The LED is the latest technology replacing our most common lamps, incandescent and fluorescent, as well as metal halides and other common exterior light sources. They were first introduced in 1962 as practical electronic components used in remote controls, digital clocks and displays in consumer electronics. The industry has expanded, and LEDs are now available for much larger and more intense applications.
There are numerous advantages to LED over incandescent or fluorescent such as longer lifespan, lowered energy usage, significantly smaller size, and robustness. They also solve some of the issues with fluorescent and metal halide and are fast switching, not affected by the frequent switching, and don’t deteriorate as much or as fast.
These advantages allow for newer infrastructure and further and more diverse applications. They have been introduced in aviation, automotive, advertising, and traffic lights. The fixtures in commercial spaces are flatter and less invasive. Additionally, they are safer for the healthcare industry, food service industry and gymnasiums and fitness centers as the “lamps” are not breakable and are usually framed in a plastic.
Many key lighting industry issues have been addressed. But if we’ve already come this far, what is next? As building infrastructures change and maintenance costs reduce the demand for smart lighting and smart buildings is likely to increase. The current drive with the latest consumer electronic is constant interaction. Color tuning and advanced controls have been introduced and will move to being more available and cost effective as infrastructures change and demand increases.
Color tuning could be effective in the healthcare industry allowing for circadian-response altering, addressing symptoms of certain disorders and diseases. Advertising and displays could become more exciting and alluring by changing the color spectrum in the background.
Advanced controls will allow for commercial and residential spaces to be monitored remotely. Consumption or over consumption can be monitored, identified, and adjusted by a remote, allowing for further savings than just the switch to more efficient technology. Additionally, the remote monitoring can allow for safety mechanisms, recognizing when lights have been signaled on in case of a burglary or something was not turned off in the case of forgetting something on the stove. The change in usage pattern can send a trigger for someone to react to the change.
The opportunities feel out of this world. Lighting technology is shifting, consumption is being reduced and engineers are dreaming of where they can take this next.