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Patience a Virtue in Lighting Quality Discussions, Sales

Patience a Virtue in Lighting Quality Discussions, Sales

With overseas competition, major LED manufacturers are increasing their focus on higher-margin products. These range from Internet of Things (IoT) interfaces to health informatics. One other area where they see possibilities is in light quality of luminaires, especially as it relates to the improvement of working conditions. But many say that it’s not quite ready for primetime.

Steven Spitzer, president of Monterey Lighting Solutions, says that his clients are interested and that he is keeping them abreast of the topic. “I have found end users to be curious and interested [in improving light quality for working conditions], but the project managers, construction managers, engineers, etc. that are running the projects seem to see it as slowing down the project and tend to steer clients away from seriously pursuing [these luminaires].”

That’s not to say that there isn’t promise, of course. There is a growing body of research and studies indicating that blue shifts and higher correlated color temperature (CCT) help increase alertness and productivity. Conversely, a red shift or lower color temperature may help reinforce the body’s circadian rhythms and aid nighttime relaxation.

Research noted by NanoLumens CTO Gary Feather argues for a color rendition index above 90 and an even higher R9 value for luminaires. “There are spatial and temporal impacts, which is why every lighting company is researching them,” he says.

Strict numbers are still not available in terms of the effects on the body with data at a large enough scale that it can be pitched to construction project managers, as Spitzer also notes. At this stage, CCT-adjustable lamps are already popular consumer products, but Feather suggests that they “are so neat, but a budget.” For now, “buy what you need,” he sums up.

Of course, it’s another case of wait and see. Chris Brown, formerly of Wiedenbach + Brown, agrees with Feather that research is growing day by day and that there is definitely an increase in data supporting the continued need for human-centric quality lighting options.

And as the NBCUniversal launch of its newest LightBlade products, the focus on adjustable CCT will become a key component of a number of manufacturers’ offerings. As Brown says, “I think what they knew was that their traditional lighting business was going away.”

With that being said, cost is still going to be a key driver, according to Gary Feather.

But it’s going to take time for that to filter down, as Spitzer sums up: “However, they typically have so much on their plate, that while [human-centric lighting] may generate a conversation or two, it is not an important issue for most. I have only seen a small fraction actually take it seriously.”

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John Curran

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