The lighting industry is fascinating to study. Fascinating may be too strong of an adjective for the entire industry. However, fascinating as an adjective, is perfect for the study of the recent developments in the lighting industry.
There are competing factors and context-relevant dynamics simultaneously at play. There are commercial sectors, industrial sectors and home buyers involved. There are competing LED manufactures featuring competing prices, scalable applications for LED technology and cost-effective studies published from all angles.
There’s one thing we forgot to mention: why are people buying LEDs in the first place?
On Monday January 21st, 2013 the New York Times wrote an excellent feature article focused on the topic of LED.
Here are some of the highlights from the article:
LEDs are more expensive, but offer better light quality and more flexibility. And thanks to heavy marketing by retailers, customers are beginning to discover their appeal. “The LED you buy, even though you pay even $25 or $30, it’ll last like nine or 10 years,” said Tariq Syed, a machinist at an electrical utility who was eyeing LEDs at the Home Depot in Vauxhall, N.J., on Thursday. “And environmentally, it’s safe, too.” With demand growing for LEDs in other uses — like backlighted phone and computer screens, automotive lights and street lamps — manufacturers have been able to develop their technologies and benefit from economies of scale to help bring the price down, said Thomas J. Pincince, the chief executive of Digital Lumens, which sells LED systems to businesses. In the commercial and industrial sector, use of LEDs is more common than in homes, analysts say, because companies are more likely to do the long-term cost-benefit analysis of buying lighting than homeowners, who are still largely driven by the upfront price. Goldman Sachs estimates that in the residential sector, penetration of LEDs will rise from 3 percent last year to 16 percent in 2015, still lagging the commercial and industrial sector as well as outdoor applications like parking lots and billboards. At the same time, in an effort to transform light bulbs from a cheap, disposable product into something that consumers might show off to their friends, manufacturers have been adding functions that could ultimately fit into a larger home automation system. Often Bluetooth- or Wi-Fi-enabled, a new generation of LED bulbs offers all manner of new remote controls and automatic responses. The Philips Hue, sold exclusively at Apple stores for the next month, can change colors along a broad spectrum and offers settings that can mimic sunrise in the morning or use a special “light recipe” intended to raise energy levels. The bulb has been a big hit, executives say, attracting a host of software developers who have created free apps for new features, like making it respond to voices or music. The bulb can also tie into the Nest thermostat, a so-called smart device from Apple alumni who helped develop the iPod, that learns consumer heating and cooling patterns and adjusts to them automatically.