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Lighting Industry & Need of Continuous Education

The Industry Trend

The introduction of LEDs and advancements in solid-state lighting (SSL) over the past 15 years, the LED technology has essentially replaced nearly every “conventional” light source for the vast majority of applications on the ground – most energy efficient Light Source. Everything is LEDs. Yes, it is energy-efficient source. LED has won!

However, lighting is deep into a transition toward technologyand electronics-based industry. It has now led to the re-examination of fundamental technological issues – colour, flicker, dimming, brightness, glare, optics, controls and also lighting quality metrics and new performance criteria.

While the pace of change in the source technology is startingto plateau up to some extent, the applications are really starting to expand. Non-traditional applications will include lighting for horticultural. Further there is an explosion of interest in theso-called ‘nonvisual’ aspects of lighting, precipitated in large part by the discovery of the ipRGC photoreceptors at the turn of the century, leading to lighting for potential health benefits or effects, circadian and beyond. It should begin to see increased implementation of human-centric lighting.

Other technologies are at the edge of breaking through and should begin to see increased implementation – Internet of Things (IoT). Lighting is not just lighting anymore. Dubbed ‘beyond lighting’ capabilities lighting as a platform is emerging as a model for deploying additional services. Li-Fi is another segment that is prepared for advancement.

Now networked lighting controls (NLC) – a technology advancing at a lightning speed where energy savings are only part of the NLC equation – and a probably a less important one for today’s companies. IN USA the “3-30-300 rule” holds that businesses now spend just $3 per square foot on energy, versus $30 on real estate costs and $300 on employee salaries and benefits. With that in mind, it is easy to understand why companies may be less interested in a technology’s energy savings potential than in its capacity to make employees happier and more productive. Giving office, medical, and academic buildings a “brain” that can yield those results – and networked lighting provides a gateway to that building intelligence.

Outdoor road lighting is one of the largest, most energy intensive elements of city infrastructure, and is rapidly converting to LED technology. Streetlights are an ideal location to deploy connected technology solutions, to make the vision of the smart city a reality. Adding wireless controls to LED conversion projects saves money, improves service levels and provides sophisticated lighting adaptation and automation. Connected street lighting serves as the gateway to a range of smart city applications, from traffic analytics to air quality.

Complex LED Lighting Business

The LED lighting business is complex as compared to past traditional light source technology where it was possible for any least educated person to fabricate and assemble luminaires. However, with LEDs not being standalone light source, call for knowledge or with skill sets in thermal, optical and mechanical design, and electronics or electrical engineering, software etc. Similarly, in sales or marketing of LED luminaires, sales people with no additional skills as needed today seem to be non-performing assets.

Lighting industry will need to have more experts in these fields if these innovative technologies are to materialise on a widespread scale and take root. The industry’s major leaps forward are rooted in scientific discovery. The manufacturers will start to incorporate more individuals from the IT sectors and various fields of science. Similarly, for marketing skilled people will be needed in lighting controls from automation to building integration, and in health and wellness from enhanced medical environments to circadian lighting developments.

Need of the Hour

To be a true asset in today’s ever-changing environment, individuals who are equipped with a multi-tiered skill set is the need of the hour. As there is a movement toward improving the built environment by making spaces more productive, and lighting can play a key role in this evolution, skills in understanding some of the new lighting application requirements will be the need of the hour.

Smart cities and building owners looking to better leverage their energy assets, there will be need for tech-savvy individuals, with high level of broad technical expertise specifically controls professionals, and data management. One will have to be creative problem-solvers who can be flexible to adapt to the continually changing needs and developments in lighting industry.

However, control people being non-lighting professionals need training in lighting field is the need of the hour. Similarly lighting people need to understand and upgrade their other skills say in control.

How to Develop the Additional Skills

A company’s environment, culture and benefits are things that can really attract the most talented lighting people. Work environment should be such that they are respected, appreciated for the work and have the opportunity for growth. But to attract and hire new employees and keep the talented people there need to have the strategy. One of them is to identify the development of skill in lighting, control and associated fields.

Conclusion

Being first qualified Lighting Person in India from UK way back in 1973, having spent more than 45 years in practically all areas of lighting field like manufacturing, product development, quality control, lighting design, supporting sales staff for order conversion except direct sales and most important – training and developing skills in lighting of staff at all levels, and also under the banner of International Lighting Academy since last 25 years, the author claims that as there is no formal education available in lighting field. Lighting companies will have to provide such knowledge for their new and existing staff through continuous educational training courses in field of LED light and lighting including control and human well-being. This responsibility lies with HR Department and CEO of lighting division of large organisation and owner of mid-level and small-scale lighting division.

Many from lighting industry and now new entrants in LEDs business in India have misconception that such training is expensive. But the author says that spending – in fact investing, just 1 per cent of their turnover or one person’s one month salary for skill development can improve their business in future!



Author
Anil Valia
• Lighting Designer, Educator &
Consultant
• Author of Designing With Light
– A Lighting Handbook
• Lighting Systems Consultant