Category: Lighting Industry

Interview: Korrus’s CEO On The Recent Acquisition Of Circadian ZircLight

Korrus is the company that owns Ecosense, Soraa, Scuva, Tempo Industries, and now Circadian ZircLight. They focus on “Human Light Interaction (HLI),” which they define as seeking to understand human interactions with light, and creating technologies that better serve the needs of those humans.

Korrus is the company that owns Ecosense, Soraa, Scuva, Tempo Industries, and now Circadian ZircLight. They focus on “Human Light Interaction (HLI),” which they define as seeking to understand human interactions with light, and creating technologies that better serve the needs of those humans. I interviewed Mark Reynosa, CEO of Korrus, about their recent acquisition of Circadian ZircLight, and where Korrus is going from here.

Shiller: Congratulations, first off, on the acquisition of Circadian ZircLight.

Reynosa: Thank you so much.

Shiller: I was curious whether the acquisition would impact the partnerships that Circadian ZircLight currently has, providing light engines to partners like Acuity, H.E. Williams, and presumably others? Will the OEM engine play still be a focus for Circadian ZircLight?

Reynosa: Yes. We have no intention to interrupt any preexisting agreements and relationships between ZircLight and other participants in the industry. Quite the opposite. The entire thesis around our acquisition has been it supports our mission and the thesis is about enabling and creating greater awareness around solutions that deal with some of the ill effects of artificial light in the world, today.

Shiller: You mentioned the ill effects of artificial light. Most of the circadian lighting manufacturers leading the space have focused on what I consider a high cyan / low cyan, 2-channel approach. That’s been the dominant approach by multiple players. I’m curious if you envision circadian lighting moving beyond this 2-channel approach, to more sophisticated levels of spectral tuning?

Reynosa: We’ve been working really hard for quite a long time to really understand, at the physiological level, what actually works well in terms of understanding spectral energy. The kind of light that naturally occurs from morning till evening, and then asking ourselves, to what degree can we accurately replicate that spectral energy, to effectively entrain one’s circadian system. Through a tremendous amount of work, and years of research, we believe we have a technology platform that actually delivers on that promise. And you’ll begin to see our dynamic offering in that regard, begin to enter the marketplace next year. We believe it is materially differentiated from anything you’ve seen in the world, heretofore.

Shiller: So you’re saying that there are different approaches coming, beyond this 2-channel, high cyan / low cyan approach? Do you agree that something more sophisticated is coming, without asking you to give it away?

Reynosa: Yes. It’s been a very clear focus of ours. All through the organic work that we’ve done, and then through the acquisition of Soraa, and now with ZircLight, we have almost 500 patents in the intersections of humans and light, many of which have to do with one’s physiology, biology, and how it interacts with one’s circadian system and the natural environment. We don’t believe there is anything in the marketplace today that accurately reflects what occurs in nature. We think what we are building towards is quite likely a step function change from what is available today.

Shiller: Sounds exciting. You mentioned the Soraa asset acquisition in 2020. There was also the Lumium acquisition in 2019, the Tempo Industries acquisition earlier this year, and now Circadian ZircLight. Do you foresee Korrus acquisitions continuing at this pace?

Reynosa: We don’t really have a time-based acquisition strategy. Our business model and strategy have been pretty clear for the better part of almost a decade now. Sometimes there are opportunities that allow us to scale our vision more quickly. And in those instances, if we see that opportunity, we will take advantage of that through an acquisition. Otherwise, like Scuva, we’ll just build it internally. In fact, you’ll see an announcement coming shortly from us whereby we are partnering in the marketplace with an entity to help us increase the speed with which certain life-based technologies can be delivered to the marketplace, to increase human health and well-being, literally. You’ll see that announced in a number of days or weeks.

We build it internally, we acquire something externally, or we partner with someone. We’re very agnostic about the pathway through which we execute. The key for us is that we see it as a tremendous opportunity to get critical technology out to hundreds of millions, if not billions of people. We just focus on the ways in which we think we can do that best.

Shiller: The Lumium Lighting brand was turned into a product line under Ecosense, but Soraa and Tempo remained separate brands. Will Circadian ZircLight remain a separate brand or be consolidated like Lumium?

Reynosa: The distinctions between how we operate a particular brand varies depending on where we think the best way to maximize against our vision is. We haven’t completely determined the right way to optimize the ZircLight platform, because it is a just announced acquisition. Part of what we do is go out to the existing marketplace partners and ask them how do they feel we can best support them in their efforts with our technologies and solutions. We take that input into account in how we think about an execution perspective.

