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LED: What’s the future

In 1854, a German watchmaker Heinrich Göbel, invented the first incandescent light bulb. Since then, the lighting revolution went very quickly. In barely 150 years, from incandescent light bulbs – to compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) in 1980s – to LED lighting in 1990s – the lighting industry has witnessed remarkable transformation.

According to a new report by Grand View Research, the global LED lighting market size is expected to reach US$ 105.66 billion by 2025. It is expected to register a CAGR of 11.8 per cent over the forecast period. The revision of energy policies and focus towards developing energy-saving products accompanied by reducing LED product prices is expected to keep the market buoyant. Moreover, the report said, lucrative benefits such as longer lifespan, low heat emission, and most importantly lesser energy consumption as compared to traditional lights such as CFL lamps is anticipated to boost the product demand.

LEDs have also transformed lighting from analog to digital, enabling users to remotely control and monitor them. The digital capabilities of LEDs enable tremendous customisation in terms of light output and application and has also brought illumination and IoT (Internet of Things) together, allowing lighting systems to participate in the IoT. This has led to the emergence of connected lighting, marking a significant shift and transforming lighting from a commodity product to a fully integrated lighting system that can seamlessly connect with a wireless network or Ethernet, allowing users to remotely control and monitor their lighting systems. This has multiple applications in smart cities, buildings and homes, making lighting intelligent and personalised.

Here, we throw light on the opportunities for India LED business beyond 2020. As per a report published by TechSci Research, LED lighting market in India stood at US$ 918.70
million in 2016, and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 24.66 per cent, in value terms, during 2016-2022, to reach US$3,758.74 million by 2022, on account of increasing
government initiatives to boost LED adoption and growing awareness regarding lower power consumption of LED lighting products.

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Commenting on the recent status of LED lighting industry in India, Sumit Padmakar Joshi, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Signify Innovations India Ltd, said, “Over the last few years, the Indian lighting industry has undergone a significant transformation owing to the arrival of LED lighting. Lighting has become more energy efficient and intelligent, opening up a whole new range of applications that have never been seen before, such as Li-Fi (light fidelity). Aided by government programs such as Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) and Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP), there has been a rapid adoption of LED lighting across homes, private offices, public buildings and monuments.”

Under UJALA, LED bulbs are being made available at cheaper rates than the market price. More than 350 million LED bulbs have been sold so far under the programme. As per data available on Electric Lamp and Component Manufacturer Association of India (ELCOMA) website, about 1.4 billion bulbs and tubelights were manufactured in India in 2018. About 46 per cent of these were LED lighting and 43 per cent were incandescent bulbs with rest being CFLs and fluorescent tube-lights, the association estimates.

Bhavin Soonderji, Tridonic India (Atco Controls India Pvt Ltd), Managing Director, observes, “The penetration is getting deeper and traditional light sources are being replaced rapidly. The huge volume has also led to cost pressures which were not seen in the traditional light source business.”

Mr Joshi adds, “The lighting industry in India will continue to grow over the next decade, owing to increasing urbanisation, enhanced consumer awareness about LEDs and the growth of smart cities. We anticipate the demand for LED lighting to grow exponentially in the future.”

Recent advancements

Signify is one of the global leaders in lighting products, systems and services. The company serves both professional and consumer markets, transforming urban spaces, communities, workplaces, stadiums, buildings, shopping malls and homes.

Talking about some of Signify’s recent advancements in LED segment, Mr Joshi said, “We have always focused on innovation, creating new products and services for the benefit of consumers. We spot a problem which nobody focuses on and grow in that segment by coming up with groundbreaking and futuristic solutions. Through our innovations, we unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world.”

Mr Soonderji’s company represents Tridonic in India. He said, “The biggest advancements still come in terms of connectivity of devices for smart offices, safe cities, and smart cities – connected lighting systems.”
Signify has recently announced the launch of its Interact IoT platform for connected lighting, which will enable professional customers to unlock the full potential of their connected lighting assets. The platform delivers new insights to help customers drive operational efficiencies and take more effective decisions. It also supports the company’s strategy to deliver new data-enabled services as value expands from lighting products and systems to services.

