The Great Lighting Debate Then and Now by Bill Attardi - Energy Watch News

The Great Lighting Debate Then and Now by Bill Attardi

The blog in May 2019 by Chris Brown started out like this: “Hey Captain Sunshine, it’s me CHICKEN LITTLE! Remember me? Remember our debates about Illumigeddon and Fortuity? Well, it’s time to look back and see how we got where we are today in our truly disrupted Lighting Industry.”

After pining about all the recent lighting industry acquisitions / spin offs / bankruptcies / closings, it ended with: “So, looking back, how did we do looking forward with Illumigeddon and Fortuity? Did we over or underestimate the disruption. Any predictions going forward? Are you ready to admit that it looks like Illumigeddon may have arrived, and will continue? And if the answer is yes, how do folks prepare for it, both professionally and personally? Over to you!”

Okay but first let’s review what we debated back in April 2016…………….yes, it was way back then:

  • ILLUMIGEDDON argues that we are approaching the end of the traditional lighting industry and suggests that many, if not most electrical distributors and lighting manufacturers are NOT READY for the solid state lighting revolution…..I agree
  • FORTUITY is all about being in the right place at the right time, recognizing it as a potential opportunity and taking advantage of it for substantial growth…..I agree
  • NEW WORD from Chicken Little: ILLUMITUNITY…..self-explanatory and I agree

The debate between Chris and me was all about the question: FOR WHOM? Lighting is not just about illumination anymore, just like the phone is not just about a phone anymore, or a watch is only about telling time, or a computer, or a TV or a car or a camera or a on and on……

Lighting is getting smarter too. Smart Lighting will not only allow consumers to manipulate the timing, intensity, and quality of light but will internally interact and track and react and adapt to the users’ living and working patterns.  Manufacturers will continue to focus on what they do best: to innovate and make the most advanced high-tech products possible and to research the market to keep the progress going forward.  The established distribution channels are still in the best position to continue to serve the mainstream markets for the new high-tech lighting products and to satisfy the enormous growing need for the service demand that is always present when it comes to electronics.  Yes, we are now in the electronic lighting business and it is just too important a product category to abandon. That’s what we believed then and that has been substantiated now.

However, we still need to look forward. Change is happening too fast for us ole lighting war-horses. The future of lighting is for the new innovative players that are built for speed, not comfort. We are moving into the Intelligent Lighting industry…..IT CAN THINK! Lighting has the potential to be the core connector to every device we own. As we keep saying, it’s just not about light anymore. It’s about IoT / IoE / PoE / VLC / Li-Fi / VoIP / SAE / LaaS / 5G and much much more…….and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What’s under the surface of the water is mind boggling. The real game changer is Big Lighting vs. Big Networking. Or will it be cooperative innovation again? Time will tell but it is clear, we are on a pathway to connected information using light! WOW! IT companies see a real opportunity here to reshape the lighting industry and they want a piece. Maybe even dominate…don’t look back, they may be gaining on you.

Even with all the changes in the industry, ILLUMITUNITY FOR YOU is still possible. That’s the end of the debate: the influx of high-tech companies are evolving to a 21st century business model. A business model that absolutely demands innovation if you want to participate in the Smart / Intelligent Lighting Industry. And this applies to everyone in the food chain…..specifiers, manufacturers, reps, distributors, contractors…………and the end users.

Yes END USERS………….your customers. Pay attention to your CUSTOMERS. Simply put, your customers will want Intelligent Lighting when they understand the benefits and there will be many. Intelligent Lighting is about the ability to easily interface with other systems to deliver additional value; it is key to our success in an overall vibrant digital ecosystem. Connected lighting systems can interface with many other building verticals, all leading to things like intelligent productive workspaces, innovative applications and services, digital marketing platforms, human centric lighting, healthcare – circadian rhythm cycles, plug-and-play interactions, integrated security (installed cameras for facial recognition), home and office automation, intelligent networks – secure / reliable, and much much more.

Pay attention: lighting will be the core connector to every device we own!

Yes Chris, we are in a shakeout mode. Industry transitions are messy and the incumbents are having a tough time adapting. We will see more purging but that’s a good thing. We want to do business with the winners, not just the okay businesses. (see Chris’s blog:

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