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2014-04-22
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Editorial: Having Some Fun: Smart Lighting is going to be messy
 
... Don't let the headline worry you... 'smart' lighting is going to be great, and it will work well, but it is most assuredly going to be a somewhat messy process to go from today's versions of controllable lighting, to tomorrow's actual smart lighting. In terms of impact players, Philips...
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Commentary...
Having Some Fun: Smart Lighting is going to be messy

 
... Don't let the headline worry you... 'smart' lighting is going to be great, and it will work well, but it is most assuredly going to be a somewhat messy process to go from today's versions of controllable lighting, to tomorrow's actual smart lighting. In terms of impact players, Philips...

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

Trifortune Purchases Aixtron System for GaN LEDs on Substrates other than Sapphire
LIGHTimes News Staff

April 22, 2014...Trifortune Electronic Technology Co. Ltd. of Jintan City, China, has reportedly ordered Aixtron’s AIX G5 HT system to develop gallium nitride based high brightness LEDs. Trifortune wants the AIX G5 HT system configured for 56×2-inch wafers per run. Aixtron’s team will install the system at Trifortune’s R&D center in the Jiangsu area. The company plans to transfer the developed process to mass production after successfully completing the research.

Dr. Hu, Technical Head of Trifortune, commented, “We are developing GaN processes to grow LEDs on substrates that offer some advantages compared to the well-established sapphire substrates. To compete in the HB-LED market, there is a real need to achieve the maximum yield in our manufacturing process, so that products with better performance in lumen per dollar can be established.”

Dow Corning Defends Chinese Patent for LED Optical Silicone Encapsulants
LIGHTimes News Staff

April 22, 2014...Dow Corning's Chinese subsidiary and licensee has filed a complaint with the Shanghai First Intermediate Court. The complaint alleges that Beijing KMT Technology Co., Ltd (Beijing KMT) is manufacturing and selling allegedly infringing products using proprietary Dow Corning silicone technology under the Beijing KMT label. The patent in question is among Dow Corning's intellectual property (IP) portfolio protecting the company's high refractive index (RI) phenyl-based optical silicone encapsulants. The silicone encapsulates are slated to offer excellent mechanical protection of LED components, enduring gas barrier properties for enhanced reliability, and improved light output.

"Dow Corning will always rigorously defend its intellectual property to ensure that our customers continue to receive the highest quality products and reliability we can provide to help them stay competitive in today's fast-growing LED market," said Kaz Maruyama, global industry director, Lighting Solutions, Dow Corning.

For almost 15 years, Dow Corning has been aggressively developing optical silicone technologies and products for applications along the entire LED value chain. Dow Corning began developing its phenyl-based high RI silicone encapsulants more than a decade ago in Japan where the technology was first patented. Additional patents for these materials quickly followed in Korea, the United States, European Union, Taiwan, Malaysia and other countries. Dow's Chinese Patent that was asserted in the complaint against Beijing KMT, was granted on April 2, 2008.

These high RI encapsulants are available globally under the Dow Corning® OE product label. Certain silicones within this product family including Dow Corning® OE-6630, OE-7620 and OE-7651 Encapsulant, have RI in the range of 1.53 to 1.55, compared to an RI of 1.41 that is typical for methyl-based silicones. According to Dow Corning, this seemingly small difference translates into about 7 percent more light output. The encapsulates also provide improved photo and thermal stability compared to other silicones.

American Made Cars to Get LED Lighting
LIGHTimes News Staff

April 22, 2014...More and more vehicles are using LED lighting as standard design features worldwide. Several cars from the Chrysler Group are getting LED Lighting. The 2015 Chrysler 200 Sedan has the signature Chrysler grille and winged badge, LED light pipe accents in the front projector headlamps, LED tail lamps. The LX and Touring models of the 2015 Chrysler 200 Sedan also come with ambient LED lighting.

Other Chysler Group brands, Jeep and Dodge, have introduced LED lighting for their upcoming models. Jeep designers introduced the 2015 Jeep Wrangler's Sundance Design Concept which includes unique front and rear bumpers equipped with linear LED lighting. Dodge also decided to design its 2015 Charger with LED lighting in the front and rear. The Charger features new Dodge signature LED racetrack tail lamps and LED fog lamps.

Another American car maker, Ford (not a Chrysler Group company) also recently debuted the new design of the F-150 pickup with LED-based headlamps. This LED lighting treatment in cars is part of a trend of equipping standard and mid-range models with LED lighting in addition to its already significant presence in Luxury automobiles.