Shiller: With this Circadian ZircLight acquisition, Korrus is very well positioned and represented in the circadian and GUV aspects of light & health. I’m curious if you envision Korrus moving into other areas of active research for light & health, such as migraines, depression and other non-circadian light therapies?

Reynosa: Yes, this may be is a good point to clarify the mission that we are on. The way that we describe ourselves is that we’re pioneering a new industry called Human Light Interaction. As the name implies, what we want to understand deeply is all of the ways in which humans and light behave together, and how we might be able to provide or create technologies that enhance those interactions. That could be in the in the realm of diseases and illnesses. It could have to do with antiviral properties and material properties. Germicidal things that have to do with the lived environment and to optimize that from a physiological perspective. So we see our mandate as extremely wide, and we don’t even use the word “lighting” to describe the business. We use the word “light.” If you just pause for a second and just think about that, the distinction is quite different. In fact, we had part of our business development team at Display Week, this week in San Jose, showing our technology and our display applications. So televisions, monitors, smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. When we think about the problems being encountered in modern society and the application layers of modern society, we see our mandate and vision really speaking to that entire opportunity set. The next logical question is that’s a gigantic market and opportunity set. So we try to be very disciplined in the specific areas that we want to target. But in terms of research abilities, we have a deep science and engineering team, exploring a very wide cross-section of modern dynamics and how we might participate in helping better the world through specific applications.

We have a culture of curiosity and exploration. If one of our scientists or engineers come upon something in the literature that they think is interesting, we give them the opportunity to go explore and understand that more deeply. It could be depression, Alzheimer’s, sleep, or performance, like an athlete. It is extremely wide.

Shiller: I personally see those non-circadian light therapies, for things like migraines, depression, etc. as potentially becoming much bigger business than circadian lighting, over the medium term, because it’s so debilitating, and it’s a bigger quality of life issue. Do you see those areas becoming big business or is it just too soon to tell?

Reynosa: Take a step even further out. I think the intersection of digital technologies, health, and wellness, which has even removed the word light, for a second. I think in the next 30 to 50 years, you’re going to see an ocean of new categories, industries, products, applications, and experiences at that intersection. At one level, Korrus is just a small microcosm of a gigantic wave coming from that direction, at that intersection. To your point, it is an overwhelmingly large opportunities, because since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve pretty materially divorced ourselves from the natural environment. Modernity brought in a lot of really wonderful things, but with that we brought on certain drawbacks and certain compromises that we think we can create a better balance with. We see our mission as elevating people’s understanding of their light diet, much in the same way they think about food, air and water. It’s literally that fundamental. And in the last 50 years, you’ve seen real revolutions, frankly, in all three of those,  where we believe light to be extremely misunderstood. And part of that is because 80% of everything that we know about human health and light has only been discovered in the last 20 years. The science is only now catching up with the truth and reality of the situation We’re trying to be at the forefront of that to help bring awareness and evangelize ways in which we can solve some of those modern ill effects, from divorcing ourselves from nature.

Shiller: We have been talking about human light interaction. Do you anticipate Korrus moving beyond human light interaction to other biological lighting, such as horticultural lighting or livestock and poultry lighting, that are non-human, but still biological.

Reynosa That’s a good question. Probably every three to six months, we get an inbound request, whether it’s from somebody in industry or academia, who is interested in exploring some of those intersections with our technology capabilities. After some explorations in that space, we’ve concluded that the intersections of humans and light is already overwhelmingly large. Opening the aperture up even larger, right now, would be a real distraction.

Shiller: Is there anything else that you’d like our reader to know about Korrus?

Reynosa: Thank you for that. I’d encourage people to go to Korrus.com to learn a little bit more about the market and the industry that we’re pioneering. There are a couple of videos. One that discusses human interaction with light and our mission. There’s a second video, under our science page, specifically on the intersection of humans and circadian health and well-being.

Shiller: Thank you for sharing your insights, Mark.

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Lighting Industry Supply Chain Continues to Change

A recent LEDs Magazine article laid out ways that the lighting industry supply chain problems are not only changing constantly, but likely getting worse.

