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Editorial: What Hath Our IoT Lighting Doth Wrought?
... Last time around, "News Staff" offered some tie-together insights on why we might expect lighting to find itself at as the eyes and ears of the IoT. Makes sense. It has a good view of the space, constant electricity (and if not, it's a pretty correctable decision), and we're...
Read the editorial...
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What Hath Our IoT Lighting Doth Wrought?

... Last time around, "News Staff" offered some tie-together insights on why we might expect lighting to find itself at as the eyes and ears of the IoT. Makes sense. It has a good view of the space, constant electricity (and if not, it's a pretty correctable decision), and we're...

View the full story at the bottom of the current news page, or if this is a back issue, go here...

Lighting Science and Global Good to Develop LED-Based Alternatives to Pesticides
LIGHTimes News Staff

March 4, 2015...Lighting Science Group Corporation and Intellectual Ventures’ Global Good of Melbourne, Australia, have agreed to collaborate on the development of light technologies for pest control. The joint development effort will combine Global Good’s photonic fence invention and Lighting Science’s light-control technology to produce field-ready prototypes that reportedly provide an environmentally-responsible alternative to chemical pesticides. Lighting Science plans to leverage this development effort to create a new company specializing in efficient and effective pest control products for residential, commercial, and health.

The photonic fence device employs low-cost sensors and laser technology and uses software to identify, track, and eliminate insects. Intellectual Ventures first invented the photonic fence device to address the spread of malaria in developing countries. In addition to its potential for helping global health organizations fighting vector-borne diseases, the photonic fence technology also presents significant applications for agriculture.

“What began by putting the world’s deadliest animal, the mosquito, in our sights with a laser, has opened up new advances in the way we can use light to protect communities and crops from a range of disease-bearing insects,” said Maurizio Vecchione, senior vice president for Global Good and Research at Intellectual Ventures. “For example, the export potential of high-value crops could increase dramatically if a light-based perimeter was available to both monitor and eliminate pests, instead of possibly unsafe or ineffective insecticides.”

Under the research agreement, Global Good will license its photonic fence technology to Lighting Science to manage product development in both vector control for malaria and derivative inventions in agricultural systems. Lighting Science's goal for the collaboration is to commercialize vector control and derivative innovations for agriculture in world markets.

Lighting Science CEO Ed Bednarcik says, “This collaborative product development could drive significant new advances in the intersection of biology and light.” Lighting Science founder and chief technology officer Fred Maxik added, “The transformation of light into a digital technology that can be precisely controlled offers great promise in a number of fields – especially human health and agriculture. Our experience working with NASA and other agencies has shown us that we can improve agricultural output without the use of harmful chemicals.”

Craig Cogut, chairman of Lighting Science and founder and managing partner of Pegasus Capital Advisors stated, “We believe that new applications of LED technology can democratize light, revolutionize incumbent industries, and improve the lives of billions. Collaborating with Global Good will help us to overcome global challenges and ensure that the environmental, health, and agricultural benefits of this transformation are shared globally."

SemiLEDs Releases Phosphor Converted (PC) LED Chip Series with ReadyWhite Phosphor Technology
LIGHTimes News Staff

March 4, 2015...SemiLEDs Corporation reports that its Phosphor Converted or PC LED chip series is available for sampling and volume orders. The series includes with PC Red, PC Green, and PC Amber in a 40mil (1mm x 1mm) chip. The PC LEDs employ the company's proprietary ReadyWhite phosphor technology to minimize blue pass through. The ReadyWhite technology boasts higher efficiency, luminous flux, and lumen maintenance over time and temperature compared to monochromatic LED chips.

PC Amber and PC Red use InGaN-based materials to deliver better forward voltage matching in RGBA applications. The better forward voltage matching improves efficiency. SemiLEDs says that its PC Amber and PC Red LEDs offer greater color stability over input currents and changes in junction temperatures. The PC Green LED offers a broader spectrum for a rich, beautiful green color in applications such as traffic lights, projection and entertainment lighting.

Mark Tuttle, general manager of SemiLEDs Optoelectronics commented, “With our well established InGaN and ReadyWhite Technology, SemiLEDs’ color portfolio is no longer limited to blue, white and UV regions. The new PC amber, PC red, and PC green LED chips will allow more options for our customers in these color ranges.”

The PC series of LED chips is RoHS compliant.

Playhouse Square Theater District Gets Outdoor Advertising Kiosks and LED Displays from Barco
LIGHTimes News Staff

March 5, 2015...Barco, a supplier of video display systems, worked with design firm The Barncyz Group to produce an unique advertising display for the historic theater district. Barco leveraged its outdoor LED displays and LCD advertising kiosks to bring the magic of live Broadway shows and entertainment

In Playhouse Square, Barco installed a series of its advertising kiosks to promote Broadway's entertainment line-up. Playhouse Square, United States' biggest performing arts center outside of New York City, has recently undergone an architectural transformation. Sponsors breathed new life into the theater district to attract young and old alike to the live performance area.

