A survey of 175 lighting professionals offered revealing insight into fast-moving lighting technologies and trends like LEDs, connected lighting and Lighting As a Service. Subscribers to the Illumination Insider e-mail newsletter published by EC&M and Electrical Wholesaling magazines often had starkly different opinions on the market acceptance of LEDs and the Internet of Things (IoT).
An electrical engineer with a Boston-based engineering-consulting firm is getting a cool reception on IoT from many customers. “Most of my clients request that no wireless or IoT be used on their facilities since they are convinced that wired controls are more reliable and not subject to glitches from the data network or by being hacked over the Internet,” he said.
And while most subscribers said their customers approved of LEDs, glare was one concern. Said one subscriber, “Yes, glare is a problem. I don't specify LED fixtures with too much glare. The fixture has to be designed properly just like with any other source of light. And I stay away from ‘off’ brands.”
Matt Gross, an engineer with Excel Engineering, Fond du Lac, Wisc., said glare has been an issue with LEDs in some applications. “An example is racking in a warehouse environment with forklift drivers looking up into the fixtures and them being too bright,” he said. “A frosted lens seems to be a decent solution, but that introduces light loss through the lens, which then affect light levels in the space.”
A Seattle-based lighting consultant said glare shouldn’t be an issue in a properly designed lighting system. “This is a major point of differentiation for my firm. We are extremely diligent in mitigating any potential glare issues and to be consistent in aligning CCT across suppliers for specific project sites.”
Two respondents also spoke out against LED vendors that launch products into the market before they have completed all of their research and development. One said his company values manufacturers who “stand by their products long-term and maintain product lines long-term, and do not churn out LED products as they test what works,” while the other looks for “manufacturers that don’t put their products on the market, before testing ahead of time.”
A survey question on Lighting As a Service also generated some split findings. While over 60% of respondents said it’s a strategy they are either already utilizing or are evaluating closely, more than 30% said it was “a bunch of hype.”
Another respondent summed up the experiences of many of the lighting professional who responded to the survey. He said that while initially he got comments on the LEDs being so bright (both in positive and negative), generally his company gets very favorable feedback on the LED lighting systems they install for both indoor and outdoor applications.