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2014-04-16
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Editorial: Having Some Fun: Smart Lighting is going to be messy
 
... Don't let the headline worry you... 'smart' lighting is going to be great, and it will work well, but it is most assuredly going to be a somewhat messy process to go from today's versions of controllable lighting, to tomorrow's actual smart lighting. In terms of impact players, Philips...
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Commentary...
Having Some Fun: Smart Lighting is going to be messy

 
... Don't let the headline worry you... 'smart' lighting is going to be great, and it will work well, but it is most assuredly going to be a somewhat messy process to go from today's versions of controllable lighting, to tomorrow's actual smart lighting. In terms of impact players, Philips...

View the full story at the bottom of the current news page, or if this is a back issue, go here...

Philips Lumileds Launches CoB 1202 Arrays Targeted Towards Spotlights and PAR38 Replacement Lamps

April 15, 2014...Philips Lumileds has debuted its chip-on-board (CoB) arrays for PAR38 equivalent lamps, the Luxeon CoB 1202. According to the company, the array is ideal for spotlights, delivers 115 lm/W, which it claims gives it a 10% or greater efficacy edge over most competing solutions. The 115 lm/W is the nominal rating, with specific performance ranging from 95-130 lm/W depending on the array's color temperature and CRI.

“The high efficacy, combined with our lineup of compatible reflectors and drivers, enables the most affordable PAR38 and spotlight designs to date,” said Eric Senders, Product Line Director, Philips Lumileds.

The 9mm Light-Emitting Surface (LES)device is mechanically and optically compatible with the company's 1203 devices, and can tap into the same component ecosystem. The 1202's available CCTs rangs from 2700 to 5700K and CRIs of 70, 80 or >90. The typical output for a 3000K warm white, 80 CRI version is 800 lm when driven at 200mA. The warm white arrays allow drive current up to 400mA and can achieve a flux of 1500 lumens. The high CRI (>90) versions provide an R9 of >80 for higher color rendering applications such as retail downlights and spotlights.

Nichia Files New Patent Lawsuit Against Everlight Electronics and Distributor Tachibana Electech
LIGHTimes Staff

April 15, 2014...On April 10, 2014, Nichia Corporation filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Tokyo District Court seeking to enjoin Tachibana Eletech Co., Ltd., and E&E Japan Co., Ltd., from infringing Nichia’s patent (No. 3786114 and No. 3972943) and to seek damages for the infringing LED products. Nichia alleges that product number 1254 series purchased from Tachibana infringes the patents. Everlight Electronics Co. Ltd. is a Taiwanese manufacturer of LEDs and light engines. Tachibana and E&E reportedly import and sell the allegedly infringing products.

On April 8, Tachibana had announced the filing of a lawsuit against Nichia alleging that Nichia made false and slanderous claims about Tachibana and that these allegedly slanderous claims constituted unfair competition. Nichia asserts that the Tokyo District Court dismissed similar claims from an Everlight lawsuit against Nichia in 2011, which alleged at the time that Nichia's posting of Everlight's press release was an act of unfair competition. Nichia also notes that in the decision the Tokyo District Court ruled that Nichia’s bringing of the suit against Everlight “was done based on a reasonable basis”, and that Nichia's posting of the Everlight press release did not constitute an act of unfair competition or tort.

Osram Selects Altatech’s Inspection and Metrology System
LIGHTimes Staff

April 15, 2014...Altatech, a subsidiary of Soitec, of Montbonnot, France, reported that Osram Opto Semiconductors ordered its Orion LedMax wafer inspection and metrology system. Altatech says that Osram will use the tool to improve the yield, performance, and cost efficiency of its LED-processing. The Orion LedMax inspection system is for both R&D and volume manufacturing applications. Osram will use the system to perform production control and new product qualification of its epitaxial wafers used in fabricating LEDs

The Orion system can inspect wafers from four inches to eight inches in diameter and combines the capabilities of 2D inspection, defect height measurement and dark-field inspection in one platform. According to Altatech, this solution outperforms more expensive systems by generating more information than only diffracted light signature. The system reportedly identifies potentially critical defects amid noisy backgrounds and delivers superior matching performance, while reducing system maintenance costs. Orion can perform incoming wafer qualification, process development, and line monitoring. Proprietary Orion modules can detect, count and classify defects on patterned and unpatterned wafers for front side and back side surface inspection, edge inspection, bump and through-silicon-via (TSV) metrology.

“After a very extensive evaluation of available options, Osram’s selection of our Orion system confirms both the performance and the cost efficiency of our solution,” said Jean-Luc Delcarri, general manager of Soitec’s Altatech subsidiary. “The integrated functions of our holistic inspection systems are unique and unmatched in any other suppliers’ production tools.”

