Over the years, as LED has made an inexorable progress toward world domination – I have used LUX live exhibition as a sort or yardstick or bell weather of LED’s progression in terms of technological advances and its revolutionary influence on lighting design.
So I thought it would be helpful to share my observations made at this year’s event held at ExCel London last week.
A fun one to start – Organic LEDs have been with us for some years now and are still at the stage of offering decorative applications alone but nonetheless it is simply mind boggling that such a thin flexible material is actually a light source.
It would seem that high CRI (colour rendering index) was once the exclusive domain of expensive fixtures. Many of these highly tuned downlights and spotlights met a ready demand from retailers and restaurateurs who are keen to represent colour that made merchandise and food look vibrant. This was compounded by the LED ‘Blindspot’ (read about it in an earlier edition here) that fails to display red at lower levels of rendering, sub-CRI 80RA.
The big news this year is that increasingly you do not need sophisticated light engines to achieve top colour results. These improvements are dropping in cost and are available across the board – starting with spotlights, tape and soon featuring in all light sources – even outdoor lights!? Quite simply the type of chip needed to deliver this quality of light has experienced mass distribution and the heat management and on-board circuitry is in place to offer a cost effective unit.
For instance, we sell Integral LED spotlights that have a high CRI of 95RA which was shortlisted for last week’s Lux Award. Additionally, a leading LED strip manufacturer decalred that all their strip will be 90RA CRI rather than 85RA in the short term. Nothing wrong with 85RA for low colour sensitive interiors, but it’s good to know we are creeping towards that 100RA or perfect colour rendition.
Remember we are happy to navigate you through the jungle of options and find a match for your next applications. For instance, our range of LED strip has never been more extensive and our new recommended downlights feature new higher colour specifications.
Many of us are sceptical about the ever-connected world. Certainly, if you had embraced the internet of things three years ago you would have experienced a false dawn? In truth lighting control is still in the realm of DALI and expensive building management control system sought by high budget projects….or is it?
Personally, I think things are about to change and indications are that it is time to draw closer to the detail of the opportunity if not a full body clinch. For instance, the reality is that increasingly householders are being introduced to environmental control systems like Hive by the million as energy suppliers roll out digital metering – free smart meters.
Look into a MAPLIN store this Christmas and you will see the state of the DIY market which demonstrates the confidence retailers have for the connected ‘toy’ – the light bulb that changes colour, the kettle that can be turned on remotely. This year, a whole section of the show was devoted to IOT. Perhaps, as a design practise or consultancy, it’s a matter of academic interest only at the moment. Believe me, it will penetrate down to us soon and clients will be asking for it – not something to be ignored.
Can we adopt now – how can it be relevant and useful to you and your clients?
It’s become all about data collection through the luminaire, creating an intelligent building. Be careful not to lose sight of good lighting design in the process. If that is something that your project can benefit from then it could be worth considering. Watch this space for introductions into cost effective IoT lighting systems in the coming year – including training and webinars.
PoE or Power over Ethernet offers a fundamentally new way of thinking for all of us. As a consequence of LED lights drawing significantly less power – data cabling can be utilised to provide the power source. This means an electrician need not install the majority of the cabling as it’s all extra low voltage – a potential saving and at the very least, a more flexible system allowing for easy modification in the future.
Driverless 230V LED Downlights: I have been testing a sample of a 600lm 3000K 230V powered LED Downlight – with NO DRIVER! It means one less component to fail and to pay for which makes it an attractive consideration. It’s a cost-effective solution that is not the holy grail of all forthcoming LED downlights but it is at the budget end of the scale and it seems to dim and perform well. We had the opportunity at the show to see a sample of this technology that will be offering tunable colour temperature of LED white light. In fact, I have been looking for new products that can offer 600lm or more for a low price – that still looks good. This is the first concept that enables one to avoid a clear lens model where the unadulterated LED source can hit you between the eyes. More on this in the new year as we include driverless products in our range.
It would seem that solid-state lighting continues to be the highly dynamic, rapid paced and occasionally bewildering technology that it has proven to be over the last five years. No doubt as an architect or an interior designer you want a contemporary solution for a space that simply works. This is how we help our clients on a daily basis, by navigating businesses like yours through a multitude of options. Call us for free advice and guidance on your next scheme.