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LEDucation Recap 2017
Scenes from the Biggest Little Trade Show in the Industry
Every year, LEDucation looms on the calendar. Once it gets here it passes in a flash. It seems every year more and more of our factories join the show, making our little corner of the Hilton a vibrant, exciting place to bring our clients. In case you didn’t make it to the show, here’s a rundown of what you missed.
High Energy From Start to Finish
As a Platinum Sponsor, our VIP specifiers were able to walk our area of the show floor an hour early. That early hour is supposed to feel like a relaxed stroll through the aisles before the rush. Well the rush seemed to be on from the moment the doors opened, even if it was just for the VIPs. By 10am on the first day I heard that the registration desk had 5000 people pick up a badge. The rooms was high energy from start to finish. Packed with specifiers, reps and manufacturers of every lighting type imaginable. The SDA corner was consistently busy with visits from all kinds of specifiers. Lighting designers, engineers and architects explored our wide variety of products and controls capabilities. The gallery below is just a glimpse of what we had on display.
If I had to boil it down to a sentence I’d say – lighting is getting smarter.
We saw more manufacturers displaying tunable white and dim-to-warm technologies as these become more well known, I believe they’ll become standard options for many form factors. It’s important to remember that there are parts of the specification community that doesn’t live and breathe lighting (see:architects). Those folks are not necessarily aware of these capabilities. As they become more well known they will also become ubiquitous.
Apps, Apps Everywhere
Walking just our aisles it was impossible to miss the ubiquity of app-controlled devices. We saw individual manufacturers like HEW, Intense, Cree and Day-O-Lite displaying their tunable white through touch screen apps from their phones.
But maybe more exciting was watching our controls lines embrace wireless and app-based interfaces. Whether it was Douglas with their Bluetooth enabled room-controller, Leviton with their new Provolt sensor that basically gives you energy code compliance in one box and is commissioned via a Bluetooth app. Then of course there’s the Encelium system from OSRAM. Creating a complete wireless network of sensors, and drivers and then tying them together via a wired or wireless server the system gives you granular control over your fixtures as well as pinpoint energy monitoring. This can be an advanced system residing on desktop computer providing detailed energy management and reporting of as simple as a handheld app for commissioning and basic monitoring.
As lighting moved from analog sources to digital we are now seeing controls move ahead. Possibly the best example of this was the new downlight from Intense debuted at LEDucation. Controlled via a wireless app, the fixture can change its color temperature, which is somewhat common. Less common is the liquid crystal lensing that allows the beam spread and angle to be changed remotely with no other accessories.
Cree has offered Smartcast PoE for about a year and they’ll be debuting a sweet of new apps to make energy monitoring and control more accessible, but they are not alone. HE Williams has joined the fray and will be rolling out PoE across their offering in the coming months. This represents a major step in the development of PoE as a lighting platform as any fixture under 60 watts will be capable of PoE integration. Williams has also hinted that they will be able to work with other manufacturers to add PoE to specialty fixtures for different areas of a job. For example if an office space is 95% troffers, downlights and slots, but you’d like to add some decorative pendants to lobby, Williams can work to make sure the pendant as well as the rest of the system is all on the PoE network. The jury is still out on whether or not PoE is the future of lighting, but it’s wonderful to see Williams embracing this as a platform as it opens up Williams fixtures to a connected future.
Printed backgrounds, Tiny Apertures and Curves are Always Sexy
When it comes to form factor we saw the continuation of trends we’ve been seeing.
- Barbican displayed it’s ability to print nearly any pattern onto their laminate forms.
- More small aperture downlights with USAI, HE Williams and LumenAlpha all displaying tiny aperture downlights
- Curves and Rings are in – LED is a generally a thought of as a linear source. But you wouldn’t know that from what we saw on the show floor. Rings are very in right now – whether we’re talking about big performance rings ready to light your space or skinny decorative rings ready to provide an accent, rings are very in right now.