A recent LEDs Magazine article laid out ways that the lighting industry supply chain problems are not only changing constantly, but likely getting worse:

  • Shanghai lockdowns for roughly 6 weeks are significantly impacting both factories and the port there, adding delays. Shanghai is the world’s largest shipping port.
  • The war in Ukraine is impacting steel, aluminum, and some other commodity prices.
  • The microchip shortage continues to impact drivers and smart lighting components.
  • Commodity prices in general continue to rise.
  • Long-term container backlogs at US ports have eased, however, providing one bright spot.

You can read the full story here.

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Five Lighting Designers Discuss The Latest Trends In Lighting Retail Spaces

A recent IES LD+A article interviews five lighting designers about the trends that they see in lighting retail spaces.

A recent IES LD+A article interviews five lighting designers about the trends that they see in lighting retail spaces.

Some trends include:

  • Explosion of e-commerce during the pandemic and the extent to which people will go back to retail.
  • E-commerce went from 5% of retail sales in Q1, 2012 to 16% in Q1, 2020.
  • Retailers who had paused their new prototype strategies in 2020 and 2021 with the unknowns of the pandemic, now in 2022 are dusting off those designs and moving forward.
  • The in-person experience is adapting rapidly to accommodate a wide variety of shopping styles, and the lighting systems must change to create enhanced brand experiences.
  • Retailers are expecting shoppers to return in-store in substantial numbers, especially for non-commodity goods and experiential services, including electric-car companies, jewelers, pet-care companies, salons, grocers, outdoor-gear companies, apparel and footwear.
  • Regional shopping centers adapting toward mixed-use destinations, where people are drawn in by restaurants, fitness centers, theaters, hotels, open-exterior spaces and other amenities intermixed with retail. Lighting becomes integral to creating an atmosphere—drawing visitors in and encouraging them to explore.
  • Stores are catering to “Instagrammable” moments. The architectural design includes areas that look great on camera, so the lighting needs to be soft for camera use, too.

The full article is available here.

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Covid Lockdowns Relaxing In Guangzhou & Shenzhen

Lockdowns in two major Chinese manufacturing cities have begun relaxing, in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, last week.

Lockdowns in two major Chinese manufacturing cities have begun relaxing, in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, last week. Two weeks ago, Guangzhou became the latest major manufacturing city to lock down schools and travel, with fears that the lockdowns could spread to the manufacturing sector. However, last week, case numbers fell for several consecutive days in both Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

New Shenzhen symptomatic cases dropped to zero for some days last week. Shenzhen continues to see a large number of cases imported from Hong Kong, accounting for 19 of the 21. The remaining two imported cases both came from Japan.

In response to the falling number of Guangzhou cases, several previously locked-down areas in Baiyun, Panyu, Yuexiu and Haizhu districts have been lifted.

Many schools in Guangzhou have resumed in-person teaching and Foshan announced that people can now leave the city without needing a negative nucleic acid test issued within 48 hours.

For Shanghai, though, case numbers are dropping slowly, keeping the city in a terrible lockdown for more than a month. Shanghai reported 24,820 cases on April 17th and 17,468 cases on April 22nd. My own friend in Shanghai reports that food shortages are becoming a significant problem for the poor and migrant workers.

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Comcast Enters The Smart Cities Space, Including Lighting

Inside.lighting covers Comcast’s entry into the smart cities space. Comcast isn’t the first giant telecom to jump into smart cities and associated lighting. Verizon acquired Sensity Systems back in 2016, specifically to bolster its smart cities capabilities.

Inside.lighting covers Comcast’s entry into the smart cities space. Comcast isn’t the first giant telecom to jump into smart cities and associated lighting. Verizon acquired Sensity Systems back in 2016, specifically to bolster its smart cities capabilities.

Comcast Corporation announced that its Comcast Smart Solutions platform will provide connectivity and consulting services. As part of those services, Comcast plans to connect customers with strategic collaborators that provide smart technology in the following areas:

  • Lighting
  • Building Solutions
  • Parking/Curb
  • Public Works – Waste Management, Storm Water Monitoring, Asset Tracking
  • Video/Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) Analytics
  • LED Displays & Digital Kiosks

Recently, Comcast Smart Solutions worked with the City of Philadelphia on a smart lighting pilot, installing smart streetlights with built-in optical and environmental sensors that can count pedestrians, vehicles, bicyclists, and parked vehicles, and measure temperature, relative humidity, and carbon monoxide. The Philadelphia project is one of several pilots and solutions that the Comcast Smart Solutions team has deployed working in partnership with local communities where the company operates.

The full article is available here .

