Anaheim, California, two notable speakers talked about how LED technology is disrupting the traditional lighting industry. tED caught up with them to ask how this disruption is impacting electrical distributors and what distributors should do to remain competitive in the LED and intelligent lighting era.

Creative destruction

Robert F. Karlicek, Jr., PhD, Professor and Director, Center for Lighting Enabled Systems and Applications, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, sees the industry going through a process called creative destruction. This term, coined by economist Joseph Schumpeter in 1942, describes the process of innovation destroying old economic structures and creating new ones.

“In the lighting industry, the creative aspects involve high-efficiency LEDs that have long lifetimes and can offer new lighting-based services,” said Karlicek. “The disruption is to all forms of old non-LED lighting and disruption of legacy business structures, supply chains and distribution channels.”

In the existing building market, LED retrofits offer high efficiency, longevity and other benefits. However, this longevity is eroding the replacement market that traditionally provided steady lamp sales. Karlicek also pointed out the low wattage of LED makes energy-saving lighting controls more difficult to justify.

In the new construction market, prevailing energy codes require both high lighting efficiency and extensive automatic controls. Here, the economics are more favorable to extended capabilities such as intelligent connected lighting, dimming, tunable-white lighting, Internet of Things (IoT) integration and others. However, these capabilities are redefining lighting, necessitating education. Meanwhile, widespread innovation and less standardization have resulted in very short product cycles, wide variation in performance and limited serviceability.

Karlicek said two emerging metatrends are pointing to further creative destruction in lighting’s future. These include circadian lighting and the IoT.

“LED lighting is uniquely suited for circadian and human performance management,” he said. LED lighting enables control of both intensity and color output (spectral power distribution), tools that may influence the human circadian system. “However, I believe there is still a lot more research needed to properly define optimal LED lighting wavelength distributions for optimal human outcomes.”

Karlicek also pointed to the IoT’s emergence as another major trend that will impact lighting. “Traditional sales channels will need to become savvy about lighting standards, wired and wireless networking protocols, and computer and network systems,” he said. “For the time being, however, properly serving this emerging field will be difficult because of the wide variety of proprietary systems and lack of interoperability.”

All of this is developing, necessitating monitoring the market and agility to invest in capabilities at the right time. “Ultimately, distributors will need to become—either alone or through partnerships—both an electrical and networking systems supplier,” Karlicek said. “Start investing in re-educating your workforce so they can be skilled at AC and DC power distribution systems, networking and advanced controls.”

Bundling

Dan Ryan, VP Product, IoT Solutions, Acuity Brands Lighting, sees the lighting industry undergoing a process called bundling. Bundling is defined as aggregation of individual services to create new value for buyers and sellers in a market. Buyers can access more services at a lower cost, while sellers can more profitably access a larger market.

He points to the computing and consumer electronics industries for examples of bundling and unbundling in action, drawing parallels to the lighting industry. Microsoft bundled services into Windows, the Internet unbundled them again across the web, technology giants like Google and Amazon rebundled them into their platforms, and now some unbundling is occurring as some services are being peeled off.

While industry analysts tend to focus on product, bundling also occurs in distribution. Consider video content distribution. Cable TV providers bundled and sold video content. Then video streaming from the Internet became feasible, resulting in an unbundling event. Today, consumers can access a wide variety of online content providers such as Netflix.

Ryan believes strong parallels for lighting can be found in the Apple iPhone, which bundled numerous services—phone, camera, etc. Similarly, the lighting industry is going through a bundling phase in which lighting projects are being bundled with IoT services and building management systems. “The world is starting to recognize that lighting is uniquely positioned to be an aggregation point for the delivery of IoT services,” he said. “This is due to its ubiquity in the as-built environment and the proliferation of networked lighting control systems.”

As a result, lighting manufacturers are starting to bundle new digital services with lighting such as indoor positioning, asset tracking and occupancy analytics. The overriding goal is to leverage installed lighting hardware and networking to collect data and use it to improve processes. The result will be larger and higher-end lighting projects. This bundling will continue until standardization and interoperability enables a new services layer, which will result in some unbundling.

For electrical distributors, Ryan sees opportunity in a role that for the foreseeable future will remain the same as it is now. “The powerful economic principle behind bundling is that both buyers and sellers benefit,” he said. “So in that sense, when you apply this to the lighting channel, electrical distributors will benefit. The sale of higher-end systems will lead to larger project sizes and help fight the commoditization and price erosion that we’re currently seeing in the traditional lighting market. For those distributors who strive to move up the value chain, there will be opportunities to develop deeper end-user relationships.”

The wildcard is the IoT’s impact on how lighting projects are specified and sold. Ryan points out that channel and access to market remain the most important drivers in activity in the lighting market, not technology. As the IoT enters more specifications, how projects are specified and sold may evolve, but Ryan sees opportunity for distributors who can deliver value.