Strategies Unlimited Predicts HB LED Market to Reach $26 Billion in 2018
LIGHTimes News Staff

April 22, 2014...Strategies Unlimited (SU) predicts that the total market revenue from packaged LEDs will grow 12.9% from 2013 to 2018. According to SU, this growth is bolstered by 27% CAGR in LEDs for lighting applications. SU says that the global packaged LED industry grew from just $1.2 billion in 2000 to $14.2 billion in 2013. In 2009, illumination accounted for just $665 million in revenues, and this reportedly jumped to $4.4 billion in general lighting in 2013.

According to Strategies Unlimited analyst Katya Evstratyeva, “We forecast the growth for LEDs in lighting to be 27% of CAGR from 2013 to 2018, driven mostly by an increased consumer confidence and continuously increasing sales of replacement lamps, downlights, industrial, commercial, and outdoor products.”

SU notes that the top 15 companies in the LED business comprise about 81% of global revenues, and the top 25 companies account for 93% of revenues. According to SU, many companies are struggling to find their identities, and SU forecasts market consolidation in the coming years.

Osram Supplies LED-based Front Lighting for 2015 Ford F-150
LIGHTimes News Staff

April 17, 2014...The 2015 Ford F-150 will be the first pickup on the market with full LED-based forward lighting. Osram will supply LED modules for the headlamps on the Ford F-150. In cooperation with US headlight maker Flex-N-Gate, Osram has given the front of the 2015 F-150 a new look. Osram Opto Semiconductors, Osram's subsidiary supplies the LED modules for the pickup's front lights. Osram assembles the completely LED-based lighting solution at its Hillsboro plant in New Hampshire.

The highly robust and durable LED lighting is extremely resistant to shocks and vibrations. Additionally, the LED headlamps consume far less energy than conventional automotive lighting technologies, and their light color is reportedly very similar to that of natural daylight.

"We are proud to be supplying the LED module for the world's first LED headlamps on the Ford F-150 as standard, once more underlining our leading position on the automotive lighting market," said Hans-Joachim Schwabe, CEO of the Specialty Lighting Division at Osram. The lighting system includes high beam, dipped beam, turn indicators, parking light, and a control module.

Innovations in Optics Debuts LumiBright UV LED Boards
LIGHTimes News Staff

April 17, 2014...Innovations in Optics, Inc. of Woburn, Massachusetts USA, has introduced the LumiBright™ UV Boards for high power UV LED applications such as UV curing, maskless lithography, 3D printing, fluorescence excitation in life science or machine vision, and photodynamic therapy. LumiBright claims that its UV Boards offer maximized heat and current spreading for an open platform with high UV optical power and superior thermal management.

LumiBright UV Boards employ chip-on-board LED technology with metallic core PCB substrates. The packaged LEDs have a large emitting area using a closely packed array of UV LED chips. Standard center wavelengths include 365 nm, 385 nm, 395 nm and 405 nm. The 1.1 mm square LED die can be PCB mounted as a single chip or in arrays up to 4 by 4. The chips have 19.4 mm2 of emitting area. Each die can be driven to emit near 2W/mm2. So, a 16-die array can deliver nearly 40 Watts of UV optical power.

LumiBright UV Boards emit directly and have no epoxy or lens encapsulation. Light extraction is maximized to create a Lambertian far-field distribution pattern. Multiple and customizable configurations are available to facilitate integration into OEM systems. With a large surface area, allows liquid light guides to be installed upon LumiBright UV Board for spot-curing applications.

LumiBright UV Boards boasts an extremely low thermal resistance and therefore allows high current density while maintaining a low junction temperature. For this reason, the UV LEDs can be driven at high power levels while maintaining long lifetime. An on-board thermistor enables real-time temperature measurement for closed-loop control or active monitoring of the cooling system. The lifetime of the LumiBright UV Board can exceed 10,000 hours. LumiBright UV Board accessories include driver/controllers, thermal management devices, and wire harnesseses.

Daktronics Improves Cubs Park Experience
LIGHTImes News Staff

April 17, 2014...New LED video displays were visible at Cubs Park in Mesa, Arizona where the Chicago cubs play spring training games. Daktronics of Brookings, South Dakota, designed, manufactured, and installed the new LED displays. The main LED display features a 15HD pixel layout and measures about 17 feet high by 53 feet wide. The main display can show one large image or be divided into separate windows for graphics, animations, statistics, scoring information, and sponsor advertisements. The clear, high contrast main display allows wide angle visibility and has multiple levels of protection from the elements.