Yole Development Predicts New Wave of MOCVD Equipment Purchases with Big-Three Dominance Continuing
LIGHTimes News Staff

April 10, 2014...Yole Development forecasts a new wave of investment in MOCVD equipment for LED fabrication in 2014 through 2016. The market for LEDs for general lighting will drive this wave of investment, according to Yole. Unlike the overly optimistic run of MOCVD investment in the business in 2010 to 2011, based upon expectations of the LCD display market, improvement in equipment throughput and yields as well as increased competition and industry consolidation will limit the impact of the latest investment cycle.

Three companies will continue to monopolize the market. Aixtron, Veeco, and Tayo Nippon Sanso had about 97 percent market share among them in 2013. Yole predicts that the equipment market will peak at about $580 million in 2015 with MOCVD reactors representing more than 80 percent of the total. Yole indicated that Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers are purchasing the bulk of these MOCVD reactors as they switch to 4" systems.

Yole notes that LED epitaxy requires dedicated tools supplied by companies that have much knowledge about fabricating LEDs. According to Yole, more than 20 entrants (mostly from Asia) into the MOCVD reactor business since 2010 have attained little success. Their total market contribution rose from 2 percent in 2010 to just 3 percent in 2013.

Yole cites two reasons for these company's unsuccessful entrance into the market. First, the new entrants have missed the first two LED growth cycles (small display and large display applications) that have allowed the main three to build expertise and their networks (sales offices, training centers, etc.). Even big names, such as Applied Materials, was not able to access these markets. Secondly, revenue from the 2010 to 2011 investment cycle, which included a total of more than $2 billion for MOCVD reactors, have allowed Aixtron and Veeco to slash prices and start a price war with which others can not compete.

Decreasing the cost of ownership is the main strategy that new entrants into the MOCVD market are adopting, Yole says. MOCVD Equipment makers can reduce the cost of ownership with innovations such as a new heating system, new gas flow design, and increased automation. Yole does not expect new entrants to have a substantial increase in future market share as the expertise and capital of Aixtron and Veeco (the Big Two) far surpass their competitors.

In the short term, Yole anticipates only two types of MOCVD equipment suppliers (outside of the Big three) will survive. These are suppliers that collaborate with some big LED manufacturers and Chinese suppliers that can scrape together pieces of the huge local market.

Up to 1.1 Gigabit per Second LiFi Transmission Using Micro LEDs is Possible Over 10 Meter Distance, According to Researchers
LIGHTimes News Staff

April 10, 2014...Harald Haas, a University of Edinburgh professor, chief science officer (CSO), and co-founder of pureLiFi, and his team demonstrated that up to 1.1 gigabit per second (Gbps) can now be transmitted using light from micro LEDs over a distance of 10 meters with less than 0.5W power. LiFi is a term reportedly coined by professor Haas in which light is used to transmit data wirelessly in a way that enables full networking capabilities similar to WiFi. However, LiFi has greater spatial reuse of bandwidth

The process uses just 5% of the power of a typical 10W LED light bulb. Therefore, lights can be dimmed while maintaining high LiFi data rates and coverage. Furthermore, the researchers found that the distance at which 1 Gbps is possible with a single color LED is 10 times larger than previously reported.

EPSRC funded the work as part of the Ultra Parallel-Visible Light Communications (UP-VLC) program grant. Haas collaborated with partners from the Institute of Photonics at the University of Strathclyde, the University of Glasgow, and the University of Oxford.

pureLiFi successfully demonstrated of the first commercial Li-Fi product, Li-1st, at MWC 2014 and CeBIT 2014 in March and added a second production run of the Li-1st to meet the demand from industry customers. The new production run is scheduled to ship this month. Haas founded pureLiFi (formerly pureVLC) as a spin-out from the University of Edinburg. The company produces LiFi drivers and receivers.

Professor Haas said, “Li-Fi is revolutionizing wireless communications and showing that Li-Fi can be the enabler of the emerging Internet of Everything. By transmitting data at speeds above 1 Gbps and record distances of 10 metres at a fraction of the power of typical LED bulbs, we continue to make the technological leaps and bounds that make Li-Fi a technology that could transform the way we use the internet in the near future.”

BMW to Employ OLED Lighting in Its Cars in Three Years

April 10, 2014...BMW expects to put OLEDs in its cars in three years. OLEDs promise thin, homogenous light whose intensity is constant across its entire radiant angle (unlike LEDs which often seem less bright from side). They also use less energy than their conventional counterparts. The company showed off working OLED taillight prototypes for their cars. BMW is currently working on improving the lighting density of OLEDs for use in break lights and for use as indicator lighting. Issues such as OLED cost of production and their efficiency compared to LEDs have not yet been overcome.

