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Q: with decreasing prices and increasing efficiency, are LEDS finally poised to gain universal acceptance?

Brad Bullington, CEO, Bridgelux

Solid state lighting isn't coming, it's already here. Look at the construction specifications for any large commercial project and you will find LEDs and, increasingly, lighting networking as an integral part of the plan. It's a no-brainer. Energy efficient buildings achieve rents that are four to 13 percent higher than conventional buildings and capital valuations that can be three to 25 percent higher than counterparts. Lighting accounts for 14 percent of all energy used in commercial buildings, and LEDs are key to maximizing returns. Cities are rapidly converting to LED street lights for many of the same reasons. LED street lights reduce power consumption by more than 70 percent. Just as important, they last for decades, dramatically reducing maintenance hassles and outages. In Paris, solid state street lights are being equipped with networking to dim lights after 1 p.m. to reduce light pollution. LiFi, an emerging standard for transmitting data via solid state lighting sources, is being studied as a mechanism for sending real-time information about traffic jams. The Department of Energy estimates solid state lighting is on track to cut lighting power by 46 percent by 2030.

The last frontier is the home. Homes are a little more challenging as energy savings can't be as easily monitored and homeowners don't think of lights in the context of total cost of ownership. But Consumer Reports noted that an LED bulb can save you $100 to $400 over its lifetime. LED light fixtures and bulbs occupy much more shelf space in big box retailers than they did two years ago; even tech sites are running bulb reviews. LEDs may not gain universal acceptance, but we think they will take at least 75 percent of the market.

Mike Watson, Vice President of Product Strategy, Cree, Inc.

The lighting industry has made great progress in LED adoption, but it needs to focus on delivering compelling products that facilitate acceptance. Many LED lighting products are at, or close to, price parity with incumbent technologies. Even before achieving parity, LED lighting delivered improved value for commercial and residential customers, from better light quality to long lifetimes and energy and maintenance cost savings. We have moved past the stage of asking 'if' it will happen, and should now ask 'how fast' it will happen, which will be determined by how well manufacturers leverage innovation to deliver enhanced customer value. While increased efficiency and lower costs are positive technology trends, they do not ensure better adoption. Manufacturers that design for cost only and compromise on performance can frustrate customers and ultimately slow acceptance. LED lighting products should be better than incumbent technologies, meet or exceed customer performance expectations, and provide significant new value to spur adoption.

As LED technology continues to advance, it will open a new world of opportunity to address more lighting applications, introduce new form factors, integrate advanced functions, and increase design flexibility. The latest products go beyond viewing light as only a source and point toward a world where LED lighting can enable a new-age digital building infrastructure. Future gains in acceptance may come as much from the realization that lighting is changing from a disposable commodity to a long-term asset, as it realizes continuous improvements in efficiency or reduced cost. First, the industry must resist the temptation and history of compromise, and deliver overwhelming value to motivate change. When the customer base is motivated, the opportunities for LED lighting are endless.

Danny Yu, CEO, Daintree Networks

For lighting applications, f believe LEDs are poised to gain universal acceptance. However for universal acceptance, in addition to a decrease in price point, we must add value. LEDs are inherently energy efficient and even if prices weren't decreasing, it would still be a worthwhile investment because of the payback and operational efficiencies. But by adding lighting control into the mix, it allows for a whole new level of energy efficiency gains. The one-two punch for energy savings is the addition of control, not only to manage the LED lights, but to expand the control and manage the rest of a building's energy needs, such as thermostats/HVAC and electrical plug loads. Leading companies are now embedding wireless modules into LED drivers and fixtures. This reduces the costs at manufacturing as well as for installation. As a result, LED lighting can have wireless control capabilities right out of the box. Also, by using an open-standard for the wireless connection, the building and energy managers have some leverage when negotiating price compared to proprietary systems that include one company's lighting and control network. The open standard allows the manager to have bargaining power and the ability to mix and match the lighting fixture they prefer with the wireless control network that meets their needs. Also, government-imposed energy regulations are helping to drive the adoption of LED lighting and, in particular, the integration of controls for energy management. As we continue on the path toward universal acceptance to create smart buildings, it all starts with smart LED lighting.

Todd Traylor, Vice President of Global Trading, Smith & Associates

he LED market outlook is solid and supported by two key sector drivers. While decreases in prices and increases in efficiency are driving consumer uptake in lighting, there are increases in LED backlighting chips for small and medium-sized panels. This creates a dual-market position for LEDs: one in lighting and one in panel backlighting. The stability of having two key drivers supporting price decreases and efficiency improvements further strengthens LEDs in the overall market and supports the uptake of LED solutions, creating a positive cyclical momentum. In the lighting sector, LEDs have benefited from both the improved price points and the increased diversity in size, shape, and color. In concert with expanded LED lighting options, the momentum behind corporate sustainability management (CSM) strategies has improved the forecast for LED lighting options in the business and industrial markets. With consumer and enterprise/industry demand improving, further price declines, and feature improvements will strengthen LED acceptance in the wider marketplace. In the LED backlighting chip sector, although the downturn in LCD TV sales has negatively impacted LED chip sales, the strength of mobile devices and small to medium-panel touch displays (such as in tablets, and automotive infotainment, among others) is growing and offsetting the TV panel decline presently. However, the longer-term forecast for LED backlighting chips is likely to slow over the next three to five years while LED lighting chips are likely to double LED backlighting sales over the same period. In short, the market momentum and drivers for LED solutions continue to be positive and to encourage continued adoption and universal acceptance in lighting and as a standard for display technologies.

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Title Annotation:BRAINSTORM
Author:Panetta, Kasey
Publication:ECN-Electronic Component News
Date:Jun 1, 2014
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