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05/17/2018

Lighting Trends at Lightfair 2018

 

A few trends were very popular at the Lightfair International 2018 trade show and conference – lighting control systems and sensors, and human centric lighting.

 

As I write this, I’ve recently returned from my first show as BUILDINGS editor. I spent two very full days at Lightfair 2018, getting an in-depth look at the lighting industry, trends and technologies. Nothing compares to getting to see the products and meet the people behind them in person. 

Watch BUILDINGS Media Episode 4: Lightfair 2018

On the expo floor and in the sessions, there was a lot of talk around a few themes – lighting control systems and sensors, and human centric lighting. 

I even overheard that LED isn’t the new thing, people have moved beyond that and are now realizing what else lighting can accomplish. They have gone from a functional to an additive experience. 

Lighting Control Systems and Sensors

By far the most talked-about items were lighting controls and how sensors and apps can help create a smart environment and solutions to be part of the Internet of Things. Almost everyone seems to offer some version, and they are all different, with features ranging from:

  • The way the controls and app talk ­– e.g., Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth or antenna
  • How far or close you need to be to control it (from an occupant’s own cubical if given access to facilities managers working remotely in another location)
  • Types of reporting and analytics they provide (with almost all supporting real-time updates)
  • Level of security

The apps are going beyond telling energy usage and savings to monitor environments. For example, facilities managers and building owners can see who’s in the building and focus on space optimization (e.g. using space correctly, heating the right areas, etc.).

Related: Evolution of Lighting from interiors + sources

One nice thing is that a lot of companies are offering brand-agnostic solutions where the lighting and management system don’t need to be the same brand and are quick and easy to set up. That’s great news if you’re looking to dip your toes into the lighting control platform. To begin, think about what your current and future needs are, what you want to get out of a system and what you currently have capabilities for. 

Human Centric Lighting

Human centric lighting is getting a lot of attention, as it can play a role in health and wellbeing and bringing more natural light indoors.

Hand-picked from interiors + sources: A Crash Course in Lighting Science

While human centric lighting makes sense and has value in office environments, a lot of the focus at Lightfair was on school and hospital applications – including having the right light for the task. It can:

  • Change lighting to how it would be through the day, both in amount and position of sunlight
  • Mimic the lighting that is currently outside (read about this in “The Future of Tunable Lighting”)
  • Create the right light for the situation or work being done

A selling point is that you don’t need different fixtures or lights for different reasons. It allows occupants the flexibility of what a room is used for, or what response you want from occupants.

More Illuminating Coverage

If you weren’t able to attend Lightfair and want to learn what new and great things there are in lighting:

You can also check out the winners of our Money-Saving Products awards. Chosen by the BUILDINGS media editors, 67 products in lighting and other categories were determined to support commercial buildings and create cost savings to facility managers.