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LIGHTFAIR 2017 Recap and Innovations

LEDG had a great week at LIGHTFAIR 2017 held at the Philadelphia Convention Center from May 9th through May 11th featuring the world’s leading manufacturers of lighting and control solutions. We use this time to examine what innovations are brewing, what will work for our customer’s facilities today, and generate new ideas by application types such as warehousing, manufacturing, athletics, and more.

Control systems continue to improve and offer more and more features and long-term benefits for the facility managers. We checked in with all the well-known manufacturers to see how the control systems differ – a question we get asked a lot at customer sites.

The evolution and excitement surrounding IoT (Internet of Things) led us to believe that Lightfair 2017 was going to be inundated with new products and control systems, or perhaps the “next generation” of lighting controls and implementation. It was inundated with products and systems, but mostly with the same players, playing the same game, each with their own custom game equipment.  

The game in this scenario is “controls.”  Over the previous few years, we’ve seen amazing advances in lighting control systems, mainly in the form of network-based controls.  We’ve seen networked lighting controls evolve from their infancy, to present day, where they dominate the lighting control method landscape and should continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Over the previous few years, we’ve seen the network control model evolve into a “Smart Buildings” brand.  In relation to lighting controls, smart buildings take controls to the next level by allowing anything in the building that is controllable, to be controlled.  Most importantly, there is one control system that monitors and controls all control points, I.e. lighting, HVAC, and equipment loads, from one login screen. Goodbye to the days of facility managers having separate lighting and building control systems that cannot communicate with each other, and hello to the future of controls.

Most control systems offer the same technology though the new control system from Acuity Brands, SensorSwitch, offers the ability to use its capabilities on a small level and scale up. Plus the Acuity Brands controls are available in a wide variety of fixtures allowing for greater flexibility for facilities.

We also learned about using controls in lighting fixtures to track assets. LIGHTFAIR 2017 visitors seemed very excited about this technology along with tunable light and circadian rhythm color temperatures options. Healthcare, education, and other human-centric facilities can definitely benefit from these innovations.

Speaking of application-based solutions, much to our surprise, the agricultural lighting was minimal at best. Through further investigation with some known players in the agricultural lighting business, the general consensus here at LEDG is that agricultural LED lighting isn’t quite “there” yet.  We had some great conversations with LuxGro, LumiGrow, and Lighting Science group (watch out for these three), and came to similar conclusions with all, that it’s getting there. Getting there is only half the battle, the other half is convincing farmers that LED lighting works better than their traditional metal halide fixtures for growing crops.

For new innovations, one of our favorite products is Rubik for standard grid ceilings

Sengled is LEDG’s pick for best innovation for a number of new products:

  • LED T8 replacement lamp with built-in emergency battery.  Seems too simple to have not already been done, but sometimes simple is best, and if you are looking to replace your lamps only, you can satisfy both your normal lighting and emergency lighting with this one product.
  • Security floodlight with integral HD camera and two-way communications.  Take your traditional security spotlight, throw an HD camera in the center with two-way communications, and you have, in one fixture, a standalone security system.  When it detects motion, you get notified via the mobile app and can log in, view, and communicate with anyone on your property.
  • Screw in LED Lamps with built-in Bluetooth speakers. Sick of listening to sound through your TV? Install these lamps around your living room, sit back, and listen to your new surround sound system.

Questions on our discoveries? Email me at tab at ledesigngroup.com