New Color LEDs Face ROI Challenge

24 February 2015

The smart lighting industry has recently released a flurry of new product announcements for color-changeable and white-temperature tunable luminaires—including Cree, which has added color tunability to its SmartCast solution. However, with most consumers happy with their existing white color lighting, how will be market be affected by the rise of these new products?

Red, green and blue (RGB) color-changeable LED luminaries have for some time been popular in architectural and façade lighting but are now gaining momentum in the general illumination of indoor spaces. This new interest was initially sparked by the theatrical and entertainment markets. In 2014, IHS Technology estimated that more than 1.3 million color changeable indoor LED luminaires were shipped to commercial and residential customers; this market is now forecast to reach more than 9.2 million luminaries in 2018.

White-temperature tunability enables users to regulate the light level within a building. Currently, penetration of white-light tunability is very low; however, there have been a number of academic studies showing that different color temperatures have effects on individuals at work and at school. There has even been some interest in lighting for the healthcare industry designed to help improve recovery times and education applications that support better learning environments. Furthermore, some high-end office buildings have adopted changeable white-light solutions, in order to increase productivity.

A challenge that is now facing this market is calculating the return on investment (ROI) for these new solutions. After all, how do companies measure current productivity against the productivity of the workforce after a new white light-tunable solution is installed?

Both types of smart lighting offer new challenges for lighting-control companies that have in the past only provided dimming, switching, scheduling and daylight harvesting. Now lighting controls companies are also increasingly required to regulate the color of the lighting, in order to improve peoples’ moods and enhance living and working spaces.

Overall, there is a lot of potential in the market for RGB-changeable and white-tunable luminaires, particularly in architectural and design-led applications. Even so, questions about their potential ROI will continue to challenge the market penetration of these new solutions.

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IHS Lighting & LEDs

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