David Shiller shares his top product and trends finds at LightFair 2022.
It was great to get back to LightFair International (LFI), last week. It was a significantly better show than last year’s (IMHO), but still roughly half of the exhibitors of a pre-pandemic LFI. Here is a fast recap of my favorite products and trends at LFI, last week:
- Additional manufacturers showing and offering street and area lights with LED amber sources. These can be direct emission amber LEDs or phosphor-converted amber LEDs (1800K – 2200K). Most folks know about amber sources for “turtle-safe” lighting, in Florida and other Southeast municipalities. However, due to global collapses in both insect and bird populations attributed to white LED lighting, there are a growing list of municipalities requiring amber street and area lighting. I learned that Austin, TX and municipalities in New York state have added requirements during bird migration seasons that promote turning lights out and amber sources. Here is more information about a recent DLC whitepaper on non-white light sources for outdoors.
- Miniaturization of high output fixtures. More exhibitors than I could count were showing linear high bays as small as 9” x 15” to replace 2’ x 4’ linear highbays. There were also numerous 9” diameter UFO’s (round high bays) intended to replace round HID highbay fixtures, up to 2’ in diameter.
- Tape manufacturers said A/C COB tape is finally in development and expected to have it in the next year. This will have all of the benefits of COB tape (no pixilated dots) and no separate brick driver to hide.
- RGB+tunable white (TW) everything! The coolest example was S14 lamps (for outdoor light strings) with RGB+TW that both color changes and color tunes via a mobile app. I saw a couple manufacturers with this, including American Lighting.
- Some of the RGB+TW luminaires are now being controlled with SPI protocol, which is similar in some ways to DALI’s individually addressable luminaires. SPI is a common communication protocol used by many different devices. For example, SD card reader modules, RFID card reader modules, and 2.4 GHz wireless transmitter/receivers all use SPI to communicate with microcontrollers. One unique benefit of SPI is the fact that data can be transferred without interruption. Any number of bits can be sent or received in a continuous stream.
- QR codes everywhere! Very little printed product literature, no more thumb drive product catalogs. Almost every both had product signs with QR codes.
- A new cast of first-tier booths. Acuity didn’t exhibit. Crestron had one of the largest booths. Signify and Cooper had separate but adjacent booths, despite the acquisition. By contrast, Current brands (GLI brands in Current-speak) and its acquired Hubble Brands (HLI brands in Current-speak) were mashed together in a single, large booth. Many people thought the brand reorg was messy and confusing (myself included).
- One of the most fascinating product demos that I observed was by Dr. Dinesh Ramanathan, Ph.D., the CEO of NexGen Power Systems, an advanced driver manufacturer, that recently emerged from stealth mode. They grow their own GaN-on-GaN, higher frequency transistors that are more efficient, smaller, and produce less EMI, thereby requiring smaller/less EMI filtering components. The resulting drivers are 6% higher power efficiency, which enables luminaires to increase lumen output by 250% (2.5x increase) while decreasing in size! Their drivers were 30-50% smaller in size, in addition to the higher efficiency. I’ll be closely watching this technology.
- This is the first LightFair that I ever found something exciting in emergency lighting. Concealite showed emergency lights that rotated out of a blank wall when triggered. The product can be painted or wallpapered to be invisible when not in use. They claimed they can replace 8-10 legacy “bug-eye lights” with a single one of their high output, aim-able units. More information here.
- SportsBeams released a 1500W LED sports light and high mast light, equivalent to 3000W of HID (but such an HID never existed). They use heat pipes for thermal management. They also were offering amber versions of their products, as well as RGB+TW units that enable colorful entertainment lighting from stadium lights. More information here.
- Filament HID replacement lamps from several manufacturers, including Signify, TCP, LEDVANCE, and others. More about this trend here.
- Multiple manufacturers promoting Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers, including, Espen Technology and Light Efficient Design. More about this trend here.