electrical distributors can capitalize on these trends to generate profitable sales.
Product development focuses on the major luminaire elements of light source, control gear, optics, and con- struction. As lighting controls inte- grate with luminaires, increasingly onboard control is part of the mix. “LED efficacy continues to increase as package sizes are trending smaller,” said Christopher Dolan, product mar- keting director, indoor general area, Philips Lighting ( lighting.philips. com). “Drivers will also get smaller as LED power requirements decrease.” The result is that indoor LED lumi- naires are becoming increasingly effi- cacious, producing more light per watt and making this technology ever more competitive against traditional light- ing. Higher light output means fewer LEDs are required. Lower source power means drivers can become smaller while also driving demand for higher efficiency. “Luminaires will likewise trend smaller and will be designed around the forms of the new sources rather than forcing LEDs into luminaires for which form factors have been dictated by older technologies,” Dolan said. “This includes shallow recessed and shallow surface. Consider the explod- ing ‘slim surface’ category where the driver is mounted to the J-box.” “Additionally, optical control has moved from reflectors behind lamps to lenses or optics over the LEDs, which adds to the sleekness of the new designs,” noted Rebecca McCall, director of education and training, Hubbell Lighting (hubbelllighting. com). “By removing the lamp sockets, the amount of wiring needed inside the fixture has been drastically re- duced as well.” Jerry Mix, president, Finelite ( finelite.com), cautioned, however, that the era of double-digit year- over-year efficacy gains from LEDs is
over. “Innovative design will maxi- mize other mechanical, optical, mate- rial, and control features to achieve the highest performance,” he said. Mix added that by breaking with traditional form factors, designers are free to develop novel solutions more specifically oriented to applications. “We are no longer required to use standard lengths to light spaces,” said Mix. “The architecture and design of the space can be used to determine the type, length, and all of the spe- cifics of the lighting. Long, linear lines of light are trending as the dominant way to light spaces. Lighting vertical surfaces with perimeter slot and grazer lighting is coming back. We see a continuing demand for luminaires with an elevated design aesthetic. Custom linear shapes are growing along with squares, rectangles, and circles.” Dolan noted that many specifiers are satisfied with current efficacy offerings and are looking for other performance advantages such as visual comfort. “We’re seeing a trend where specifiers are saying, ‘Efficacy is good enough; give me visual com- fort,’ and asking about Unified Glare Rating,” he said. Joe Semaan, director of market- ing and product management, Eaton ( eaton.com/lighting), said integration of connected controls has emerged as another significant trend. “All of our designs for indoor com- mercial LED lighting now incorporate sensing and communication features,” he said. “We started a few years back with the integration of sensors to detect occupancy/vacancy and mea- sure light levels. We’ve since added the ability to sense temperature and power usage in addition to tracking assets. The aggregated sensor data eventually ends up in easy-to-read dashboards of analytic detail. By col- lecting granular real-time data from sensors and smart building solutions, our customers are in control.” A final major trend is tunable- white lighting. “Options like LEDs with higher color rendering for color- critical applications and white color tuning, which allows changing the color of light from warm to cool in appearance, are be- coming more de- sired,” Semaan said. “Regulations and customer desire to save energy costs are directing trends to lean toward LED designs that offer multiple functionali- ties within the same product,” McCall said. “These can range from program- mable drivers to allow change in lumen output to color-tuning capa- bilities within a prod- uct. One feature of LED that has been preferred from the beginning is the ability to dim the fix- tures easily with 0V to 10V controls.”
Upping Your Lighting Game
Interviewed manufacturers advised electrical distributors to get educated about lighting, carefully manage inventory, vet new products and suppliers, promote value-added features, and become familiar with controls. “Electrical distributors will con- tinue to play a major role in the con- nected lighting industry, provided they begin charting a course for their businesses today,” Semaan said. “Our industry has recently undergone a major transformation from traditional light sources to LED, thereby chang-
Many end- users and contractors are not aware of what’s possible today with respect to light- ing and advanced functionality. An understanding of these concepts will afford you the oppor- tunity to be the tech- nology leader in your marketplace.
—REBECCA McCALL, Hubbell Lighting
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