Danny Barnycz was hired to conceptualize a design that translated the light and airy atmosphere of the renovated auditoriums into outdoor signage. Barnycz recommended Barco LCD kiosks and LED displays He sited their brilliant, high-impact color reproduction, flexibility and reliability.

“Recognizing the vast amount of entertainment programming by Playhouse Square and the need to quickly update signage with fresh, timely messages, the Barco advertising kiosks were the natural choice,” commented Barnycz. “They give Playhouse Square marketers the flexibility to promote all of their shows, adapting messaging and taking advantage of social media apps to promote real-time interaction. Plus, Barco’s hallmark all-weather durability, 24/7 reliability and sleek, low-profile footprint are essential for this challenging location.”

Uniquely, the kiosks can interact via mobile phones, creating a more one-to-one relationship with people on the street.

“The kiosks enable us to communicate in an intimate way with current and potential customers, engaging them with more meaningful content,” said Tim Birch, VP of retail sales, sponsorship sales & technologies. “We’ve already seen a lot of interest from advertisers and sponsors who want to capitalize on the value of this up-close opportunity to connect with the theater crowd and beyond.” The displays can integrate with the latest smartphones and tablets through the broadcasting of twitter feeds and spontaneous advertiser promotions for a rich and personalized experience.

This Playhouse Square project comprises seven double-sided, 72-inch LED backlit LCD video display advertising kiosks that provide 2,000 nits brightness. The LCD72ox display is fully configurable and offers changeable skins to reflect the brand image of each customer. Advertisers can deliver unique content that enables audience interaction with devices to maximize campaign impact.

The Barco C8 display, is a small, lightweight outdoor video tile that provides 5,000-nits-brightness. The C8 tiles comprise the four giant marquee screens (with eight display faces total) and also create a majestic 30-foot tall, linear video screen featuring event promotions, information, advertising, and other digital art. A ticker-style screen on the Idea Center building and a ribbon screen on the Hanna Building complete the C8 installation.

“We are happy to be part of this monumental architainment project, which leverages the most innovative qualities of our advertising kiosks to the fullest,” comments Carl Rijsbrack, Chief Marketing Office of Barco Retail & Advertising. “The opportunity to play an instrumental role in fulfilling Danny’s vision for Playhouse Square is both an honor and a welcome challenge, and we are thrilled with the results!”

Samsung Electronics Acquires LED Display and Sign Company YESCO Electronics
LIGHTimes News Staff

March 4, 2015...Korean company Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. reported that its has acquired of U.S.-based LED display maker YESCO Electronics. The Logan, Utah-based company produces LED sign and displays boasting more than 2,000 installations across the U.S. and abroad.

The acquisition effectively extends Samsung's technology reach beyond the large format displays employing LCD panels into LED displays and signs for applications in education, retail, hospitality, corporate, and transportation environments. YESCO Electronics was a subsidiary of the Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO), a privately-owned custom sign manufacturer.

YESCO produces LED displays (not including LED backlit or edge lit) that offer energy efficiency and enhanced picture quality. Samsung plans to work with YESCO Electronics to provide durable, reliable, and long-lasting displays targeting varied and extreme conditions.

“By combining the extensive expertise of YESCO Electronics in LED displays with our global network, business experience and world-class R&D team, we further validate our leading position and the value that we bring to our customers as a total solutions provider in digital display,” said Seog-Gi Kim, senior vice president, Visual Display Business, Samsung Electronics.

“The solid relationship between Samsung and YESCO will strengthen YESCO’s position in the marketplace,” said John Williams, CEO of YESCO Electronics. “This acquisition expands the presence of our services and systems across Samsung’s vast global network, allowing a wider range of businesses to offer their customers a more impressive, eye-catching visual experience. YESCO Electronics will offer a broader range of world-class products to the customers as part of the Samsung Team.”

USPTO Scraps Sensitive Application Warning System in Favor of Public Scrutiny
LIGHTimes News Staff

March 3, 2015...The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has ended a secret program that they had operated for twenty years that aimed to "alert leadership when a patent might issue on a sensitive matter." The USPTO only recently acknowledged the program's existence.

For the past 20 years the program known as the Sensitive Application Warning System placed a small percentage of patent applications (about .04 percent) into an indefinite legal limbo that critics claim effectively stalled patents from being approved. In the high stakes game of patent rights, having to wait indefinitely to see if a patent is approved could cause a loss of funding and increased competition.

Those applications that the SAWS program chose through the use of a vague and over-encompassing list of criteria were twice as likely to be rejected, according to a Yahoo news article.

