Strategically Blogging

GE Plans to Stop CFL Business

02/01/2016

Since the bans on inefficient light bulbs have been happening around the globe (including in the US starting in 2012), it has made sense that lighting manufacturers have been slowing down on the production of incandescent and halogen bulbs – the least efficient types of bulbs. CFLs were the replacement bulb of choice across many markets, with LEDs making a slow start due to much higher prices. Now, however, we’re beginning to see the shift away from CFLs as well. 

The 2016 Smart Lighting Market

Shonika Vijay 01/27/2016

The hype of the connected lighting or smart lighting or networked lighting or even IoT of lighting has spread throughout the lighting industry as well as the network and technology companies. Nontraditional lighting companies such as SAP, Google, Cisco, Apple, and Microsoft are targeting the lighting landscape through network infrastructure familiar to them and are also partnering with existing lighting players such as Acuity, Philips, Osram and etc. who are familiar with the end-users and regulatory demands of the market.

In the Year of Light, Lasers Started To Really Shine

Allen Nogee 01/19/2016

As everyone is aware, Strategies Unlimited is the leader in both laser research and LED lighting research, and rarely do the applications of these two widely different light “sources” usually overlap. Lasers can be used for illumination tasks such as semiconductor inspection where a laser illuminates a semiconductor wafer when one looks for defects, but when it comes to general illumination of white light used by us humans for vision, this task almost has always been the domain of LEDs, or at least it has until very recently.

Laser Outlook For 2016

Allen Nogee 12/16/2015

There is some fair debate going on now as to whether our worldwide economy is on an upswing or a downswing. But does this really matter to the laser market?  

When Economic Justification of Connected Lighting Becomes Difficult

Shonika Vijay 12/08/2015

Making decisions to change the lighting system of a business are currently conducted by evaluating the listed economic metrics and then deciding if the business will reap tangible benefits for implementing the changes... While connected lighting has been proven to add tangible benefits such as reduced energy consumption there are other nontangible benefits that may be onerous to prove through current economic parameters. 

The solar market and the 2nd-Derivative Paradox

By Tom Hausken
How could equipment sales in an exponentially-growing market be anything but upward? It happens all the time. Welcome to the 2nd-Derivative Paradox. That's my name for the trap that one can fall into when it comes to capital equipment markets. Solar is a great example. It's hard to explain the paradox, though, so bear with me.

Start with installed capacity. If you are a power generator, you think in terms of the cumulative installed generating capacity in the world. This is what the users actually use. The figure shows three scenarios how that might play out, and they all look pretty much the same in this chart. Nice, steep slopes. Note how they all start at the same point and end up at the same point.



Then look at panel shipments. But the solar panel industry isn't interested in what's already out there. It needs to ship new panels every year. The shipments amount to a 1st derivative: the new capacity that's added to the infrastructure every year. Now the differences in the scenarios show through, as shown in the second figure. But the scenarios all show steep upward growth. What's to worry about?


Now look at panel manufacturing equipment. The solar manufacturing equipment industry, and that includes lasers--isn't even interested in solar shipments, but the need for more manufacturing capacity to make the panels. You only need more equipment when you are shipping more panels than before. That amounts to a 2nd derivative of the cumulative generating capacity, and can give wildly different results. New equipment is shipped in all three scenarios, but in the "sustaining" scenario the equipment shipments are flat year after year, while in the "slowing" scenario they start out strong, but then decline. Ouch.

Other traps. Of course we would all like to live in the "growing" scenario. The trouble is, strong positive exponential growth doesn't last indefinitely, no matter what they say. And that's not even considering some ups and downs along the way, like this year. A slight shift in the solar panel shipments wreaks total havoc for equipment shipments.



Other things that juice equipment sales. The same trap exists in other industries, too. But there are other details to consider. First, there is usually some churn in suppliers. Machines also get obsolete. And there is also the early obsolescence forced by things like Moore's Law. These all have to be considered.

Watch that 2nd derivative. Don't get me wrong. I love solar. I had a summer job at TI testing solar cells back in the Jimmy Carter era. We all believe it's going to be a great thing in coming decades. But it's not enough that the cumulative generating capacity will be on a steep upward slope for years to come, because when it comes to manufacturing equipment, it's the 2nd derivative that counts.

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