Strategically Blogging

Highlights of DOE Solid State Lighting R&D Conference

Shonika Vijay 02/09/2015

Recently, we had the DOE R&D conference in San Francisco. As always, it was a great event as the key industry players and decision makers came under one roof. I wanted to share some of my highlights and experiences from the event. Before that, one of the treats for me was looking at the new Bay Bridge from the shores of Treasure Island. Though I am a Bay Area resident, I regret that I hadn’t done this before—I usually just drive through it. The Bay Bridge looked magnificent, as it wore jewels of LED lights. The directionality of the lights was brilliant and it limited light spillage into the bay. So thank you, DOE, for allowing me this experience.

What does LG Chem's "5 lm/$" really mean for lighting?

Stephanie Pruitt 02/05/2015

LG Chem came out this week claiming to have the world’s highest OLED lumen-price ratio at 5 lm/$, but what does this really mean, and how does it compare to traditional and LED lighting?

To really see how this ground breaking development in OLED lighting compares, I have listed below the average selling prices (ASPs) for the general lighting luminaire form factors that Strategies Unlimited believes OLEDs can potentially penetrate: downlights, troffers, and suspended pendants (we do not believe OLEDs will play in track lighting, high bay, or street lighting due to current lumen output, efficacy, and price).

LED COB is Coming

Martin Shih 01/26/2015

We have now released our latest market research report, The World Market for COB LEDs in General Lightingwhich covers the market for LED COBs and Multichip Array COBs. We forecast the overall market for these COBs will grow significantly to $4.35 billion in 2020 from $1.54 billion in 2014. In addition, the report indicates that the market will grow by 40% YoY in 2015. The long term growth is mainly due to the increased penetration of COB luminaires and lamps into some specific lighting applications, such as downlights and spotlights. With better light distribution and design flexibility, we expect a significant growth for COB, especially in directional lighting applications.

Revolution vs. Evolution

Philip Smallwood 01/22/2015

At the 2014 Strategies in Light Europe conference, there was one recurring theme that I thought was very interesting: evolution vs. revolution. I think it is very important for people in the lighting industry to understand that LEDs in themselves are not a revolutionary (disruptive) technology that is changing the industry, but rather a natural evolutionary progression of light emitting materials/methods to create usable light. As presented by Dr. Thomas Knoop, the Managing Director of INTEGRATED, a technology is disruptive in an industry when it attacks the market by offering a different value driver (usually convenience or price) and not when it just fulfills the need of the average customer. The two charts provided below are visualizations of these ideas. 

Lighting Industry: 2014 in Review and What to Expect Next

Shonika Vijay 01/19/2015

As the year 2014 recently ended, I thought now would be a good time to review what the lighting industry has gone through along with what lighting trends we anticipate in the near future. 2014 was an amazing year for LED lighting. Here a few recent key things that LED lighting experienced in 2014:

What a weak dollar means to photonics

By Tom Hausken
The dollar has been declining steadily again (see figure) but how much difference does it make to lasers and photonics? A lot to any salesperson who is competing in an export business. A falling dollar is like a discount in the price given to the buyer. And it can mean a lot to the value that we analysts assign to markets (such as in our new market estimate ). For example, a falling dollar inflates the value in dollars of the production of Japanese blue-violet diode lasers for Blu-Ray players. But it doesn't mean a lot overall, for a lot of reasons. Why is that?


The conventional wisdom is that a falling dollar makes U.S. goods and services cheaper abroad, and foreign goods and services more expensive in the U.S. That is, it makes U.S. goods more competitive, and it deflates U.S. debt owed others as counted in foreign currency.

But many companies don't sell directly to companies abroad. A more complete downstream product may be exported by the customer's customer, but either way, the effect may be minimal--or at least obscure--to the photonics manufacturer.

Second, companies commonly import subcomponents from all over the world. A lower dollar then raises the cost to manufacture, erasing some or all of the advantages when it exports the complete product.

And, a lot of companies manufacture in the destination markets. This can help hedge against changes in currencies, among other things. In the example of Japanese blue-violet diode lasers, it changes the average prices and overall value, in dollars, that we assign to a market. But that can seem rather artificial when most of the Blu-Ray players are assembled in Asia anyway.

More often, the gains and losses from a falling dollar amount mostly to changes in market share: U.S. companies vs. non-U.S. companies, and U.S. importers vs. U.S. exporters.

For an explanation how a falling dollar is unlikely to create many new jobs in the U.S., read this article. It cites the reasons above, and notes that much of U.S. manufacturing is capital intensive, not labor-intensive. And, many manufacturers are small and not likely to ramp up hiring dramatically even if sales do improve.

Just the same, every little bit helps, especially if it means tipping a business from the red to the black or deeper into the black.

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