The USPTO pointed out on their website that, "today, unlike when the SAWS program was created, most applications are published eighteen months after submission, exposing them to public scrutiny and the potential for third-party submissions of prior art."

Following an internal review of the USPTO's SAWS program the USPTO said in a statement on their website, "Upon careful consideration, the USPTO has concluded that the SAWS program has only been marginally utilized and provides minimal benefit." After completing the review, the USPTO decided to retire the SAWS program stating, " Any applications currently in this program will now proceed through prosecution absent any additional SAWS-related processing."

In the statement the USPTO said, "the Agency will seek public input as part of its ongoing Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative on whether there were any quality-enhancing features of the SAWs program that are not already captured through the typical examination and prosecution process."

Law firm, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, representing several high tech companies including Google and Apple, Twitter, and Oracle filed a Freedom of Information request to get information about the criteria of the SAWS program.

The information that they got was 50 pages of criteria that included everything from inventions that received unwanted publicity to inventions that pertained to biological warfare.

Among the most perplexing of the criteria outlined over about 50 pages are "applications that are pioneering in scope."

The USPTO seems to be saying in their statement that now that most patents applications are open to public scrutiny after about 18 months, much of the SAWS program is not necessary. The USPTO hopes that the public will come forward as part of its Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative to suggest parts of the SAWS program that at are not already captured through the typical examination and prosecution process.

What this means to the LED and LED lighting industry is unclear, but if it means less time for patent approval or rejection while maintaining the quality of the patent system is probably a good thing.

Sharp Eyes Closing LED Production Factory as Part of Restructuring

March 3, 2015...Sharp Electronics Inc. has suffered stiff competition in the electronics market. Severe losses have plagued the company especially in its LCD display and solar panel businesses. As a key part of its restructuring plan, Sharp electronics reportedly plans to reorganize electronic component manufacturing, according to an article in Nikkei.com.

Among the planned business changes, Sharp intends to close the Mihara plant that makes LEDs. While the decision to close the LED production facility is not final, such a shut down would be the company's first closing of a major factory in Japan.

Other businesses such as LCD displays and solar panels, have faced stiff competition. Other potential restructuring measures could include exiting or selling the company's solar panel business, and closing four electronic component plants in Fukuyama.

Everlight Electronics Reportedly to Merge with Edison Opto

March 3, 2015...Everlight Electronics aims to compete with China-based LED packaging companies. Everlight reportedly plans to merge with LED packaging specialist company Edison Opto of Taiwan, according to a Digitimes article, which cited industry sources. The merger is to rapidly increase its LED packaging capacity to compete with China-based LED packaging firms. Less than 20% of Everlight's consolidated revenues come from LED lighting. For this reason, Edison Opto's product lines are complimentary.

Philips Moves Forward with Plans to Sell Combined Lumileds and Automotive Lighting Businesses and Split Company
LIGHTimes News Staff

February 27, 2015...Philips is reportedly moving ahead with plans to Sell Combined Lumileds and Automotive Lighting Businesses, according to a recent earnings conference call. The company also gave an update on the progress of the sale and the plans to split the company into one business that focuses on health technology and another that focuses on lighting solutions.

During Koninklijke Philips NV (Philips) recent earnings conference call, Frans van Houten, the company's CEO said that the LED lighting business continues to grow. He stated, "In Lighting, we saw continued strong double-digit growth and improving gross margins in our LED-based portfolio, especially in LED lamps, despite the strong price erosion."

He noted that the company's 20% revenue increase in LED lighting partially offset the company's 14% decline in conventional lighting.

Frans van Houten said that the company's Professional Lighting Solutions business was not as profitable as the company had hoped.He said, "As you know, we had expected the turnaround of our Professional Lighting Solutions business in North America to deliver profitable growth in the fourth quarter on the back of good order book coverage. However, despite sequential improvement in quoting and pipeline activity across segments, we were not yet able to return to sustainable growth in Q4 yet, as a number of projects shifted out into 2015."

He reiterated the company's previously announced plans to sell the combined Lumileds and Automotive Lighting businesses saying, "We are actively discussing the sale of the combined Lumileds and Automotive Lighting businesses with potential buyers. We received a number of non-binding bids in December, and expect to receive binding bids before the end of Q1. As such, we are confident that we will complete a transaction in the first half of 2015. "

He also explained the direction that the company was taking in the future, and he reemphasized the company's plans to separate into two business entities."We are determined in our plan to separate Philips into two standalone companies, each one better positioned to capitalize on the highly-attractive opportunities in both HealthTech and Lighting Solutions markets. As indicated already, the separation process is expected to take approximately 12 to 18 months. We have now informed that we currently estimate total separation cost in 2015 to be in the range of EUR300 million to EUR400 million."

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Commentary & Perspective...

