Adding Intelligence to LED Lighting


Imagine a marathon on a very hot, dusty day when saving every ounce of energy matters to the outcome. This race isn’t half over, but the winner seems certain. The lead looks insurmountable, because this runner can do more with less energy. This runner shines brighter. In the face of heat and competition, this runner stays cool.
So far, so good. Yet, will this competitor set the pace and hold the lead in the second half of the race? In a world of athletes who all train and compete intelligently, talent and potential only go so far. Great—and wasted—potential litters the road to success. Will the current leader dig deep, run a smart race, respond to the elements, and live up to expectations? Time, and intelligence, will tell.
Adding Intelligence to LED LightingNow you ask me, “What does a marathon have to do with LEDs? Do you really know what you’re talking about?” I think so. Like a strong runner leading a marathon, LEDs hold promise in the world’s race to produce more energy-efficient lighting. A major technological advance over both incandescent and fluorescent lighting, LEDs use less energy, last longer, and allow more control of color and direction of light.

LED Intelligence—Essential for Winning the Race

How will LEDs fulfill their tremendous potential? Undoubtedly, the first hurdle is price. LEDs currently cost an order of magnitude more than existing lighting solutions. Saving energy is often not enough to convince price-conscious businesses and consumers to make the more expensive purchase. Manufacturing savings and volume production will likely reduce prices over time, but will costs drop enough and can it come fast enough to win over users? Those trends are uncertain and entirely debatable. Admittedly, they are beyond the scope of this article. Consider also availability, which affects price. Go to any two hardware stores and try to find the same LED lamp. It’s tough. Many retailers do not stock sufficient variety or quantity of LED lamps to pull in the casual consumer. Why? It comes back to price and efficient inventory turns. So where does that leave us, as engineers, innovators, and creative thinkers? How do we enable LED lighting to reach its potential? To win the marathon?

Let’s give LED lights intelligence, make them smart. Let’s give these lights eyes, a voice, and the ability to count. Designing high-value semiconductors into lighting applications will optimize energy efficiency, maximize lamp lifetime, and reduce maintenance costs. Then LEDs will run the rest of the race, hard and strong, and they will win the race by running smart.

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