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:

Archive for 'March 2012'

    Big money for photonics in data centers

    March 16, 2012 1:44 PM by Tom Hausken
    The best news that photonics people could hear came last week at OFC when Cisco announced that it was buying Lightwire for $271million in cash. Lightwire is a start-up making integrated photonics , and Cisco is interested in it for making interconnects in data centers, among other things. I try not to get intoxicated with financial ups and downs that ultimately benefit only a few investors (if that),and I'm not fond of buzzwords like "integrated photonics," but this is good news for anyone with a similar technology.


    It makes sense that Cisco needs the expertise developed in Lightwire. Companies have spent millions on this; for Cisco to do it itself would take millions more and years of delays. Meanwhile, its competitors--Huawei for one--are encroaching on Cisco's market with technology of its own. Cisco can't rely on the merchant market for everything.


    The data center bottleneck is particularly important. I attended four discussions on the topic, including the OIDA workshop to develop a roadmap (where I was a moderator and am writing the report). The challenge is for the industry to develop new architectures and inexpensive components that can address the many-to-many interconnects necessary in modern data centers, such as those of Google and Facebook. Traditional data centers are not a challenge: a conventional switching hierarchy can store and retrieve data, and that scales predictably. The new data centers don't scale as well.


    Both Google and Facebook made the rounds at OFC, and both claim that the technology is available today, it just has to be commercialized. They say there needs to be a whole new sector of components that don't need to meet Telcordia and NEBS standards. It just has to be good enough for the controlled data center environment. Oh, and make it really really cheap, thank you.


    The one problem I have will all of this is that the net margins for Google and Facebook are about 25% or so. That's net profit, not gross. The optical components suppliers' net margins are a few percent to negative. So how about giving some of that nice margin back to the components suppliers? Especially as many suppliers don't see the return on this new segment justifying the risk.


    That's why Cisco's acquisition is such good news. It's a return for the start-up's investors, but it also means that Cisco is willing to fork over some real money for components.


    The OIDA roadmap report on data center interconnects will be coming out sometime in the coming weeks. Look for it at the OIDA web site or here .

    Good news and not-so-good news in LEDs

    March 2, 2012 7:13 PM by Tom Hausken
    There was good news and some not-so-good news at our 13th SIL event in February. First the good news: it was another record year for LEDs, and for that matter, for the Strategies in Light event. As my colleague, Ella Shum, reported: sales totaled $12.5 billion in 2011, thanks to growth in all major segments except backlights.

    The not-so-good news is that growth will continue through 2012 but the market will be tepid for a few years beyond that, ending in 2016 in about the same place, the way things are going. This is because LED suppliers are so successful in reducing the selling price while improving the performance. Growth in sales is countered by reduction in the LED count (per product) and falling prices, making a double whammy. This is good for increasing penetration of LEDs into lighting and other applications, but it’s hard on suppliers’ profits. In fact, it was a bloodbath, in Ella's words, due to overcapacity.

    Looking at this another way, the LED business is maturing. It still has a long way to go with lighting, of course, and even backlights. But the business is now of such a size that it is starting to behave like DRAMs, to use a cliché. Penetration into new applications is not enough to guarantee LED industry growth through the coming lull. From now on, LED sales will be highly dependent on the fortunes of the end-product markets for backlights, just as DRAM sales are highly dependent on personal computer sales.

    To improve margins and market share, LED suppliers will have to stay ahead in scale and performance. LED lighting, in particular, will require larger volumes and high performance devices. Suppliers that can manufacture well in volume (improving yield and tightening binning, for example) will fare well. The suppliers that cannot may be relegated to older segments that don’t require the performance that lighting does. Or they may simply get squeezed out of the market.

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