Tith apologies to astronaut Neil Armstrong for twisting his famous quote, there were many small steps (by individual companies) in innovation that led to the noticeable giant leap for (lighting) mankind at Lightfair last month.
Not only was there cutting-edge technology on display in every aisle, but this year marked the international show’s largest show floor to date. One thing that’s different about the current LED revolution versus the tsunami of CFL products that flooded Lightfair in the 1990s is the fact that companies took the time needed to present items with a consistent quality level. In the initial years of the CFL bandwagon, there was a mad rush to release products onto the market even though there was still a lot of trouble-shooting left to do (i.e. dimming, color shift). The same thing happened with fiber optics (does anyone else remember when Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield appeared at Lightfair to launch a fiber optic lighting company?) The end result for both technologies was a collective breakdown in consumer trust that still lingers today.
When LEDs started appearing on the market for light commercial and residential use, it was with caution. Yes, there were companies offering LEDs with spotty quality — but certainly not at the same level as we experienced with CFL. And while manufacturers have been perfecting the technologies they were employing in their LED products, they didn’t rush them to market. Although that approach meant there were fewer earth-shattering product claims out there grabbing headlines, it has led to a Lightfair such as this one, where a great number of incredible product breakthroughs occurred at a time when most distributors, electricians, and architects are up to speed on the technology and ready to embrace what’s next.
The mistakes that happened in bringing CFL to market are not being made with LED.
I think there has been a much greater educational effort made to keep all parties that make up our industry in the loop — including the consumers.
Lightfair 2015 proved that this is an exciting time to be in this industry. A lot of time and money went into companies’ R&D and the wait has been worth it. Our commitment to you, our readers, is to keep you up to date on information that will help you sell this technology to a greater audience. As you will see in upcoming issues, there are amazing days ahead.