The big talking point from LightFair (LFI) 2015 was what lighting can offer beyond just illumination. Examples included: visible light communications, human centric lighting, connected lighting and smarter environments. It was certainly a well-attended show, with some interesting technology developments. There were a few areas that stood out, as follows:
Increasing the IQ of lighting
Generally, dedicated controls companies had a strong presence, emphasizing the breadth and depth of their offerings. Many traditional lighting and driver companies showed their growing portfolios, covering the full lighting eco-system. Solutions included fixture-level controls, gateways, cloud services and connected hubs. Both types of companies really want to take advantage of the hype around smart cities, smart homes, smart buildings and the Internet of things (IoT).
With the transition to LED now well underway, LED technology dominated the show. It was rare to find other technologies on display. OLED, for example, was displayed much less than it had been last year, with only a handful of exhibitors showing new OLED panels and fixtures.
Bluetooth, WiFi, or ZigBee?
There was a lot of discussion during the show around connected LED lamps and luminaires, with many new products on display. However, the battle of the wireless standards continues, with no single solution claiming victory yet.
Many component manufacturers presented flip chip and chip scale packaging (CSP) technologies, both of which appear set to make strong gains in the packaged LED market over the coming years, as manufacturers look for ways to cut costs and be more efficient. However, many vendors that presented CSP are only in the research and development stage, or are manufacturing low volumes.
Unique selling points?
It seems that all component manufacturers now have very broad portfolios. Most manufacturers offer flip chip and CSP, mid power, high power, chip on board (COB), modules and sometimes light engines. While certain manufacturers have offered certain products or technologies much longer than others, it is becoming harder to differentiate between the various LED suppliers. Modules and light engines were also promoted in greater quantities than in previous years.
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