“I think the real question for distribution is where the intersection is between IoT service sales and the traditional lighting sale,” he said. “At one level, distribution will sell higher-end systems and will see benefits there. There are also some lighting-channel-specific IoT services—such as preventative maintenance and lighting asset management—that will unlock new opportunities for selling to the traditional buyer. But I think it’s still very much an open question of how value-added IoT services will actually be sold and what role the traditional channel will play there. The majority of new services being developed are really orthogonal to what distributors do today. Regardless of how it all plays out, I expect traditional distribution to play a huge role.”

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How Distributors Can Up Their Lighting Game

tED Magazine recently published two online articles about how electrical distributors can up their lighting game in a competitive marketplace. Namely, through partnerships, relationships and adding value throughout the procurement…

tED Magazine recently published two online articles about how electrical distributors can up their lighting game in a competitive marketplace. Namely, through partnerships, relationships and adding value throughout the procurement process, from “show don’t tell” product introductions to negotiating the best price to ensuring good service.

Read part 1 here.

Read part 2 here.

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Expanded NEMA Lighting System Index Edges Higher in First Quarter 2017

The first quarter of 2017 saw a 1.4% increase compared to 4Q 2016 but a 3.4% decline when compared to 1Q 2016. Emergency lighting, fixtures, and lighting controls posted quarter-over-quarter…

The first quarter of 2017 saw a 1.4% increase compared to 4Q 2016 but a 3.4% decline when compared to 1Q 2016. Emergency lighting, fixtures, and lighting controls posted quarter-over-quarter increases while the remaining components declined during the same period.

The same components also posted year-over-year increases, but were offset by the decline in ballasts – HID and florescent, LED drivers, large lamps, and LED replacement lamp shipments.

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Pompeo Group Teams with Tounge Associates

The Pompeo Group, Inc. recently announced a strategic alliance with Tounge Associates, a merger and acquisition firm. Tounge Associates’ expertise in the M&A field, combined with The Pompeo Group’s nearly…

The Pompeo Group, Inc. recently announced a strategic alliance with Tounge Associates, a merger and acquisition firm. Tounge Associates’ expertise in the M&A field, combined with The Pompeo Group’s nearly three decades of lighting industry experience, can assist lighting, energy, IoT and electrical companies source buyers, merging partners or strategic acquisition targets.

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IES Offers LC Study Group

I was very happy to gain the LC certification six years ago and would encourage any lighting practitioner to consider it. For those of you doing so, the Illuminating Engineering…

I was very happy to gain the LC certification six years ago and would encourage any lighting practitioner to consider it. For those of you doing so, the Illuminating Engineering Society is offering an LC Study Group, an online, web-based support program. It’s not required to take the LC exam but may be helpful.

Run by Craig Bernecker, PhD, FIES, LC, the 20 study sessions start August 28 and end November 2. The exam date is November 4. To join the group, you must provide proof acceptance by NCQLP and of payment to take the exam.

Contact Tom Butters, Director of IES Education, to join the group.

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IALD Announces Winners of 34th Annual IALD Awards

The 34th Annual International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) International Lighting Design Awards recognized 22 projects from eight countries and including interiors, monuments, façades, museums and a residence. This year’s…

The 34th Annual International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) International Lighting Design Awards recognized 22 projects from eight countries and including interiors, monuments, façades, museums and a residence. This year’s winners represent some of the most innovative and inspiring work found anywhere in the world of architectural lighting design.

The highest point score winner across all categories, in addition to receiving an Award of Excellence for their project, receives the IALD Radiance Award for Excellence in Lighting Design. Accepting the Radiance Award for Excellence in Lighting Design was Dongning Wang, IALD, part of the project team from Beijing United Artists Lighting Design for the Harbin Opera House in Harbin, China. Below are several images from this stunning project:

Of the 22 projects recognized, three entries earned Special Citations, fourteen earned Awards of Merit and five earned Awards of Excellence.

Click here to learn more about the winning projects.

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GE Lighting Up for Sale

Following months of rumors, it is now confirmed that GE Lighting is up for sale, based on an internal memo by GE President and CEO Bill Lacey. This does not…

Following months of rumors, it is now confirmed that GE Lighting is up for sale, based on an internal memo by GE President and CEO Bill Lacey.

This does not include Current by GE, which focuses on IoT, networked lighting, and wireless lighting control in buildings.

tED Magazine has the story here.

This post updated 6/14/17

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Acuity’s Dan Ryan on Bundling in Lighting Industry

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dan Ryan, VP Product, IoT Solutions, Acuity Brands Lighting. The topic: disruption in lighting, notably the current trend of “bundling,” which was the…

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dan Ryan, VP Product, IoT Solutions, Acuity Brands Lighting. The topic: disruption in lighting, notably the current trend of “bundling,” which was the subject of his presentation I caught at Strategies in Light. I’m happy to share his responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the July 2017 issue of tED.

