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LED Lighting. What's next?
LED industry evolves and the business model changes quickly


According to CSIL report: LEDs and the worldwide market for lighting fixtures (edition October 2017), nowadays most of the world lighting fixtures market is LED based. As a matter of fact Philips Lighting LED sales in the second semester 2017 account for 63%, with a double-digit growth. The share of LED based sales for the Swedish Fagerhult is even higher (85%, mainly for architectural products and light addressing shops). Zumtobel sales of LED products increased by 10.4% year on year and the LED share of the Group’s revenues rose to 72% from a previous 62%. Osram LED share has grown from 34% to 60% in three years. This industry evolves and the business model (sometimes the ownership as well) changes: GE splits its business among the future oriented “Current” and the Lamps division, Philips Lighting is now independently quoted at the Stock Exchange and Osram sold its Lamp division (now named Ledvance) to the Chinese giant MLS Electronics. In 2016 MLS revenues were worth around US$ 800 million. The company ranks among the top 10 largest LED manufacturers in the world.


The LED based segment of the US market for lighting fixtures increased from 6% to 15% in the period 2008- 2011 and up to 51.4% in 2016. The LED segment has been growing especially for the outdoor lighting applications, where it accounts for around 70% (10% more than the previous year). Growth rate for LED fixtures in 2016 has been 26%. Top 50 hold over 62% of the LED lighting market. In 2016 the Chinese LED industry recorded a relevant price reduction. Production and consumption of LED lighting fixtures increased by 9% and 10%, respectively. Traditional lighting registered a huge decrease by 27%, especially on export markets. LED based lighting fixtures manufactured in China were worth around US$ 2.6 billion in 2010 and US$ 26 billion in 2016. Yearly growth has been around 60% from 2010 to 2014, over 30% in 2015 and almost 10% in 2016. LED represents around 75% of the export value of lighting fixtures and almost 55% of the domestic market (as far as production is concerned, 65% is LED).


Human Centric Lighting is one of the future relevant topics for the European lighting sector. The approach goes beyond standard system design focusing only on lighting and energy efficiency criteria. It’s mainly about the effect of light on human wellbeing and health, and biologically effective light is a part of this. In the Trilux catalogue, the Premium light management system for light scenes and dynamics enables the time-based implementation of light scenes as part of dynamic light sequences. Ranging from accentuating colour changes intended to catch the attention of viewers to discreet colour temperature chases that follow the example of natural daylight. Start-up and operation as well as programming of light scenes and sequences are via the touch panel. After Healthcare, Human Centric Lighting will probably run in offices and schools, and only later in residential. LEDs could be the next big thing for commercial horticulture. Growing flowers and crops under LED lighting could improve colour and taste as well as boost production. Avnet integrates supply chains and distributors, in order to launch a series of horticultural lighting integration services. Cree introduced horticultural lighting and engineering lighting products at LFI 2017 trade fair. Lumileds also equips algorithms for horticultural lighting software providing products with Color temperature ranging from 2,700 K to 5,000 K. New Luxeon V reaches 1700 lumens at 5700K and 70 CRI (it is said 50% higher than standard products).


One of the key innovations brought by LED technology is the way in which lighting can be easily controlled (LEDs become smart when combined with dimming controls). DALI Dynamic Control is a light management system for lighting scenes and dynamics. Smart lighting might be the biggest revolution the lighting industry has seen in decades, but the multitude of available wireless communication technologies can cause trouble. One of the options is Bluetooth mesh networking technology, enabling many-to-many device communications and optimized for creating large-scale device networks. It’s especially reliable for building automation, sensor networks, and IoT solutions where tens, hundreds, or thousands of devices need to communicate with one another. Current solutions can extend Bluetooth range up to 200 meters.

OLED or not OLED?

OLED business is growing fast for TVs and display worldwide, but it’s the opposite for lighting fixtures. There is plenty of lighting fixtures manufacturers exploring the market with prototypes, but sales are minimal (some 250 million US$, that is 0,5% of the LED lighting market, or 0,25% of the overall lighting market). LG Display showcased at Euroluce in Milan two products designed by Ross Lovegrove: Medusa (resembles the image of floating plankton, with flexible OLED sheets) and an installation of digital printing including OLED disquettes. Potential OLED advantages include: closest light source to sunlight, no glare, no heat, extremely thin, transparent (it could act as a window in a close future), flexible (when using support different from glass). Innovation in the field of OLED is delayed and may be it will be conducted by players other than the ones involved in the LED transition: Philips sold its branch to Oled Works, Osram is focusing on Automotive while LG Electronics seems hugely investing on it.


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