Lightfair International is one of the best indicators in the lighting market of the pace of product innovation, and you didn't have to take more than 10 steps onto the show floor in Philadelphia last month to see that manufacturers are spending big money to bolster their offerings of LEDs.
LEDs once again dominated the show. Over the past decade at Lightfair, LED lamps have quickly spread from accent lighting and special-effect lighting to screw-in replacements for lower wattage incandescents. At this year's show, more manufacturers than ever before were showcasing LEDs in parking lot and street lighting and the use of wireless technology to control LED lighting systems.
LEDs have become a popular option to light streets and parking lots and walkways because their long life can cut down on the high cost of lamp replacement in these applications. EYE Lighting International, Mentor, Ohio, was among many manufacturers launching new outdoor lighting fixtures at the show. Rob Freitag, the company's V.P. of marketing, said Lightfair was EYE Lighting's “coming out party” for kíaroLED, its new line of outdoor LED fixtures.
Several manufacturers were marketing new wireless control packages for LED lighting systems. Lighting Science Group, Satellite Beach, Fla., demonstrated how homeowners could control LED lights with Android applications on tablet computers and said they were the first lighting company to develop a lighting app for Google Inc.'s recently announced Android@Home application.
Another quick indicator of the growth of LED lighting is Lightfair's annual Product Innovation Awards, and LEDs once again dominated the competition. While the category for conventional lamps, which includes incandescent, fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) technology, only attracted a handful of entrants, the specialty lamp category, which includes LEDs, OLEDs and induction lighting, had several dozen entrants. There were dozens of other LED lighting fixtures and LED lighting controls among the competition's 239 entrants. The top winners were:
Most Innovative Product of the Year. Revel by Acuity Brands (see photo);
Design Excellence Award. Low-Voltage LED Wall Wash/Flood by Tech Lighting-Generation Brands;
Technical Innovation Award. LUXEON A by Philips Lumileds;
Citation Award (Special recognition of an innovative product at the judges' discretion): IES Lighting Handbook, 10th Edition, by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.
Lightfair International blew away any concerns about a drop in attendees or exhibitors with its move to Philadelphia with a gigantic showing in the City of Brotherly Love that included almost 500 exhibitors and 200,000 net square feet of booth space (a record). While show organizers wouldn't release attendance figures at the event, they did say they were expecting 22,000 attendees.
The show was moved to Philadelphia from its recent every-other-year rotation to New York because of renovation work at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Other than the scarcity of hotel rooms near the Philadelphia Convention Center, attendees were pleased with the change. Many exhibitors showed their support for the show and the new location by significantly increasing the size of their booths from previous Lightfairs.
Philips Lighting's booth dwarfed all others at the show with a massive configuration of individual product vignettes that seemed as big as a Philadelphia city block. Bulbrite Inc., Moonachie, N.J., also had a much bigger booth. Catherine Choi, Bulbrite's president, said the company went big at this year's Lightfair to celebrate its 40th anniversary and the launch of Lightopedia.com, its new online training system.
In two other notable launches at Lightfair, Osram Sylvania, Danvers, Mass., showcased its move to offer total lighting solutions with a new line of lighting fixtures; and Leviton Manufacturing Inc., Melville, N.Y., displayed several new submetering packages.
Next year's Lightfair International will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas on May 9-11, 2012.