Having just participated for three days at Lighfair International (LFI) 2016 in San Diego, I am impressed. From thousands of attendees to 550+ exhibitors across 6 different pavilions, this event is massive.

Lighting manufactures from across the world converged on LFI 2016 to display the latest luminaires, edge-lit panels, opalescent lens, color-tunable white LED light and much more technology that can be mentioned here. I was truly amazed at the endless shapes, sizes, colors, variations, and technologies at the show.

LFI 2016 was certainly the mecca of the lighting industry for 3 short days in San Diego. Not only was there a massive amount of technology, but also the Exhibitor Halls ran for blocks and my feet felt it by the end of the day. Vendors from all over the world, large and small, competing on physical form factors, embedding sensors for various uses cases, consumer lighting, industrial lighting, connected cities and many more were all on display. There were even some companies demonstrating voice-controlled lighting using Amazon Echo.

Reflecting on this massive investment in creativity and a palatable struggle to differentiate, it is plain to see that the lighting industry is undergoing rapid change, disruption, and opportunity. What is striking is the exponential changes occurring in all facets of lighting and a belief that no one individual or company is expert in the entire space.

“No one individual or company is expert in the entire space.”

What was subtlety different this year was interest in controls software especially in the home automating and building automation space. There were more than a few companies showcasing software platforms controlling fleets of luminaires, sensing occupancy and tracking and reporting on energy efficiencies. Still, most of these systems were proprietary and provided only local; i.e. lacking cloud capabilities for remote / aggregated operations, aggregated data analytics, and third party integrations. On the other side of this, I developed several relationships with people keen in extending capabilities to the cloud.

Most certainly the growth and innovation within the lighting industry is exponential. Forward-looking organizations are investing in laminar technology, software, and cloud software to stay ahead. Like all industries the lighting industry is going through a digitization process where products become even smaller and eventually dematerialized into software.

“Like all industries the lighting industry is going through a digitization process where products become even smaller and eventually dematerialized into software.”

The cloud plays a significant role. As valuable use cases for cloud based control, monitoring, optimization, and automation features for physical luminaires through cloud based digital shadow instances, data analytics, ecosystem integrations, and scale become competitive requirements. It is certainly a fascinating time to engage in the lighting industry; experiencing its core technology advancement along with its confluence with software and the cloud.

As the lighting industry rapidly evolves organizational transformational and the consolidation of devices, software, data, and business systems will become more prevalent. While manufactures may have expertise in some of these areas, successfully competitive initiatives will requires a highly competent team in all disciplines.

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