Osram Opto Introduces Flush-Mountable Infrared LED
LIGHTimes News Staff

April 9, 2014...Osram Opto Semiconductors has debuted the T-Midled, an emitter that can serve as a remote control transmitter for tablet computers and smartphones. The emitter has a lower profile than conventional infrared emitter. The compact side-looking T-shaped Midled has a package that protrudes only fractions of millimeters from the board and provides high radiant intensity. The emitter allows an infrared transmitter to be integrated into extra-thin smartphones or tablet computers.

For the first time, Osram Opto Semiconductors succeeded in sinking a surface-mountable infrared Midled SFH 4140 LED in a pc board. "We want to enable our customers to install a powerful infrared transmitter even if there is very little height in the device to work with," said Bianka Schnabel, the person responsible for the product at Osram Opto Semiconductors. "We have, therefore, developed a transmitter that disappears almost entirely into the board. Only 0.6 of a millimeter extends above and below the board. That saves plenty of height."

The T-shaped transmitter occupies just 4.6 square millimeters (mm2) of board space and emits a focused beam to the side. With an integrated reflector, the emitter creates a beam angle of +/-25 degrees. The 940 nanometer wavelength SFH 4140 delivers 50 milliwatts per steradiant (mW/sr) while consuming 100 mA. Therefore, it achieves the required output at the necessary wavelength for remote control applications.

Osram Opto Semiconductors' T-Midled enables smartphones and tablet computers to work as universal remote controls. If the device has the correct infrared transmitter diode, the diode can be controlled with a suitable app. While traditional remote controls use radial infrared LEDs, this option is not an attractive solution for slim smartphones and tablets., which require a low-profile SMT solution that can operate over the required distance.

Luminus Launches XNova Mid-power LEDs
LIGHTimes News Staff

April 8, 2014...Luminus Devices introduced the new XNova mid-Power LEDs for replacement lamps and luminaires. The XNova mid‐power LEDs are aimed at what the company calls high growth lighting applications, ranging from linear T8 lamps to diffused panel lighting and replacement lamps and luminaires.

The new product line consists of f2016, 3014, 3020 and 3030 platforms, with nominal input powers ranging from 0.18W giving off 22 lumens (min) and operating at about 122 lm/W to 0.93W putting out 107 lumens at about 115 lm/W efficacy. The XNOVA mid power LEDs achieve 130+ lumens per watt (LPW (typ.) at nominal test conditions, and 170+ LPW (max) at lower input power. The packaged LEDs span the ANSI color gamut from 2700K 6500K with standard minimum CRI of 70 and 80. Luminus is also offering each mid power platform in a high CRI 90+ version for applications that require the highest color quality.

“We are excited about the release of this critically important product line,” said Dr. Decai Sun, Chairman and CEO of Luminus Devices. “Mid power LEDs are becoming broadly accepted in general lighting and Luminus is taking a l eadership position with this launch to address the most demanding applications."

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Commentary & Perspective...

Having Some Fun: Smart Lighting is going to be messy
Tom Griffiths - Publisher

April 3, 2014...Don't let the headline worry you... 'smart' lighting is going to be great, and it will work well, but it is most assuredly going to be a somewhat messy process to go from today's versions of controllable lighting, to tomorrow's actual smart lighting. In terms of impact players, Philips made the first notable 'shot across the bow' with the introduction of the app-driven Hue system aimed at making color-controllable lighting fun for consumers. Cree came along next with its SmartCast self-configuring daylight-compensating system aimed at commercial/office spaces. At Light+Building this week, Osram-Sylvania announced its own app-controllable system, named Lightify, that it states is aimed at both consumer and "professional" markets.

While Philips kept its Hue plans quiet until the actual roll-out in conjunction with the Apple stores, Osram appears to be making a "here it comes" sort of pre-announcement. Hopefully the actual roll-out will be a bit more tangible than the announcement here, which has a sort of "Feel-good lets get into the experience" sort of air to it. The news release is actually humorous enough (to me, at least) that some excerpts just beg to be shared. Note here that I think this was probably written more in German, for Europe, so this is really more about poking some fun at the chosen words, and not at the intention behind it. Osram is a serious company, and I expect a serious product, but the news release, well, see for yourself.. The lead-in is pretty good, as we find out that...

With Lightify, Osram for the first time presents a lighting system at Light+Building 2014 that enables users to exploit a wide range of lighting possibilities using an app on a smartphone or tablet. Lightify simply integrates into existing WLAN networks, and users are able to set a wide diversity of light atmospheres. "... With Lightify we have transformed an idea into an innovation that contains almost everything that light is able to do today" said Peter Laier, Osram's Chief Technology Officer..." Lightify will be available from the start of the coming lighting season in Germany and other European markets.

