Tuesday, Jul. 25th 2017

How the speed of technology impacts the lighting industry

How the speed of technology impacts the lighting industry

Rifling through an old box in storage the other day, I came across an old flip phone of mine—dusty, scratched and dead. A wave of nostalgia rushed over me as – just like hearing an old song – memories of certain life events connected to that phone came flooding back. Yet, even though I’ve gone through about three or four upgrades after throwing that particular device in storage, it’s actually only been like six years since that flip phone was cutting-edge technology. (How cool was that first camera phone?)

We’re in a period of time like no other in history, especially when you consider the pace of technology. A computer once filled a room and could do only a tiny fraction of what the smartphone in my hand can do now (at an even smaller fraction of the cost). Known as Moore’s Law, it’s the phenomenon of exponential doubling; it’s how we’re able to upgrade our new phone after a year or two and enjoy a completely new piece of technology.

It’s the same reason that using that old flip phone today might earn me a few chuckles and funny looks from my friends. But, really, why would I ever go back?

Built on past success

Smartphones and sexy consumer items get a lot of attention, but technology doesn’t discriminate, which is why we’ve seen giant leaps forward in many industries, all due to the rapid growth of innovation.

Writer Alison Berman explains this evolution in a recent article:

“Civilizations advance by ‘repurposing’ the ideas and breakthroughs of their predecessors. Similarly, each generation of technology builds on the advances of previous generations, and this creates a positive feedback loop of improvements … in this way, improvements in technology enable the next generation of even better technology … Because each generation of technology improves over the last, the rate of progress from version to version speeds up.”

This is just one of the reasons why it’s exciting to be in the LED lighting industry because we see how quickly the products improve. It’s often hard for businesses to keep up, but with the added benefits this brings, it’s a good problem to have. James Highgate shares his thoughts in LEDs Magazine:

“LEDs demand that industry participants constantly strive to keep up with the evolution of the technology. Indeed, solid-state lighting (SSL) technology is moving at a fast pace, reminiscent of the computer processor in the 90s. LED technology changes faster than Moore’s or Haitz’s Law as a rule.”

Time to upgrade

The building industry is certainly responding. Market intelligence firm LEDinside reports the LED business jumped from $25.7 billion in 2015 to approximately $30.5 billion in 2016, with a 36 percent penetration rate. This type of warp-speed development is delivering products to the market that weren’t expected to exist until 2025.

Yet, for all of the innovation and excitement, only about 4 to 5 percent of U.S. businesses have made the switch and retrofitted their facilities with LED lighting. Much of this comes down to business owners not realizing the benefits of switching: eliminating maintenance for five to 10 years, improving the overall quality and quantity of light, and drastically reducing their overall operational costs and energy usage.

Plus, many owners are carefully watching the pace of change to make sure an investment in LED lighting now isn’t obsolete in five years. And they’re smart to do so. But concern about the speed of technology is no reason to stay stuck with the flip phone equivalent of lighting for your facility. Just keep a few tips in mind when you make the decision to retrofit:

  • Work with a reputable company that can ensure consistency across products.
  • Document all fixtures you purchase.
  • Be aware of the types of LED boards and drivers being used in each fixture, so when it’s time to replace, you’ll know what options are available.

If the transition seems daunting, just remember, there was a time when you first had to learn what the term “smartphone” meant or how to work the GPS that came with it. LEDs are the same: Once you make the switch, your old lighting will be just like my flip phone—obsolete.

Nelson Struewe is vice president of sales at LED2, a manufacturer and seller of indoor and outdoor commercial LED lighting products. As much as he’ll always love his first flip phone, he’s much happier with his new smartphone and helping clients realize the benefits of LED lighting. How do you see technology changing the industry? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or on Twitter @LED2.

Posted in Company News, Blogs

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