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Four Major Trends In Lighting Controls

Electrical distributors, sales reps and manufacturers need to recalibrate their sales and marketing strategies to increase their share of lighting controls that accounts for 2.2% (approximately $2.64 billion) of the estimated $120 billion in sales through full-line electrical distributors.

A recent article in Electrical Wholesaler reports on four major trends in the lighting controls market.

Electrical distributors, sales reps and manufacturers need to recalibrate their sales and marketing strategies to increase their share of lighting controls that accounts for 2.2% (approximately $2.64 billion) of the estimated $120 billion in sales through full-line electrical distributors. There are four major trends now reshaping the lighting controls market:

  • App-based lighting control is commonplace for homes and other smaller applications.
  • Wireless lighting control is popular for applications with a small footprint and retrofit work with a relatively limited number of fixtures to control.
  • Networked lighting control systems are often tied in with HVAC, building automation and security systems in larger applications.
  • Field-selectable CCT (correlated color temperature) and wattage is now widely available across the lighting industry.

The full article is available here.

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Acuity Enters The LED Horticultural Lighting Market

Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI) announced the launch of Verjure, a professional-grade horticultural LED fixture series, for indoor applications.

Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI) announced the launch of Verjure, a professional-grade horticultural LED fixture series, for indoor applications. The Verjure Pro Series LED luminaires are designed to support all stages of plant growth from veg to flower. The Series is available in three different sizes and outputs to support versatility in growing, including indoor warehouse, greenhouse, and vertical racks.

The Verjure Pro Series delivers an ultra-high output of up to 1880 μmol/s at an efficacious 2.8 μmol/j. The output is designed to meet and exceed the output of traditional 1000W HPS grow lights while delivering up to 40% energy savings, contributing to a lower energy bill and operational cost savings, while also enhancing sustainability.

“The Verjure Pro Series was developed using academic-based plant research to determine how best to design an LED horticulture light based on optimal spectral distribution and fixture performance to promote healthy plant growth,” said Jacob Palombo, Director Product Marketing, Acuity Brands Lighting and Controls. “The Verjure Full Range Spectrum™, which contains a higher red photon contribution than what is typically seen in some horticulture LED fixtures on the market, produced up to 27% higher flower yield per dollar of electricity on average compared to high-pressure sodium lighting.”

The Verjure Pro Series LED luminaires are IP66-rated (waterproof listing) and come with a robust 6kV surge protection. Additionally, the Verjure Pro Series LED luminaires can easily be controlled with wireless nLight® AIR controls, which allow users to easily turn fixtures on and off, dim, and adjust output levels. With wireless controls, fixtures can be grouped to respond in unison to commands and/or divided into separate zones of control with independent light output levels and dimming capabilities. A companion CLAIRITY mobile app provides easy start-up, configuration, and modification.

More information here.

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Section 301 Tariffs Could Expire And USTR Reinstates Some Exclusions

According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), the first $34 billion of Section 301 tariffs on products coming from China have been in place for almost 4 years.

Tariffs Could Expire If No USTR Action

According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), the first $34 billion of Section 301 tariffs on products coming from China have been in place for almost 4 years. Before their fourth year is up, they are required to undergo a Congressionally-mandated effectiveness review. The tariffs could expire if the review is not completed by September 4, 2022.

The review will be conducted by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) as set forth in the Trade Act of 1974. President Biden’s USTR has allowed the Trump-era tariffs to remain in place. The Chinese government has not lived up to its commitments in the Phase One trade deal.

Over the last four years, tariffs have cost America nearly $130 billion dollars. The subsequent Section 301 tariffs will also follow a similar path, as their four-year anniversaries approach, in the months ahead.

USTR Reinstates Some Exclusions

As the Section 301 tariffs have evolved, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) created and implemented a tariff exclusion process. To date, USTR has approved 549 requested exclusions, but all of those have since expired.

After six months of urging by industry, USTR has reinstated 352 of the original 549 exclusions. The reinstated exclusions are retroactive to Oct. 12, 2021, and will be in effect for the remainder of 2022. The full list of reinstated exclusions is here.

Identified exclusions impacting lighting:

8536.50.9065
Modular light switches, for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V, presented in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) housings, designed for use with a backplate

8536.90.4000
Twist-on wire connectors, for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V, each valued not over $0.03

8543.70.9960 prior to January 27, 2022, or 8543.70.9860 effective January 27, 2022
Apparatus using passive infrared detection sensors designed for turning lights on and off

9405.40.8440 prior to January 27, 2022, or 9405.42.8440 effective January 27, 2022
Flexible strips, each having embedded light-emitting diodes electrically connected to a molded electrical end connector, each strip wound onto a reel measuring not more than 25 cm in diameter and not more than 1.5 cm in width.

