Signs of the Times - August 2016 - (Page 30)
LED Upd a te
By M. Nisa Khan, Ph.D.
Lightfair 2016: Smart Controls
and IoT Backstage Lighting Quality
Remember the dot-com and housing bubbles?
ightfair 2016, the predominant
annual lighting tradeshow held
in April this year, at San Diego's
Convention Center, continues to
be overwhelmed by LED lighting.
This year, the continuing trend
for embracing LED lighting was
unequivocally enforced because
the solid-state lighting technology
functions well with Internet-based
controls that can operate via wireless networks. Most notable is the
LED attachment to the Internet
of Things (IoT) frenzy that now
appears unstoppable. LED Smart
lighting now resides in the same
"must-have" arena of autonomous
cars, robots, and other self-managing electronic devices that promise
to ease our lives and livelihood.
Electric lighting has transformed
our society for more than 100 years.
It boosted both our mood and association with the environment, but
also affected culture, productivity
and economic circumstances. Undoubtedly, electric signage also
played a major role for businesses
that built their brands through
illuminated signage. However, such
enormity pales in comparison to
today's trends, because the advent
of LED lighting has created an unprecedented revolution that Lightfair representatives described as
"light and technology in a new
Why did LEDs become the Lightfair story?
The LED lighting introduction started
with LED's drastic lumen/watt
advantage, followed by a lumen/dollar
advantage. Even as these factors
continued to improve (without
significantly sacrificing color quality), the lighting industry remained
hesitant because experts say the
30 SIGNS OF THE TIMES August 2016
overall lighting quality from LED
lamps was not equivalent to traditional lighting. Although this
remains true for many of today's
applications, including some electric signage, LED's overall lighting
quality is moving backstage.
Interestingly, LED lighting and
accompanying systems have now
taken center stage because the
marketing messages tout intelligent and efficient lighting as more
important than the qualities of
traditional lighting; because LED
lamps exclusively offer optimal and
cost-effective IoT links; and because
manufacturers can build LED systems that create circadian-rhythm
matching throughout the day.
Beware of bubbles
From a business perspective, the
LED lighting story sounds revolutionary, because light, by nature,
is virtually everybody's consumable resource; and, if this resource
brings energy and cost savings along
with enhanced lifestyle as well as
health, who could argue against it?
However, such pictures are often
less than they first appear.
Remember the dot-com and
housing bubbles? The first, because
the internet bandwidth was declared
to be unlimited and inexpensive,
allowed believers to open a profitable dot-com business. The second
- housing - advised that everyone
should buy not just bigger homes,
but multiple homes as investments.
Wall Street banks made it alluring
- as did investment vehicles like
collateral debt securities (known
as higher derivative securities).
Sadly, much of the world paid
dearly for these disruptions. And,
just as with previous avant-garde
movements, the LED lighting suc-
Dr. M. Nisa Khan
As president of IEM LED
Dr. Khan consults in the
solid state lighting industry
and educates consumers
about LED lighting. She
has a bachelor's degree
in physics and mathematics, and master's and
Ph.D. degrees in electrical
engineering. Email her at
cess story has two sides. I recommend new believers take proper
cautions and conduct careful studies
before venturing too far.
Lighting industry embraces LEDs
Most industry Lightfair participants, media included, tell of the
great benefits of LED lighting in
terms of synergy with IoT, color
tunability, higher efficacy and a
color-rendering index over 95, as
well as the freedom to design luminaires to fit various architectural
forms that aren't possible with
traditional lamps. These tellings
include declarations from Osram
representatives who say their LED
tubular and nostalgic, vintage glowing lamps offer a slew of benefits
while offering the exact same light
distribution as do their fluorescent
and incandescent counterparts.
Other declarations include
Eaton Lighting's Kandice Cohen,
a Revolution in Lighting Control
Systems seminar speaker who
claimed that the tunable LED troffers available today should not be
installed without light-adjustmentcontrol units because that asset
would substantially increase the
value. In addition, Acuity Brands'
Dr. David DiLaura, in the seminar
"A History of Light and Lighting,"
said LED lamps now produce light
in all different directions just as
traditional lamps do. This is
accomplished by placing the tiny
individual LEDs at various directions, he said.
LED science, technology, math
and time may differ
At a quick glance, these claims
and descriptions may seem valid,
but they aren't the complete story.
Inorganic LEDs come in small
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - August 2016
Signs of the Times - August 2016
Why You Should Invest in a Color-Management Device
Technology Review - Epson SureColor S80600
Technology Review - The AXYZ Trident
Sign Museum News
Writing on the Wall
Dostoevsky and the Crane Truck
Penn State Study Assesses Font Legibility
A Crossroads Celebration
Signs of the Times - August 2016