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Two Trends to Look for At Lightfair in 2017
Health and Connectivity Will Reign
Lightfair invades the city of brotherly love this week. The annual convention on all things lighting has turned into something of a week long celebration with classes, events, and of course exhibitions. Indeed, as I type this pre-show courses have already begun. Here are two big trend lines to look for at the show this year.
Courses and case studies in circadian lighting abound this year as the practice moves from theory to real world application. Browsing the course list, there are case studies in lighting for pediatric centers, courses on practical programming and application and case studies for pediatric ICUs.
What I will be interested in is actual practical scientific research and results oriented reporting. While I believe in the promise of circadian lighting to improve everything from patient outcomes to productivity, I have seen precious little research that demonstrates how lighting fundamentally moves the needle in terms of measurable success. Unless and until you have that kind of research we won’t see medical groups move aggressively to invest in the technology.
You Down with IoT? Yeah, You Know Me!
Whether we’re talking about power over ethernet (PoE) or long distance RF communication the lighting industry has embraced connectivity in a major way. At the scale of an office or the scale of a city, lighting is a regularly spaced, visible piece of infrastructure that could be made to recieve and deliver information of all kinds. With the advent of LED, lighting has moved to an essentially digital medium, making it the perfect vector for information dissemination.
Lighting manufacturers have hopped on board with different IoT strategies. You’ll see Douglas Lighting Controls displaying their fixture level wireless tools, but you’ll also see Cree displaying their PoE – enabled fixtures. There is no question that connected lighting is the future, what does remain an open question is what platforms and protocols (as well as what data) end up winning out in the transition.
It will take creative use cases and new collaborations with industries ranging from IT to security to find the right way to integrate lighting into information networks, but it will also take an educated set of lighting professionals to make the collaboration work well not only for the network side, but for the lighting side. Lightfair 2017 promises to be at least the beginning of that conversation.