Convergence of Lighting and Technology
For more than twenty years in the electronics industry, much of this author’s lighting experience has been with video; especially, in projecting light for video reproduction. Within those experiences came increasing commitment and familiarity with lighting control and shading. Within the years of video projection (especially, earlier on, converging images with RGB Cathode Ray Tubes), the whole discipline of knowing light output, timing (impacting upon contrast and saturation) and combining colors for correcting tuning color temperature has provided more than a cursory knowledge of some of the intents and challenges within the Lighting Industry.
In a separate article created with a leading Lighting Industry consultant, Deborah Burnett, ASID, AASM, we discussed - for Architects, Lighting Designers and Interior Designers – how research and peer review in just the past 10 to 15 years is dramatically changing the discipline of lighting design. The idea of a digitally controlled lighting environment has evolved beyond the mere aesthetic to that of very real concerns - including health and bio-medical concerns.
The opportunity for low-voltage technology integrators with lighting is potentially enormous. Perhaps you shrug your shoulders and say, “how can we break into such an established market?” The good news response to that question is the fact that even the most experienced lighting professionals are being bombarded by change; and, the developments of the last decade and beyond is starting to make this a new ballgame for most, if not all. So, the idea of anyone knowing how it should be done is just beginning and developing.
During our development of new lighting markets, in our discussions with lighting industry professionals, we’ve noted that electricians (while there are definitely exceptions) as a group are not enthusiastically embracing low-voltage lighting solutions. The idea that members of the CEDIA market are actually able to lead (with, their pre-existing experience in networking and automation) in this rapidly growing category is an idea deserving our attention.
After many years in the field of business and market development, this author coined the phrase “no one ever wants to be the first…and yet, no one ever wants to be the last”. While putting this article together, our initial concern was that some might consider this article and advocacy an act of buttering our own bread; which, we won’t deny it is. However, those concerns will fade when others see and seize the opportunity; realizing, there is something very much in it for them, as well. Raising all boats is a worthy path.
Even at CEDIA EXPO in Dallas, we were contacted by members of the Dallas Market Center stating that they are creating two new show events next year entitled “Lighting + Technology”. When we met them, they had already begun conversations with CEDIA leadership in hopes of receiving a convergence effect between the lighting and technology industries. On the one hand we do have to be intentional and not blindly contribute to these efforts without intentionality. In fact, one of the working titles of this particular article was, “Convergence or Socio-Economic Darwinism”; knowing that some of our industry’s so-called best solutions have not always produced the wisest long-term results, or helped in expanding opportunities for all.
However, this effort has possibilities. Instead, we’re talking converging markets with a pie that is larger than we can really assess right now. As stated in last month’s column, given the maturation of the CEDIA market, it is more important that we accommodate new options than limit them. We need to be confident in our respective business plans to know what does or does not belong within our individual business organizations; particularly, as we are seeing more portions of our industry continuing to consolidate and regroup in their sales and marketing organizations. If anything, this thought provides additional impetus for increasing the pool of options for our industry members, rather than the other way around.
Hopefully, this provides some food for thought and reason enough for you to do more research on your own. As with anything else of this magnitude, the eating-the-elephant-one-bite-at-a- time scenario is what best describes what will be required from you. However, if the paradigm you are using to assess this area goes beyond the mere aesthetic to the science behind it, you too will move more quickly from a position of thinking this stuff is quackery to compelling.
For example, have you noticed on the Apple iOS 10 upgrade that there is a new feature called “Night Shift”? Knowing the research that shows “high-blue” levels of light in the evening keeps people up at night (because of Circadian System effects), Apple has provided a “warm” color temperature theme which can be set to activate at sunset or a specified range of time.
All of this proves it is likely there is more beyond one’s current understanding of lighting than meets the eye… and, with that, can come new opportunity.
Andrew Ard is an industry veteran with over 20 years’ experience serving in marketing roles for key CEDIA manufacturers and service organizations. He is also a member of the CEDIA Advisory Board, former CEDIA and IPRO Board Member. Andrew is currently serving as director of marketing and outreach for Dallas Sight and Sound, a founding design-build system integration company and member of CEDIA, specializing in high-performance, easy-to-use systems that have been delighting clients for over 30 years.