The installation also includes a ribbon display measuring about 3.5 feet high by 60 feet wide with 20 millimeter line spacing. The ribbon display can showcase sponsors or show statistics and game information. A Daktronics fixed-digit scoreboard provides stats such as at-bat, ball, strike, out, hit/error, runs and inning scores. A small-scale, two-sided monochrome marquee display was installed to mimic the iconic red marquee outside of the Cubs home, Wrigley Field. Fans can stand next to it and take pictures as well as program their own text onto the displays.

"We're excited to provide these displays to Cubs Park," said Brady Jacobsen, Daktronics sales representative. "We understand that spring training has become a larger part of baseball's year-round fan experience and we're confident this installation will cater to fan expectations at such events."

The Cubs also received a bank of hours for the creation of digital content to be produced and delivered by Daktronics Creative Services at the request of the team.

HELLA'S LED Matrix Lighting Wins Award
LIGHTimes News Staff

April 17, 2014...HELLA KGaA Hueck & Co., of Plymouth, Michigan, a supplier of automotive lighting, has won the 2014 Automotive News PACE award for its adaptive LED Matrix Beam technology. Individually controlled LEDs in HELLA's “glare-free high-beam” headlights adjust automatically to real-time traffic conditions to reduce glare for other drivers. While these adaptive headlights are available in Europe, United States regulations prevent their incorporation into automobiles.

In the Matrix Beam system, a front camera and high-performance software continuously monitor both following cars and oncoming traffic and adjust the light output accordingly. The system automatically adjusts a car's headlamps to provide ”glare free” illumination, switching on and off, or dimming based on traffic conditions. Individually controlled LEDs also create up to 8 dark zones with “light in-between,” allowing continuous use of a vehicle's high-beams to maximize visibility.

Uniquely, HELLA's system utilizes 25 individually controlled LEDs arranged in a matrix to create an almost unlimited variety of lighting patterns. The solution does not depend on mechanical parts and is more durable than conventional lighting systems.

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Commentary & Perspective...

Having Some Fun: Smart Lighting is going to be messy
Tom Griffiths - Publisher

April 3, 2014...Don't let the headline worry you... 'smart' lighting is going to be great, and it will work well, but it is most assuredly going to be a somewhat messy process to go from today's versions of controllable lighting, to tomorrow's actual smart lighting. In terms of impact players, Philips made the first notable 'shot across the bow' with the introduction of the app-driven Hue system aimed at making color-controllable lighting fun for consumers. Cree came along next with its SmartCast self-configuring daylight-compensating system aimed at commercial/office spaces. At Light+Building this week, Osram-Sylvania announced its own app-controllable system, named Lightify, that it states is aimed at both consumer and "professional" markets.

While Philips kept its Hue plans quiet until the actual roll-out in conjunction with the Apple stores, Osram appears to be making a "here it comes" sort of pre-announcement. Hopefully the actual roll-out will be a bit more tangible than the announcement here, which has a sort of "Feel-good lets get into the experience" sort of air to it. The news release is actually humorous enough (to me, at least) that some excerpts just beg to be shared. Note here that I think this was probably written more in German, for Europe, so this is really more about poking some fun at the chosen words, and not at the intention behind it. Osram is a serious company, and I expect a serious product, but the news release, well, see for yourself.. The lead-in is pretty good, as we find out that...

With Lightify, Osram for the first time presents a lighting system at Light+Building 2014 that enables users to exploit a wide range of lighting possibilities using an app on a smartphone or tablet. Lightify simply integrates into existing WLAN networks, and users are able to set a wide diversity of light atmospheres. "... With Lightify we have transformed an idea into an innovation that contains almost everything that light is able to do today" said Peter Laier, Osram's Chief Technology Officer..." Lightify will be available from the start of the coming lighting season in Germany and other European markets.

Coo-ool... An idea transformed into innovation that will do (almost) everything that light is able to do today! (Spit out photons of various color? Be controlled? Blind me in the middle of the night?). The folks in Europe will be the big winners there at the start of the next "lighting season". I actually had to look that one up on Google, so it appears that "lighting season" is either when we turn on all our Christmas/holiday lights, when we can legally use spotlights to hunt coyotes or other "varmints", or when we make the fall time change and it suddenly gets dark in the mid-afternoon (or so it often seems). We'll assume the latter, so about I'm thinking about 6 months from now. Maybe saying "Fall" could have been an option? Continuing...

