beginning to see more architectural design in the LED fix- tures produced. “We welcome this nexus of art and sci- ence,” he said. Among the lighting applications or issues that attendees seemed most interested in addressing/solving, “Dimming compatibility continues to be a pain point for end-users and channel members,” confirmed Matt McCarron, vice president of the industrial/commercial channel at LED- VANCE ( ledvance.com). According to Mike Armstrong, vice president of market- ing at Hubbell ( hubbelllighting.com), “We experienced a high degree of interest in the assimilation of architectural and optical design within the surrounding environment. We also saw a great deal of interest in glare reduction and high-output products for garage, canopy, and sports light- ing applications.” Johnston found that “designers and installers are look- ing for lighting effects that don’t show the source—the smaller and more discreet the lighting source, the better.” Meanwhile Greg Galluccio, vice president of product man- agement and engineering for MaxLite ( maxlite.com), encountered many booth attendees seeking “extended warranty coverage to give them greater confidence in the products they’re installing.” Regarding takeaway messages from the show, it was back to basics for Barry. “While the industry has largely focused on achieving the highest lumen-per-watt out- put possible, we often forget about the fundamentals of lighting, such as the quality of light,” he said. “If we listen closely to the voice of the customer, this is actually what they’ve been asking for.” Craig Casey, senior building science engineer for Lutron Electronics ( lutron.com), noted the impact of the sheer pace of innovation in the lighting industry. “Technology is evolving so rapidly that many people are struggling to un- derstand what they need to know and what questions to ask on new projects; specifiers are working to not only un- derstand the available technologies, but also better under- stand where they’re best applied on projects,” Casey said. “This is where manufacturers can have a tremendous im- pact and serve as expert sources on new lighting technolo- gies and solutions for their customers.” Johnston was impressed by the industry’s emphasis on luminaire aesthetics. “A growing number of professionals view lighting design as an art and want smaller fixtures fea- turing clean lines, sharp corners, and ultra-modern styling combined with powerful performance—essentially, creative new products that solve old lighting challenges,” he said.
Serving the Channel Lighting manufacturers broadly agree that the rapidly changing lighting industry with its proliferation of products and suppliers—many with competitive quality levels and
extended warranties—have made product selection and specification more challenging than ever for channel mem- bers like electrical contractors. “Speed of change, conflicting information, and unpre- dictable outcomes are all significant issues for contractors,” said Brian Donlon, vice president of sales at Lutron, of an industry that he said has been defined by a tremendous influx of new LED fixtures and manufacturers: “Contrac- tors have to sift through a huge variety of information on what to install, how to install it, how to control it, etc. In addition, light levels, temperature, color, and dimming ranges vary by fixture and not all luminaires are created equal—the type and quality of light and control perfor- mance varies widely.” Barry agreed that keeping up with changes in LED and control technology remains an ongoing challenge for con- tractors. “There’s a lot of misinformation in the market, which further compounds the problem,” he said. “Because contractors are often the lighting designer, the procure- ment manager, and the installer, they need to know more about lighting than they ever did,” concurred Johnston. As a result, said Jim Hunter, senior vice president of sales and marketing for MaxLite, contractors are driven by
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