Tired old geezers taking week off to treat their colds and flu. Ahhh, the winter joys of living in NY/NJ!

Meanwhile, we thought it would be interesting to publish some of the comments we received on the EnergyWatchNews site, which you may have missed. We will also soon be publishing some of the many comments which came directly to us, not posted on the site. As always, your comments are welcomed, join the Great Debate. Take sides….Captain Sunshine or Chicken Little…..ILLUMIGEDDON or Golden Opportunity? Or both?

Here are excerpts of your comments…….click on comments section to read more: THE FORECAST CALLS FOR PAIN
How and why SSL, the Internet and Amazon Supply could change everything for Lighting Distribution: Five years ago, we were in the light bulb business. Today we’re in the semiconductor business……… Five years ago seems like ancient history! Today, I’m thinking about 5 years from now. I’m not a weather forecaster, but I can feel a storm coming. What will Lighting Distribution look like 2, 3 and 5 years from now? How will Wholesale Distribution itself be different? What does Lighting Distribution have to do to stay relevant……

1. Ross Reida says: Not to mention the advent of commercial lighting leasing programs and LAAS contracts (lighting as a service) entering the space…
2. James Imawake says: The stuck antiquated cog in the machine needs an overhaul.
3. Guy Blissett says: While many are overwhelmed by the number and complexity of the change… I do see innovative distributors harnessing the forces for their advantage…… A growing number are also taking a hard look at their organization structures, supply chains, and capabilities to rethink the business (do I really need all those branches? how can I enable my sales force to do more consultative selling?……
4. George Stroumboulis says: Solid article and great insight. I wonder if distribution will embrace, reject or hide from what is coming.
5. Chatlit says: Business attitude needs change. Distributors with Tech orientation will survive.Especially if they look at Emerging Markets and volumes promise they hold. COMING SOON….ILLUMIGEDDON (OR THE END OF LIGHTING AS WE’VE KNOWN IT)! Not today, not tomorrow, not next year, but Illumigeddon is coming. SSL is changing everything….. exciting changes for many, disastrous for some. Great opportunities for Electrical and Lighting Distributors but only those who can adapt to a new reality…..this ain’t your grandpa’s lighting business! Since my original brief ‘Forecast Calls for Pain’, Philips, Samsung and Siemens announced that they are leaving the lighting business. What do they know that we don’t? And what are Apple, Google, Cisco and Intel thinking about, coming into our business? And is Opple (not Apple!) coming to the U.S.? And let’s not forget Amazon Supply and its impact on physical distribution of lighting and electrical products………

