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Lighting as a Service


This new interesting idea has been floating around recently, the idea of having lighting as a service business model. The gist of the idea is that manufacturers will install, maintain, and operate customer’s lighting systems with no upfront cost to the customer. The lighting system will pay for itself through energy cost savings. This model is very similar to...

Quality vs. Price


In 2013, several A-lamps were introduced that not only looked and behaved like incandescent lamps, but also were close to or below the magical $10 price point. It is clear that prices and therefore margins will continue to fall for these lamps. This creates a little bit of a quandary for...

Are LEDs the Same as Smart Phones?


The DOE recently released their study on Early Lessons Learned on the Way to Market. The study outlines some of the outcomes of LEDs in their earlier days as well as key lessons that have been learned in the early SSL market introduction. The study also strives to understand the key elements needed to pursue Solid State Lighting as the new promising technology. The study, which outlined 12 key lessons by the DOE, can be found on the DOE website.

Mid-power LED Packages are Getting Brighter, Providing the Output of High-Power LED Packages


Is it time to change definitions?

One of the questions that came up during our conference, Strategies in Light, last week was the question of definitions and categories for LEDs.  As the industry continues to evolve and companies are diversifying and improving their existing line of products almost daily, comparing similar products from different manufacturers is becoming confusing. The category that stirs the most discussions is the category of mid-power LEDs.

LED Fluorescent Replacement Lamps


As many of you know, last week the Strategies Unlimited team was at Strategies in Light to present data and help out with the proceedings...

Big money for photonics in data centers

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 .

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Strategically Blogging

Lighting as a Service

04/15/2014 This new interesting idea has been floating around recently, the idea of having lighting as a service business model. The gist of the idea is that manuf...

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