DiLouie: What would you say is the thesis of your 2017 Strategies in Light talk?

Ryan: A great place to think through what will happen next in our industry is to map out how concepts from computing will transfer over to lighting and building automation. The intersection between the two is a great area to spot opportunities.

One famous pattern in the history of computing is best captured in a well-known quote that I really love, attributed to Jim Barksdale: “There are two ways to make money in business: You can unbundle, or you can bundle.”

Almost every major technological wave in computing included either a bundle or unbundle event. Microsoft dominated the pre-Internet computing era by bundling all of your applications onto Windows, and made a fortune. The internet came along and unbundled everything into a sort of chaos, until Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple and others emerged to re-bundle everything again. More recently, we’re seeing bits & pieces of these devices and services being siphoned off into discrete items – with products like Amazon’s Echo, Apple’s Earpods (unbundling audio), and Snapchat Spectacles. And there’s currently a sense that another huge unbundling event is about to happen with blockchains and cryptocurrencies.

My talk at SiL was looking at the bundling phenomenon and seeing whether it is a good framework for understanding what’s happening in lighting right now.

DiLouie: In your talk, you brought up the concept of bundling. What is bundling, and how did it play out in the example of smart phones?

Ryan: Bundling is exactly what you’d think – the tendency for products to be sold together in a package, vs sold discretely. 15 years ago, it would take an entire closet full of devices (video recorder, telephone, CD player, TV, laptop) to fulfill the functions that an iPhone can deliver today.

The economics behind bundling is a pretty complex topic, and the definitive piece on this was put together by Chris Dixon.

But the basic aspect is that there are powerful economic forces in play that benefit both buyers and sellers. Buyers get access to more services for a lower cost than they would if they purchased independently, and sellers gain more profits by selling to a larger customer base.

DiLouie: You said you see lighting as the new iPhone. How is bundling applying to the lighting industry right now?

Ryan: The world is starting to recognize that lighting is uniquely positioned to be an aggregation point for the delivery of IoT services – due to its ubiquity in the as-built environment, and the proliferation of networked lighting control systems. So you’re starting to see lighting companies bundle new digital services with lighting, with offers like indoor-positioning, asset-tracking, and occupancy analytics. And much like that closet full of consumer electronics that’s now bundled into an iPhone, you’re seeing a bunch of systems that used to be sold, installed, and maintained independently start to consolidate a single platform – smart lighting.

DiLouie: Lighting is moving beyond its core benefits to potentially offer an array of services. What are these potential services, and what services are being offered now?

Ryan: Indoor positioning has emerged as the early-leader, with significant deployments underway by the major players. Acuity has been a leader in this space, with over 50M sqft of indoor-positioning infrastructure already deployed. For customers switching over to LED, particularly in segments like retail stores, LED lighting simply offers the most cost effective and highest performance platform for providing location services. End-users are leveraging indoor-positioning to deliver a variety of value-added services, with things like shopper indoor-wayfinding, mobile-marketing, and location analytics.

More recently, both startups and established players are starting to explore how lights can act as sensors for other things. Examples of this range from asset-tracking solutions (for tracking the location of critical assets like patient-beds/wheelchairs in hospitals), and space utilization solutions that tap into existing lighting-control occupancy sensors.

The common pattern between all of these solutions is leveraging the lighting network to collect data about the environment, and then using that data to improve a business-process.

DiLouie: You brought up that consumer electronics is undergoing unbundling. How does this concept work, and how do you see it potentially applying to lighting in the future?

Ryan: You’re seeing a physical manifestation of unbundling happening right now. All the major tech companies are offering voice-assistant products, including Amazon Echo, Google Home, and whatever Apple is about to launch. This is taking a service that used to be bundled with your smartphone – a voice based assistant – and unbundling it into a single, discrete device. Amazon even took this a step further with the recent Echo Show product – which contains an app for making phone calls!

Right now, the lighting industry is going through a “bundling” phase, where IoT services as well as BMS are bundling with lighting projects, which is a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future. What I think will eventually change this is the desire for compatibility between different systems. Compatibility drives standardization, which drives competitive dynamics and opens up the opportunity for a new services layer. An independent services layer would allow individuals pieces to pull pulled off – and unbundle yet again!

But that’s still a few years out at least – although you are starting to see some initial momentum around industry standards for networking lighting systems, building automation, and sensor interfaces.

DiLouie: You stated that the impact on distribution matters more than product. What examples can you provide from the consumer electronics industry?

Ryan: My point here was that when people look at these big, disruptive technology shifts, most of the analysis is very product-centric. People very naturally focus on the things they see – Netflix, the Apple Watch, Snapchat Spectacles, Spotify, etc. But the real story is underneath in distribution – technological shifts that impact distribution are the real drivers. “Disruptive” products are merely symptoms of an underlying disruption in distribution.

