The Lighting & Controls Theater on the NECA 2018 show floor hosted a steady stream of 18-minute presentations by lighting manufacturers, distributors and service companies. Some of the presentations were clearly product sales pitches and others were more about addressing the changing challenges electrical contractors face. Most presenters chose to emphasize ways electrical contractors can use advances and innovations in lighting equipment and services to improve profitability on each job. Lighting manufacturers in their booths on the show floor frequently chose the same emphasis.
Many presentations to varying crowds gathered on the booth’s cushioned cubes keyed on the flexibility of wireless lighting controls and tunable white light, and techniques for simplifying commissioning of lighting control systems. Major manufacturers and household names such as Leviton, Lutron and Acuity showed some of their latest controls and luminaires.
The theater setup also gave some companies not widely known in the electrical industry a chance to introduce themselves to contractors. Lighting supplier ELED Lights closed out the show with a discussion of its lighting technology and the company’s history as a subsidiary of Manncorp., a manufacturer of electronics manufacturing equipment used for making things like LED boards, that grew into an LED lighting manufacturer and an authorized distributor for product categories it doesn’t make. The presentation focused mostly on the company’s lighting services, offering contractors assistance in creating lighting designs for customers.
Another was a company that combines outdoor lighting with renewables. Dan Connors, co-founder and chief operating officer of Aris Wind LLC, walked attendees through applications and benefits of a system that combines a 395W solar photovoltaic panel and a shrouded 300W wind turbine and battery storage unit on the mast of an outdoor LED light pole. The two sources of power combine through an intelligent charge controller to provide resilient lighting and energy storage using renewable power.
The focus on lowering costs on the job, particularly for labor, ran throughout. An interesting presentation from Graybar’s David Moeller, director for customer markets, talked about services the company offers to simplify commercial lighting installations, such as unpacking all the fixtures and sorting them by room and by floor in rolling bins. “We open boxes for a living. You don’t need your apprentice that you can’t find anyway spending his time unpacking boxes and dealing with cardboard.”
Some presenters ventured further into useful information all contractors need to keep in mind, such as the opportunities to boost profitability in residential repair and remodeling work by cross-selling products that offer additional value for customers and up-selling to the latest technology.