Future Lighting Solutions, a division of Future Electronics
Just over 15 years ago, Future Electronics created a specialist division, Future Lighting Solutions, to enable customers and suppliers to generate revenue out of photons. At that time, much of the division’s work was in helping customers to manage the transition from incandescent light sources to the then new technology of ‘high-brightness’ LEDs.
Such is the fast pace of change in technology that this transition is already in a mature phase, and now the lighting industry faces a new, different and equally disruptive change: the commoditization of LED-based general lighting products. In the face of a worldwide oversupply of standard luminaires, lighting OEMs have suffered from eight consecutive years of falling prices. General lighting has become a much tougher business in which to make money and a cost-cutting strategy offers diminishing returns.
The longer but surer route to success is to add value for which the end customer, or lighting scheme specifier, is willing to pay. In Future Lighting Solutions’ view, the industry needs to draw on existing assets: know-how and infrastructure. The lighting industry is an expert in creating systems based on a large number of electrically powered, light-emitting nodes situated above things and people.
In fact, a luminaire is an ideal location for sensors which collect data about activity in and the environment of an indoor space or a street, while avoiding the privacy concerns and costs of a video camera. If the data are valuable enough, the light that the luminaire produces could end up as the remote-controlled auxiliary function of a ceiling-mounted data acquisition and transmission device.
Of course, the industry has to find a way to extract profit from the data, by marketing a more expensive luminaire equipped with sensors and controls which can measure and manage the operating environment. An infrared heat map, for example, might detect that 70% fewer people occupy an area at slower times of the day compared to the busiest times. A ‘smart building’ system could then automatically adjust lighting and heating without manual intervention. The energy saving provides value for which end customers and consumers might be prepared to pay.
In this new smart lighting market, there are opportunities for businesses to:
- offer data services to facilities managers and municipalities through networked lighting infrastructure
- produce light-emitting data acquisition devices
- supply luminaires that can be controlled wirelessly
In every case, Future Lighting Solutions has the know-how and experience to help manufacturers. Our offering includes firmware, control software and hardware, with as much as possible of the complexity in licensing and other arrangements removed.
So now, with help from Future Lighting Solutions, OEMs can achieve differentiation and quality of light at the same time, and at an affordable cost.