Signify has already installed 50 million connected light points worldwide and plan for every new LED product we produce to be connectable by 2020, informs Mr Joshi. This growing number of connected light points, sensors and devices, as well as systems, can collect large volumes of data that Interact was designed to handle. The highly secure, scalable cloud-based Interact platform uses sophisticated and modern data management and data processing capabilities, including machine learning, to bring sense to all manner of data – creating data-enabled services for customers that will deliver benefits beyond illumination.

The company has also recently launched Li-Fi, which is a technology in which high-quality LED lighting provides a stable and fast broadband Internet connection through light waves. As the lighting company for the IoT, Signify claims to be the first global lighting company to offer Li-Fi-enabled luminaires from their existing office lighting portfolio. While radio frequencies are becoming congested, with more devices trying to connect and overloading networks, the visible light spectrum is an untapped resource with a large bandwidth suitable for stable simultaneous connection of a vast array of IoT devices. “Being a lighting company, we ensure that our customers benefit from the finest quality energy efficient lighting along with state-of-the-art connectivity,” says Mr Joshi.

This year Signify intends to focus on further expanding the reach of their new LED innovations – Philips T Beamer, Philips EYE PRO and Philips Smart WiFi LED bulb. They will also focus on expanding their presence in the rural channel with customised offerings, informs Mr Joshi.

He adds, “We are also investing significantly to grow our smart home lighting business in both offline and online channels, through our exclusive Philips Smart Light Hubs and with our presence on all major e-commerce portals. We also tied up with smart home assistants such as Google Home and Amason Alexa, to offer connected lighting to customers via voice command. By the end of the year, we expect to double our retail presence for smart lighting in the country with new Philips Smart Light Hubs opening across various cities.”

India LED business beyond 2020

Growth in the lighting industry will come from new home construction, evolution of smart cities and street lighting, avers Mr Joshi while discussing on the opportunities for India LED business beyond 2020. He said, “There will be a demand for more energy efficient and intelligent lighting in the future, as the world focuses on enhancing sustainability and conserving energy.”

Urban populations are growing rapidly, and by 2030 it is predicted that close to 60 per cent of the world population will be living in cities. In the home of 2030, lighting will be able to synchronise with everything from doorbell to television and music and will be fully adjustable to individual preferences. It will pre-empt your needs and complement your well-being, energise you, relax you and keep you safe. Philips Hue personal lighting range enables consumers to personalise their lighting experience using the Hue app on their smartphone. It can turn everyday lighting into an extraordinary experience. The system syncs seamlessly with music, movies and games, and transforms your room into an entertainment arena, bringing spatial awareness and immersiveness to a whole new level.

By 2030, it is expected that there will be close to 70 billion light points in the world. Public lighting is installed everywhere: where people live, work, play and travel. Its primary function is to provide energy efficient, quality light to enhance public safety and enhance the urban landscape. However, according to Mr Joshi, in the future a city’s lighting infrastructure will also offer enormous potential to be part of a city-wide network capable of acquiring data and delivering information and services to and from millions of devices, from garbage bins to autonomous vehicles. In this way it could help enable smart city services to improve the lives of its citizens and city managers alike.

Connected LED streetlights provide highly energy efficient, quality light, but they can also act as sensor nodes on an information highway. In 2030, connected streetlights could stream data between millions of devices. Connected lighting infrastructure will collect and distribute data and improves city services such as light, traffic, air quality, public safety, parking and other location-based services, leveraging state-of-the-art communication technologies. Autonomous vehicles will navigate roads safely, using and communicating with sensors in streetlights that scan the road and pavements, and provide a frame of reference by transmitting situational information to augment the vehicles’ on-board sensors.

Explaining the opportunities, Mr Soonderji said, “The opportunities are very robust owing to a large installed base of traditional lighting. Also, as we approach the 5-year mark, there will be refurbishment projects where the customer will benefit hugely from improved efficiencies.” He adds, “The future of lighting is set to become the backbone on which other services work and potentially customers will pay for the service and get light rather than buying a light fixture as is the traditional way today, and Tridonic is a pioneer in this aspect.”