Lightify enables living rooms and workrooms as well as balconies and gardens to be bathed in a wide variety of light atmospheres using a smartphone or tablet. The scenes can be freely configured and also controlled while on the move. In addition, the app also provides programmed light scenes such as a realistic sunrise for example, and selection can also be based on photos. Lightify is not only able to design rooms in light differently each day, the light itself can also be useful for the sense of well-being. The right scene helps people to get out of bed better in the morning and to sleep more easily in the evening.

One assumes there are luminaires involved, as opposed to simply using the smartphone or tablet, which would need to have a really bright RGB-CW-WW LED on it to get that job done. It will be for rooms, workrooms and balconies (plus the gardens). That's good. Most folks forget about their balconies, which is naturally where a realistic sunrise should be coming from. Unless it faces west, in which case it should be a sunset. One wonders if anyone has done any research to tie together the magnetic compass points and the effect of sunrise/sunset transitions. Wouldn't surprise me if one of the periodic magnetic pole reversals was the actual cause behind the dinosaur die-off. You expect sunsets to be in the West, poles reverse, suddenly it sets in your magnetic East and boom, no more sense of romance and your species dies off. Clearly this whole controllable light thing might be playing with forces way beyond our understanding. Some advanced civilization may have already walked this path, with their first attempts at creating "red-green" or "blue-yellow" colors (potentially undetectable color mixes in our tri-chromatic visual system) perhaps creating the galaxy's black holes... See where we might be heading?

The complete Lightify range of LED lamps and luminaires can be controlled independent of the location, whether this is for corridors or living rooms, terraces and gardens or professional lighting in offices. Osram with its Lightify system is following an integrative approach and provides corresponding products from a single source. Installed lighting systems and products from other manufacturers that support the common ZigBee Light Link standard or Home Automation standard can also be simply integrated into the system. In addition, the Lightify system offers an interface for the so called DALI standard. DALI is widely used in professional applications in Europe. Lightify should be available from the coming light season onwards in a version for end consumers and a second version for professional users, and the starter kit for end customers consists of the gateway and a lamp.

I thought there would be more than just smartphones! So... sounds to me like Hue and Friends of Hue, but from Osram, and splitting the middle between both consumer and office spaces. So what's really new here? Maybe a bit more open architecture, including the ability to play with "so called" DALI (which is a so-called digital addressable lighting standard for so-called luminaires, in case you missed the so-called news back in 2001). Overall, not really all that much is new. But that's a good thing, in the sense that it took more than one smart(ish) phone from more than one big player to create the momentum towards good, competitive, feature-filled smartphones that all play on the same cellular network.

So the messy part... Quite simply, there are a lot of moving parts that will make up the thing we'll call smart lighting. Networking between lamps and/or luminaires, some of which will be TCP/IP (a few billion new IP addresses anyone?) some ZigBee or Z-Wave or derivatives, or Bluetooth, or BLE, or visible light networking, or proprietary; to bridges that connect to wireless LANs or wired ones, or maybe cellular ones to the home network, or the office network, or the building management system that's itself open or proprietary, or maybe both. The connected luminaires will be controlled by their own apps that are open architecture, or closed, and secure, or not. Oh, and then comes those sensors, that will be sending over blips of data for the luminaire for ambient light, or color, or gesture recognition; or instead of blips it may be rafts (tons, or "tonnes" for out British friends) of data for grouped decision engines or the BMS to make use of. And we'll detect the users, and tap other networks to retrieve their preferences from standard or non-standard database apps. And a few big guys that are late to the party will be criticizing the "non-traditional" or "non-standard" controls or networking or protocols. And there will certainly be what seem like some really good ideas that turn out to be bad ones (think "rapid-recharge circadian adjustment bars" next to the frozen sushi and the flavored oxygen bars there at the international airport) or bad-seeming ideas that turn out to work really well. Things will break (one of my original Hue lamps has stopped responding to anything, and I can't find a reset nor have I any clue how to determine if it's hardware or software) and don't be surprised when someone's Google glass will accidentally tap into the neighbor's lighting system, starting it flashing to the Euro-pop beat they're running a visualizer for. Or better yet, household lighting systems start dropping Amazon.com's delivery drones from the sky...

Opportunity, technology and competitive innovation will meet, there will be a revolution, we'll (mostly) all survive it undamaged, and there will be some new words created (how about photo-chaos or photobiointegration) and most of all, we'll see the world in a new light. Have fun on the ride!

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