What Hath Our IoT Lighting Doth Wrought?
Commentary Staff

February 19, 2015...Last time around, "News Staff" offered some tie-together insights on why we might expect lighting to find itself at as the eyes and ears of the IoT. Makes sense. It has a good view of the space, constant electricity (and if not, it's a pretty correctable decision), and we're going to have the smarts in there anyway. Should anyone doubt that lighting will be smart, and will have sensors, and will be connected, counseling will be available, but you better start lining up now, because the change is going to be so fundamental that you'll need more than a few sessions to get over the grief of losing your analog lighting...

Profound you say?... Heck yes. The move from wired to wireless phones was easy. The move from analog to digital wireless phones was also easy, in that it just became a clearer connection with longer battery life. Then came the smartphone. When it meant "phone plus calendar", we still didn't wrestle with it. A PDA with cellular access wasn't really disruptive, just helpful. It was that next thing, those pesky, and helpful, apps that really stood our conception of the personal communications device on its ear. Camera? Convenient (for everyone but the really stupid drivers, amateur stuntmen and drunk wedding guests, who are forever immortalized for the epic fails). Navigator? I have it in my car, so it makes sense. Messaging? AOL had that a long while back, so now its wireless. Crowd-sourced routing information for the navigator? Hmmm... what's a Waze? Coupons popping up on the phone as I drive by the local mall (thanks RetailMeNot, but wasn't really expecting that). A free download of a Zippo lighter, so you can still demand a proper encore at the nonsmoking concert? Totally didn't expect that. Point my camera at a foreign language menu, or announcement, or newspaper and Word Lens transforms, real time, into my native language? Are you freakin' kidding me? (Seriously, if you haven't seen that one, check it out... amazing. Next up will be universal translators, just like in Star Trek, except it will only cost $1 and you don't need to be in Star Fleet to download it.

The same thing is going to happen to lighting... Intelligence and sensing will certainly drive a massive wave of spatial-cognitive data that the building management systems will love. Utilities will love it to, as they'll finally have real-time access to energy use throughout a built space. They'll see the highs and lows, and be able to see the response to their demand-response directives, as well as validate the incentives they provided owners in exchange for promises to energy savings. Now the building owners will get to "earn out" their rebates by actually saving energy. But the really interesting stuff will have very little to do with energy efficiency, and everything to do with connect the space to its function. When we move from knowing someone is in a room to "who" is in a room, we are going to start a whole new stream of data flowing. How quickly did the cleaning crew cover the space? Did they miss anyplace? If so, turn that area red, and alert the supervisor with a text message.

What should the temperature be? Last time that Ned was in the room, he gestured (through the lights, naturally) to adjust it from 76 to 78-degrees. But if we can sneak it back to 77, will he notice? Nellie raised the lights to 550 lux in the morning, but dimmed them to 450 in the afternoon. If we transition it slowly down from 550 down to 450 between 10am and 3pm, will she not make a manual override? If so, the space enjoys the savings from averaging 500 instead of 550 lux during those 5 hours for a 10% energy savings. And if we change the curve so that we're come down a little quicker, a little earlier, we can test to see if she's cool with that as well. Every little bit counts.

So let's add the app that moves the color temp a bit. What happens to Sven's typing rate at 3500K vs 4000K? How long do the meetings last when they start at 10am, and how many people are present? What about at 2pm? The presence sensing in the lights will do the people counting (or will it be the RFID reader in the light... or both, since one gives us ID and the other gives us motion/activity. With Waze or Google tracking your route home, the cloud will be able to suggest to the lighting what type of mood or activity lighting you'll want to see when you get home. Stopped at a restaurant on the way home? Guess you won't be cooking dinner when you head into the kitchen, so no reason to add the extra bright, or shift from warm to cool. But once you're home, did you follow the "I'm tired" room to room path (cut down on the cool white, they're heading to bed) or did they follow the getting something done path?

This may sound like it's all about making people comfortable and happy, because it is. Claims are that France's 32 hour work week is as productive as a US 50-60 hour week. Skeptical or not, the idea is certainly an attractive one, in that a better optimized/less stressed    fill in the blank    will produce better results than a non-optimized whatever-it-is. Work week, work environment, hospital night shift, factory. The ability to control, and tweak and learn, and acquire user biometric and productivity data, through the apps that will wrap in and around out lights will have those profound implications. The cloud will catch the resulting data flow, and "big data" will mine and sift and categorize what matters, and then provide updated goals to the building management system to pass along to the nodes, so they can do their job better, so we do ours better.

Yes, it may seem quite fanciful... But if the astronauts were told that a car built just 30 or so years later would have more processing power installed in just its door than the astronauts had in the entire Apollo capsule that first went to the moon, they might find that a bit fanciful. And that 10 years from there, your smartphone would have more apps than a PC does... well you get the picture. Watch the lights now, as they'll be watching us all soon enough.

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