Coo-ool... An idea transformed into innovation that will do (almost) everything that light is able to do today! (Spit out photons of various color? Be controlled? Blind me in the middle of the night?). The folks in Europe will be the big winners there at the start of the next "lighting season". I actually had to look that one up on Google, so it appears that "lighting season" is either when we turn on all our Christmas/holiday lights, when we can legally use spotlights to hunt coyotes or other "varmints", or when we make the fall time change and it suddenly gets dark in the mid-afternoon (or so it often seems). We'll assume the latter, so about I'm thinking about 6 months from now. Maybe saying "Fall" could have been an option? Continuing...

Lightify enables living rooms and workrooms as well as balconies and gardens to be bathed in a wide variety of light atmospheres using a smartphone or tablet. The scenes can be freely configured and also controlled while on the move. In addition, the app also provides programmed light scenes such as a realistic sunrise for example, and selection can also be based on photos. Lightify is not only able to design rooms in light differently each day, the light itself can also be useful for the sense of well-being. The right scene helps people to get out of bed better in the morning and to sleep more easily in the evening.

One assumes there are luminaires involved, as opposed to simply using the smartphone or tablet, which would need to have a really bright RGB-CW-WW LED on it to get that job done. It will be for rooms, workrooms and balconies (plus the gardens). That's good. Most folks forget about their balconies, which is naturally where a realistic sunrise should be coming from. Unless it faces west, in which case it should be a sunset. One wonders if anyone has done any research to tie together the magnetic compass points and the effect of sunrise/sunset transitions. Wouldn't surprise me if one of the periodic magnetic pole reversals was the actual cause behind the dinosaur die-off. You expect sunsets to be in the West, poles reverse, suddenly it sets in your magnetic East and boom, no more sense of romance and your species dies off. Clearly this whole controllable light thing might be playing with forces way beyond our understanding. Some advanced civilization may have already walked this path, with their first attempts at creating "red-green" or "blue-yellow" colors (potentially undetectable color mixes in our tri-chromatic visual system) perhaps creating the galaxy's black holes... See where we might be heading?

The complete Lightify range of LED lamps and luminaires can be controlled independent of the location, whether this is for corridors or living rooms, terraces and gardens or professional lighting in offices. Osram with its Lightify system is following an integrative approach and provides corresponding products from a single source. Installed lighting systems and products from other manufacturers that support the common ZigBee Light Link standard or Home Automation standard can also be simply integrated into the system. In addition, the Lightify system offers an interface for the so called DALI standard. DALI is widely used in professional applications in Europe. Lightify should be available from the coming light season onwards in a version for end consumers and a second version for professional users, and the starter kit for end customers consists of the gateway and a lamp.

I thought there would be more than just smartphones! So... sounds to me like Hue and Friends of Hue, but from Osram, and splitting the middle between both consumer and office spaces. So what's really new here? Maybe a bit more open architecture, including the ability to play with "so called" DALI (which is a so-called digital addressable lighting standard for so-called luminaires, in case you missed the so-called news back in 2001). Overall, not really all that much is new. But that's a good thing, in the sense that it took more than one smart(ish) phone from more than one big player to create the momentum towards good, competitive, feature-filled smartphones that all play on the same cellular network.

So the messy part... Quite simply, there are a lot of moving parts that will make up the thing we'll call smart lighting. Networking between lamps and/or luminaires, some of which will be TCP/IP (a few billion new IP addresses anyone?) some ZigBee or Z-Wave or derivatives, or Bluetooth, or BLE, or visible light networking, or proprietary; to bridges that connect to wireless LANs or wired ones, or maybe cellular ones to the home network, or the office network, or the building management system that's itself open or proprietary, or maybe both. The connected luminaires will be controlled by their own apps that are open architecture, or closed, and secure, or not. Oh, and then comes those sensors, that will be sending over blips of data for the luminaire for ambient light, or color, or gesture recognition; or instead of blips it may be rafts (tons, or "tonnes" for out British friends) of data for grouped decision engines or the BMS to make use of. And we'll detect the users, and tap other networks to retrieve their preferences from standard or non-standard database apps. And a few big guys that are late to the party will be criticizing the "non-traditional" or "non-standard" controls or networking or protocols. And there will certainly be what seem like some really good ideas that turn out to be bad ones (think "rapid-recharge circadian adjustment bars" next to the frozen sushi and the flavored oxygen bars there at the international airport) or bad-seeming ideas that turn out to work really well. Things will break (one of my original Hue lamps has stopped responding to anything, and I can't find a reset nor have I any clue how to determine if it's hardware or software) and don't be surprised when someone's Google glass will accidentally tap into the neighbor's lighting system, starting it flashing to the Euro-pop beat they're running a visualizer for. Or better yet, household lighting systems start dropping Amazon.com's delivery drones from the sky...

Opportunity, technology and competitive innovation will meet, there will be a revolution, we'll (mostly) all survive it undamaged, and there will be some new words created (how about photo-chaos or photobiointegration) and most of all, we'll see the world in a new light. Have fun on the ride!

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