 

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Massachusetts LED Study Projects High C&I LED Adoption Rates

Last year, an evaluation report by DNV was published about Massachusetts’ commercial & industrial lighting rebate programs. The report projected some LED adoption rates significantly higher than DOE’s predictions for the US, as a whole.

Last year, an evaluation report by DNV was published about Massachusetts’ commercial & industrial lighting rebate programs. The report projected some LED adoption rates significantly higher than DOE’s predictions for the US, as a whole.

Key projections include:

  • Ambient linear LED adoption will reach 85% by 2024.
  • High/low bay LED adoption will reach 77% by the end of 2024.
  • Building exterior/outdoor LED adoption will reach 94% by 2024.

Read the full report here.

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New Lighting Designer Directory Published By inside.lighting

Last month, lighting industry news website, inside.lighting, published a new Lighting Designer Directory. To find out more about this new industry resource, I interviewed Al Uszynski, Editor & Publisher of inside.lighting.

Last month, lighting industry news website, inside.lighting, published a new Lighting Designer Directory. To find out more about this new industry resource, I interviewed Al Uszynski, Editor & Publisher of inside.lighting.

DS: When did you launch the Lighting Designer Directory on inside.lighting?

AU: We’ve been contemplating a lighting designer directory for a couple of years, but the work really started in late 2021. The debut of the Lighting Designer Directory was February 2022.

Our mission was to find a way to give a signal boost to architectural lighting designers while segmenting them from other “lighting design” professions that relate to live events, film, TV production, landscape installations and the design of custom light fixtures.  Try Googling “Lighting Designer in…” for your city and it’s often hard to find architectural lighting designers among all the different search results.

DS: How many lighting designers are in the database, currently?

AU: We take a firm-centric approach and not an individual-designer approach.  We have over 350 architectural design firms listed that represent over 1,000 individual architectural lighting designers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

DS: How should a lighting designer / firm get themselves added to your directory, if they’re not currently listed?

AU: Design firms should send us their firm information via the inside.lighting contact form.  Include a link to the firm website.  We’ll take a look at their online portfolio to ensure they provide architectural lighting design services.  Easy peasy – and we never charge designers for listings or links.

DS: Do you anticipate adding any search functionality around vertical specializations, such as healthcare, hospitality, industrial, retail, etc.?

AU: That is a cool suggestion but also one that might not create the differentiation that one would expect.  We anticipate that most firms would check the questionnaire box for each of those project types.  We provide links to each firm’s website, so their online portfolio can speak to their unique expertise.  In most states and provinces there are fewer than 15 listings, so it’s a manageable experience for the website visitor.

DS: How do you feel the response has been to the directory, from lighting designers and directory users?

AU: It’s been fantastic.  When we first launched the directory, we were flooded with inquiries from designers to tweak their listings, add their satellite office location, etc. – which we take as a good sign that there’s value to the design firms.  We continue to get several new designers per week requesting to be listed.  We received lots of positive feedback from the lighting design community at the recent LEDucation 2022 trade show and conference.

DS: Who do you think are the primary users of the directory? Building owners? Architects? Construction firms? Other?

AU: The main goal is to attract visitors who are seeking architectural lighting design services.  As inside.lighting has grown to over 50,000 visitors per month, we know that we get some good traffic from architects and end-users.  The real value will come over time as Google fully indexes the directory and starts pointing organic search traffic to the directory.

We predict that later this year when someone Googles “Lighting Designer in _______” that we will be a top search result just like we are currently the #1 result for “Lighting News,” “Lighting Industry Jobs” and “Lighting Agents in __________.”

DS: How do you see the directory evolving over time?

AU: We want to grow the directory size to make it even more useful.  We’d also like to add an Instagram link to each listing.  As social media consumers, we believe the best social platform for architectural design firms is Instagram.  Seeing the visuals of their finished work, or the videos of an installation in progress is the best way to capture the value that these awesome service professionals bring to their projects.

Thanks for the thoughtful questions – we really appreciate what LightNOW does and enjoyed the opportunity to connect!

Learn More:  The Lighting Designer Directory »

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