Do you remember the early days of LED? Back when the average CCT (Correlated Color Temperature) was +/- 1000o? When you had to choose between Cool White or Warm White!
Or, if you are a distributor, you had to stock multiple manufacturers, and items from each manufacturer, to ensure you had all of the CCT’s that a supplier offered?
What this essentially meant was that there were different definitions of white? Not just the typical three of 3000OK, 4000OK and 5000OK but multiple versions that approximated each of these!
In all seriousness, when LED’s were new, we as an industry (albeit much smaller) wrestled with the wild swings in CCT AND at the time having to choose between 120v or 277v.
Providing customer with all of these choices and it was a wonder we could convince anyone to stock, specify, or sell the product let alone get a customer to buy the correct LED for their application and ensure they were satisfied. It became a running joke of “what is the color of light … yellow, white or shades of white?”
Solving the CCT Lamp Challenge
Coming from the electrical distribution channel, we started to look for ways to make our products more customer friendly and reduce the number of sku’s a distributor needed to stock.
Early on, START Lighting worked on the wide band solution, allowing either 120v or 277v incoming voltage with a single lamp. We got that to work, and were off to the races. Now distributors, contractors, and end-users can focus on stocking / ordering from three different lamps instead of six (three color temperatures for 120v and three for 277v) since our lamps could handle 120v AND 277v.
Vari-Just, CCT and Wattage Adjustment for Flat Panels
We introduced our first LED Flat Panel four years ago, and approached it the same way. Our goal was one wattage option and three separate CCT’s (3000OK, 4000OK, 5000OK).
To be expected as the demand grew, so did the variation on wattage for rebates. We’d have an electric utility on the East Coast that would want a 30w 2×2 panel, and another on the West Coast that would want that same panel in 25w!
Once we saw the fluctuations in wattage requirements, and of course CCT, our engineering group looked at the multiple sku’s and colors we were producing and also considered the number of skus that a distributor had to stock to serve their customers.
We determined the best way to handle the various wattages and CCT’s was to flip the switch to save money (inventory investment for distributors, time for contractors and a product comparable priced to single function products that are in the market.)
This was what sparked the idea for our Vari-JustTM platform, which we launched earlier this year.
Literally flip two switches on the fixture, and you have what you need! A fixture that can be adapted to address six variations.
One switch controls wattage. One controls color temperature.
As 3000OK and 3500OK are close together on the temperature spectrum, we have always manufactured in 3000OK, 4000OK, 5000OK, with the tuning capabilities. At customer requests, we’ve now added a 3500OK option.
For distributors this makes product selection easier and can reduce inventory skus, hence reducing inventory investment.
For contractors this means always having the right panels and troffers on the job site. A simple flick of the switch ensures you have what you need, when you need it making jobs easier and faster to install … saving you time and money.
And since quality and creativity is our standard. There is no additional cost for this advanced functionality.
I have been hearing a lot of buzz about LiFi in the last few weeks. People around the world are raving about how it will change the way people access the Internet. And while I love the idea of innovating Internet availability, important questions abound: How will this affect the lighting business? What can we expect in the future? Are we seeing another revolution in the industry? As lighting manufacturers and providers, these are questions we need to be answering.
What is LiFi?
If we want to talk about how LiFi will affect our industry, we need to understand it first. LiFi, short for Light Fidelity, is a wireless communication system that uses visible light instead of radio waves. Like WiFi, it transmits data electromagnetically, but LiFi has been shown to produce speeds that leave traditional wireless services in the dust. Recent lab trials have clocked speeds over 18,000 times faster than the average US internet speed. Coupled with many other advantages including security and resistance to interference, it’s no wonder people are getting excited about it.
How Does LiFi Work?
LED lamps produce a constant stream of light that can be dimmed or brightened at rapid rates. The LiFi system harnesses that functionality by fluctuating the light levels emitted by an LED to send signals to a photosensitive device. These fluctuations happen so fast that they are imperceptible to the human eye, but are strong enough to be decoded by the device and translated into binary code. The device then sends signals back to a LiFi capable LED lamp and the process repeats, giving you an extremely fast connection to the web.
Why Should I Care About LiFi?
There is a dilemma right now in the lighting industry pertaining to LEDs. How can anyone support a business when clients only need to buy product once every ten years? The numbers just don’t add up. This has rocked the core of how business is done, and has left some people questioning whether they should get out while they can. LiFi, and products like it, are turning this perception around.
Everyone uses lighting products in their everyday lives, but hardly anyone thinks about where the light comes from. People take light for granted, and expect to have it wherever they go. But the advent of lighting as a conduit for other services has shifted the paradigm. It is now being seen as something of immense value. That gives distributors and energy service companies an incredible opportunity to sell their products as an ongoing program, constantly providing innovative new functionality with every lamp or fixture purchased.
How Will LiFi Affect the Lighting Industry?
LiFi is just the beginning of this revolution. These kinds of advances will continue as businesses seek to limit their environmental footprint and cut costs to improve their bottom line. If we want to survive we cannot let this incredible opportunity pass us by. As experts in this field we should be spearheading the movement and reaching for ever greater advances. This is the future of our business, and it’s time we start getting in on the action. Lagging behind just isn’t an option.