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MONDO ARC

Paul James - Editorial comment

Issue 46 Dec / Jan 2008/9


So there I was lying on a beach in the Maldives towards the end of my honeymoon blissfully unaware that the world was entering financial meltdown! The first I knew about it was a few hours after landing at Heathrow and watching the news for the first time in three weeks!

What I have found out since is that the lighting industry, generally, is not panicking too much. In fact, many of the lighting designers I have spoken to are actually looking forward to a bit of a downturn so they can consolidate their business and spend more time with their families instead of trying to cope with too many projects! The chronic lack of young lighting designers coming through may not be quite as much of a problem as many had feared for the next couple of years.

For many manufacturers there is more to lose with ever tighter margins, the fluctuating exchange rate and major developments being put on hold. Some with too many eggs in one basket may be entering next year with trepidation (retail, office ?) but there are signs of bullish behaviour among many of our biggest manufacturers, particularly where LEDs are concerned, the focus of this issue.

With predictions that lumens per watt levels in warm white will now hit 120 in two years and 200 by 2018 due to the advent of more efficient phosphor technologies, Philips has grasped the nettle and ditched its conventional indoor fittings business in favour of LEDs, thus leveraging its expertise in the LED Solutions market and, coupled with its recent LED acquisitions, enhancing its position as an LED market leader. Whilst this will leave a gap in the market for other manufacturers to fill with their fluorescent offerings, Philips obviously see that the huge potential solid-state lighting offers has suddenly become a reality.

Many governments around the world (including our own in the UK) are demanding increased spending on public projects such as schools and hospitals in order to get us out of recession. They are also driving the use of public procurement of ultra energy efficient lighting to promote governments’ sustainability objectives. This is clearly an opportunity for the lighting industry to embrace the LED sector and to take advantage of the current huge growth (30% a year in the UK alone) in the market.

But all this is dependent on the LED fittings becoming more usable, more reliable and more affordable. Time for more of the industry to grasp the nettle.

 

Editor: Paul James Editor: Paul James
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