1. Dirk Beveridge says: Your peering into the future as every distributor must do. Your thinking reminds me of a key statistic that came out of our research to write our NAW book INNOVATE! How Successful Distributors Lead Change In Disruptive Times. What we found is that 85% of leaders in distribution we surveyed believe they must reinvent their business before someone else does……..
2. Len Costello says: I can tell you that a few of the major manufacturers have already developed models that could potentially eliminate the services the Distributor provides. One of ” the bigs” has a long term plan that will provide the services, including long term lease and finance options directly to end users. There will need to be smart compromise within the industry to make this a reality and that’s where conversation need to be had.
3. Steve Byrne says: Lighting is changing as “we’ve” known it and it will be the end of many technologies. The good news is I don’t think Light is going anywhere. I heard a thing earlier this year that said that as light becomes more efficient, the demand for it only grows. Kind of makes your head spin with the possibilities. Not sure there has ever been a time when lighting had more advance publicity than now.
4. Jim Pinto says: With the inexorable shift to LED lighting (theoretical “infinite” life) the replacement business simply disappears. What’s left is “rentals” (for occasional lighting) and “service” for everything else. For the agile (thinkers and doers) this represents enormous potential. The possibilities are there for the forward thinkers, and leadership in big markets represent the prize for the first-movers.
5. Greg Ehrich LC Premier Lighting, President of NAILD.says: I think overall there is now more of an opportunity than ever to grow your lighting business……… Understanding LED technology is important, but you also need to understand traditional lighting to truly be able to sell light…….. The companies that take the time to understand the available options and how they work as well as their customer’s current lighting system will be the ones that succeed…….
6. Chick Huber says: As to Distributors and Reps, the key will be to evolve as a business. And the evolution of lighting will not be so much how the industry evolves, but being able to be nimble, open to change and flexible. Smaller light sources, unbelievable optics, color changing, probably light wave lengths that reduce bacteria/viruses and maybe even treat medical illnesses just by being in a normal space– these will all be “things” that we will sell……..
7. Jeff Miller says: Real progress will be seen when the so-called ‘LED Industry’ begins to seriously engage with the needs of the people who use their widgets. Talking about subjects such as the ‘Internet of Things’, the Lighting Controls revolution, and SSL as a communications protocol is the stuff of dreamers and schemers looking for another killer app. The real winners will be those who actually succeed in improving the lives of others, not just selling another gadget. WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE? You have to be asking yourself if you truly understand all that is going on in our disrupted business. I don’t understand….yet. I do know that CTD (Connecting the Dots) doesn’t tell me what it all means, what is happening, what is going to happen, only that it means something, that something is happening, and some things are going to happen, and I need to be ready for whatever happens. So I need help……
One way to do that is a SWOT Analysis……of the traditional lighting industry…….help me and Captain Sunshine navigate through the dots and find the connections, which should help us all to understand the disruption we are going to have to deal with. I want to focus on the meaning of Illumigeddon,
1. Mark Rea says: ……there needs to be more about what we might actually do as a lighting community in response to the changing landscape. One option, suggested by your blog, is to give up. Others argue that lighting will always be important, and I agree with that position even if the traditional stewards of lighting have changed. For what it’s worth, I believe we have to work toward 21st century benefit and value metrics if we are going to shape our own future………
2. Brad Salamone says: How about for those of us in the older generation “The complexity of understanding all of the issues” Maybe you could say lead, follow or get of of the way!
3. Pat Treadway says: Your list is pretty comprehensive, one I don’t see, and I perceive to be a possible disruptor is the issue of power transmission loss. More energy is lost in getting from the generation facility to the end user, than the lighting losses themselves……….
4. Sarah Morgan says: As a startup business in the lighting sector, I am interested in understanding what comes after LEDs. Nano-technology offers new ways of incorporating light into materials and surfaces that were previously impossible. I’m excited to see nano-technology start where LEDs stop, as a result emancipating lighting from traditional methods of power sources.
5. Dirk Beveridge says: Other threats that come to mind: Legacy Thinking – This is the way we’ve done it. The way I’ve built the business it’s surely the way forward. Infrastructures Build For Yesterday – The investments made in building the business to where it is today – will be a hindrance moving forward…..
6. Pat Sapinsley says: …….we face difficulties as we try to scale up LED technology……….We have a black eye created by CFLs; we are up against enormous inertia and resistance by incumbent players; we need codes that virtually force LEDs into new buildings; as the commoditization of the technology races to the bottom, we need to find new ways to monetize the delivery of quality lighting…….. We will need to keep watching and experimenting with new business models……
7. Naomi Miller says: One additional concern is how we control all these LED and other future lighting products. I’m concerned about the technology divide. Those that are able to handle the set up and programming of lighting controls will be fine, but what about those whose brains don’t work like that………
8. Nik Nicolakis says: …..How many companies have an evaluation team with the expertise to vet out the manufacturers they represent as technology changes to be sure they are consistently on a winning team? LEDs are not gas and glass. Most incumbent lighting manufacturers did not (may still not) posses the expertise or staff to be in the electronics and advanced optics industry. What do you do when one of your major revenue sources for which your staff is specifically trained decides to “leave the lighting industry”…….

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  1. rob quintal says:

    Bill, it seems to me that we are experiencing a new era where “create-demand” is no longer by the seller but by the customer. As we see new suppliers literally tripping over themselves to get to the customer, the resultant channel disruption that we predicted is causing established manufacturers and distributors to “wonder what happened”. The true innovators quickly reacted and “made things happen”. I am proud to be in the latter group with folks like you, Chris, Naomi to name a few.

    Keep up the terrific dialogue!

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