the next evolution of lighting: LEDs Magazine

In February I presented “The Next Evolution of Lighting” at the 2013 Strategies In Light conference, held at Santa Clara, California, the heart of Silicon Valley.  I specifically submitted to Strategies in Light because it has a strong focus on the future of the lighting industry, particularly with the Investor Conference that draws lots of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs pushing the boundaries of the industry.

Maury Wright of LEDs Magazine provided gracious coverage of my presentation in the March 2013 issue.   I’ve quoted Maury’s review below for posterity.

And if you missed it, I will be presenting an extended version of the presentation at the upcoming Lightfair conference in Philadelphia,  Thursday, April 25th from 8:30-10:00.  

Conferences: SIL speakers urge the SSL industry to quicken the pace of innovation and truly leverage the benefits of LED technology

By Maury Wright, EDITOR

The most compelling new information on controls and how deeply lighting and IT networks will mesh came from Brad Koerner, director of experience design at Philips Lighting, in a talk entitled “Reaching the next evolution in lighting.” Fully embracing LED technology will involve the intersection of lighting technology, architecture and construction, and lighting design according to Koerner.

The technology segment will be the enabler. Koerner predicted than within a year or two, complete driver electronics will be miniaturized to IC size. Moreover the IC will include sensors and network support. He said that soon, “connecting full Internet Protocol all the way out to each and every light source will cost less on a total project basis than connecting older proprietary control protocols.”
He said architects would like to treat lighting in the same way they treat materials such as glass or acrylics. And he said lighting designers want to embed light into architectural structures. Lighting becoming part of the so called Internet of things will help enable such a transition.

While we’ve heard the controls vision before, Koerner’s presentation took a surprising turn. He did mention that lighting becomes capable of presenting digital animation and other benfits. But he believes that intelligence and networks inherent in lighting will change the way that lighting is specified and that buildings are manufactured.

The architecture industry is already moving to Building Information Management (BIM) systems in which plans for a building are stored in models rather than in traditional drawn plans. The computerized approach enables what Koerner referred to as digital fabrication where more subsystems of a building are mass-produced remotely to a model specification and then assembled on site.  Koerner believes that lighting needs to follow a similar path. And having intelligent lighting, in which parametric data about the capability of the lighting product or module is stored locally in the product, would enable on-site fabrication of lighting systems— customized but based on mass production. Specifically, Koerner mentioned the Zhaga Consortium standards, and referred to his vision as the paradox of standards. He said, “Standard modules enable mass customized lighting systems by reducing the development cost.” But there are missing pieces. Clearly we need ubiquitous open rather than proprietary networks. And we need data standards for formatting and storing the parametric data on lighting products that feed he BIM system.

Long term, Koerner sees tracking the elements of a lighting system from component to final assembly in an automated fashion. He said LEDs are already tracked from wafer to package. The tracking and incremental buildup of parametric and commissioning data could continue through light engines or modules all the way to fixtures or architectural systems. He referred to the concept as nesting file standards.

Shorter term, Koerner believes that modules, and Zhaga in particular, can begin the process.”


Commentary: Insiders call for faster innovation in SSL

By Maury Wright, EDITOR

…SIL, however, revealed far larger ramifications of what is quickly becoming our primary light source. In the article that I wrote on the conference, I covered a presentation by Brad Koerner of Philips Lighting. He took the idea of integrated networks in lighting beyond controls to a vision of fundamental change in how buildings are designed and constructed.

In Koerner’s vision, we won’t ship 1000 troffer fixtures, 2000 downlights, 1000 spot lights, and 1000 wall sconces to a building construction site. Instead, we will ship 5000 standardized SLL modules to the site. Workers will install the building-block products into the ceilings and wall like any other building material delivering what Koerner called mass customization of the lighting system. It’s a paradox in which mass-produced identical products enable far more customization implemented on the construction site.

The vision goes much further, because Koerner believes each module will carry intelligence about its own capabilities that are automatically transferred to the building system. Ultimately, commissioning becomes automatic and light sources are just one more element in a Building Information Management system. Combine color tuning with Koerner’s concept and lighting can be adapted to boost productivity or even used to present digital animations.