Probably the example that hits closest to home is what’s currently happening to the cable TV industry. Before streaming-video over the Internet, it was basically impossible to get access to content outside of the cable bundle. Whoever had the local monopoly on the data-pipe to your home became the sole provider of content, so everyone got used to paying for 1000 different cable channels that they never watched.

Once it became feasible to stream video over the Internet, you saw the rise of all the standalone subscription services for video content, like Netflix, HBO GO, and Hulu. So by changing the distribution model for content from cable to the Internet, an unbundling event happened.

DiLouie: What impact do you see lighting technology bundling (and unbundling) having on traditional electrical distributors?

Ryan: The powerful economic principle behind bundling is that both buyers and sellers benefit. So in that sense, when you apply this to the lighting channel, electrical distributors will benefit. The sale of higher-end systems will lead to larger project sizes, and help fight the commoditization and price erosion that we’re currently seeing in the traditional lighting market.

DiLouie: What impact do you see lighting technology bundling (and unbundling) having on electrical contractors?

Ryan: One of the major product challenges with deploying bundled IoT services is making them simple to install and maintain. Complicated systems lead to longer time spent on the job site, frustration, and lost profits. Companies need to keep their products simple so that IoT doesn’t get in the way of traditional jobs. Technology should make the lives of contractors and installers easier.

DiLouie: The smart/IoT-enabled lighting bundle may serve two markets—core benefits serving traditional buyers and value-added services serving new buyers. Will electrical distributors be able to serve both of these markets?

Ryan: I think the real question for distribution is where the intersection is between IoT service sales and the tradition lighting sale. At one level, distribution will sell higher-end systems, and will see benefits there. There are also some lighting-channel specific IoT services – things like preventative maintenance, and lighting-asset management, that will unlock new opportunities for selling to the traditional buyer. But I think it’s still very much an open question of how value-added IoT services will actually be sold, and what role the traditional channel will play there. The majority of the new services being developed are really orthogonal to what distributors do today. Regardless of how it all plays out, I expect traditional distribution to play a huge role.

DiLouie: You stated that the buyer of lighting is not the user of the bundle’s value-added services, which is a key difference with consumer electronics. What does this mean? How does it affect the lighting market?

Ryan: The reason bundle economics are so powerful is that it reduces the price of obtaining a suite of products for the end-user. Instead of buying a music player, a telephone, a calculator, and a mobile TV separately, I can just buy an iPhone. That model works because the person making the purchasing decision (me) is also benefiting from all of the services. And since the utility of the bundled product is so high, the seller of the product (Apple) gets to serve a much larger market.

Lighting is different in that the buyer of lighting – typically someone in facilities – is not the user of, and does not benefit from, IoT services. If a facilities manager invests in deploying IoT technology from their own budget, another department will get the benefits. This would be like someone like myself spending $900 on an iPhone and only using it to do phone calls, but then handing the rest of the phone over to my cousin to watch YouTube videos, surf the web, and post on Facebook.

DiLouie: What potential roles will electrical contractors serve in the future lighting market? What are potential scenarios where contractors are winners or losers? How can they position themselves best to survive, and thrive, during disruption and bundling in lighting?

Ryan: I don’t think contractors need to – nor should we expect them to – become experts in IoT services to still play the important role they play in the channel today. Intelligent lighting systems need to be simple to install, commission ,and maintain. If deploying a lighting-based IoT network becomes as costly as maintaining an independent network, then why bundle at all?

The one wild-card in the market is low-voltage DC lighting controls solutions like PoE, which is gaining momentum in the new-construction segment and allow contactors to tap into a different pool of labor for executing projects.

DiLouie: What potential roles will electrical distributors serve in the future lighting market? What are potential scenarios where distributors are winners or losers? How can they position themselves best to survive, and thrive, during disruption and bundling in lighting?

Ryan: As anyone who’s ever looked at the value-chain for lighting & constructions projects will tell you – it’s a complicated channel. And most of the “disruptive” products that people talk about aren’t going to change the buying process for your typical project. So I think that for the foreseeable future, distribution’s role will remain largely the same. There will be more opportunities to sell higher-value products, and for those distributors who strive to move up the value-chain, opportunities to develop deeper end-user relationships. I think the broader point here is that by moving into an entry-point for IoT, the total available market opportunity for the entire industry is going to increase – which will benefit multiple players in the channel.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about disruption posed by LED/IoT, what would it be?

Ryan: Channel & access to market – not technology – continue to remain the most important drivers of activity in the lighting space. I don’t think we’ll see true “disruption” – in the classic sense of the word – until we see changes in how lighting projects are specified & sold. That is certainly going to evolve as IoT capability starts to make its way into more project specifications, but I tend to think the disruption story gets a little overhyped.

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