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2015-03-03
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Editorial: What Hath Our IoT Lighting Doth Wrought?
 
... Last time around, "News Staff" offered some tie-together insights on why we might expect lighting to find itself at as the eyes and ears of the IoT. Makes sense. It has a good view of the space, constant electricity (and if not, it's a pretty correctable decision), and we're...
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Commentary...
What Hath Our IoT Lighting Doth Wrought?

 
... Last time around, "News Staff" offered some tie-together insights on why we might expect lighting to find itself at as the eyes and ears of the IoT. Makes sense. It has a good view of the space, constant electricity (and if not, it's a pretty correctable decision), and we're...

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

USPTO Scraps Sensitive Application Warning System in Favor of Public Scrutiny
LIGHTimes News Staff

March 3, 2015...The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has ended a secret program that they had operated for twenty years that aimed to "alert leadership when a patent might issue on a sensitive matter." The USPTO only recently acknowledged the program's existence.

For the past 20 years the program known as the Sensitive Application Warning System placed a small percentage of patent applications (about .04 percent) into an indefinite legal limbo that critics claim effectively stalled patents from being approved. In the high stakes game of patent rights, having to wait indefinitely to see if a patent is approved could cause a loss of funding and increased competition.

Those applications that the SAWS program chose through the use of a vague and over-encompassing list of criteria were twice as likely to be rejected, according to a Yahoo news article.

The USPTO pointed out on their website that, "today, unlike when the SAWS program was created, most applications are published eighteen months after submission, exposing them to public scrutiny and the potential for third-party submissions of prior art."

Following an internal review of the USPTO's SAWS program the USPTO said in a statement on their website, "Upon careful consideration, the USPTO has concluded that the SAWS program has only been marginally utilized and provides minimal benefit." After completing the review, the USPTO decided to retire the SAWS program stating, " Any applications currently in this program will now proceed through prosecution absent any additional SAWS-related processing."

In the statement the USPTO said, "the Agency will seek public input as part of its ongoing Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative on whether there were any quality-enhancing features of the SAWs program that are not already captured through the typical examination and prosecution process."

Law firm, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, representing several high tech companies including Google and Apple, Twitter, and Oracle filed a Freedom of Information request to get information about the criteria of the SAWS program.

The information that they got was 50 pages of criteria that included everything from inventions that received unwanted publicity to inventions that pertained to biological warfare.

Among the most perplexing of the criteria outlined over about 50 pages are "applications that are pioneering in scope."

The USPTO seems to be saying in their statement that now that most patents applications are open to public scrutiny after about 18 months, much of the SAWS program is not necessary. The USPTO hopes that the public will come forward as part of its Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative to suggest parts of the SAWS program that at are not already captured through the typical examination and prosecution process.

What this means to the LED and LED lighting industry is unclear, but if it means less time for patent approval or rejection while maintaining the quality of the patent system is probably a good thing.

Sharp Eyes Closing LED Production Factory as Part of Restructuring

March 3, 2015...Sharp Electronics Inc. has suffered stiff competition in the electronics market. Severe losses have plagued the company especially in its LCD display and solar panel businesses. As a key part of its restructuring plan, Sharp electronics reportedly plans to reorganize electronic component manufacturing, according to an article in Nikkei.com.

Among the planned business changes, Sharp intends to close the Mihara plant that makes LEDs. While the decision to close the LED production facility is not final, such a shut down would be the company's first closing of a major factory in Japan.

Other businesses such as LCD displays and solar panels, have faced stiff competition. Other potential restructuring measures could include exiting or selling the company's solar panel business, and closing four electronic component plants in Fukuyama.

Philips Moves Forward with Plans to Sell Combined Lumileds and Automotive Lighting Businesses and Split Company
LIGHTimes News Staff

February 27, 2015...Philips is reportedly moving ahead with plans to Sell Combined Lumileds and Automotive Lighting Businesses, according to a recent earnings conference call. The company also gave an update on the progress of the sale and the plans to split the company into one business that focuses on health technology and another that focuses on lighting solutions.

During Koninklijke Philips NV (Philips) recent earnings conference call, Frans van Houten, the company's CEO said that the LED lighting business continues to grow. He stated, "In Lighting, we saw continued strong double-digit growth and improving gross margins in our LED-based portfolio, especially in LED lamps, despite the strong price erosion."

He noted that the company's 20% revenue increase in LED lighting partially offset the company's 14% decline in conventional lighting.

Frans van Houten said that the company's Professional Lighting Solutions business was not as profitable as the company had hoped.He said, "As you know, we had expected the turnaround of our Professional Lighting Solutions business in North America to deliver profitable growth in the fourth quarter on the back of good order book coverage. However, despite sequential improvement in quoting and pipeline activity across segments, we were not yet able to return to sustainable growth in Q4 yet, as a number of projects shifted out into 2015."

He reiterated the company's previously announced plans to sell the combined Lumileds and Automotive Lighting businesses saying, "We are actively discussing the sale of the combined Lumileds and Automotive Lighting businesses with potential buyers. We received a number of non-binding bids in December, and expect to receive binding bids before the end of Q1. As such, we are confident that we will complete a transaction in the first half of 2015. "

He also explained the direction that the company was taking in the future, and he reemphasized the company's plans to separate into two business entities."We are determined in our plan to separate Philips into two standalone companies, each one better positioned to capitalize on the highly-attractive opportunities in both HealthTech and Lighting Solutions markets. As indicated already, the separation process is expected to take approximately 12 to 18 months. We have now informed that we currently estimate total separation cost in 2015 to be in the range of EUR300 million to EUR400 million."

Everlight Electronics Reportedly to Merge with Edison Opto

March 3, 2015...Everlight Electronics aims to compete with China-based LED packaging companies. Everlight reportedly plans to merge with LED packaging specialist company Edison Opto of Taiwan, according to a Digitimes article, which cited industry sources. The merger is to rapidly increase its LED packaging capacity to compete with China-based LED packaging firms. Less than 20% of Everlight's consolidated revenues come from LED lighting. For this reason, Edison Opto's product lines are complimentary.

Philips LED Lighting Installed in Costa Cruises' Ships
LIGHTimes News Staff

February 26, 2015...Royal Philips of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, has completed the upgrade of 10 ships for Costa Cruises. Over 300,000 Philips LED lights were installed, reducing the energy required to power the ships lighting by 60%. Aboard ships, diesel motors generate all of the electricity. According to Philips, the lighting renovation across 10 ships enables total annual savings of 30,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions. The switch to energy efficient LED technology is the latest step towards Costa Cruises’ goal to slash its CO2emissions according to targets it set out in its Sustainability Report published in 2014.

Stefania Lallai, Costa Cruises Sustainability Director, commented, “This initiative between two companies engaged in providing solutions for the mitigation of the impact on the environment represents another step forward by Costa Cruises in the field of sustainability. The lighting project with Philips is an important initiative undertaken to lower the CO2 impact generated by our fleet and to reduce energy consumption on board.”

Philips pointed out that its MasterLED spots and CoreProLED tubes, which were installed on the cruise ships, emit excellent quality white light that does not irritate or tire the eyes. Moreover, the LED lighting lasts longer (up to 40,000 hours.

Back in 2013, Philips completed the relamping of three ships. The lighting of the remaining seven ships completely upgraded by December 2014. Philips is taking part in the LED lighting renovation of Costa Cruises’ headquarters in Genoa, Italy.

“Travel by sea already has the lowest carbon footprint compared to other forms of transport in the wider tourism industry,’’ said Nicola Kimm, head of sustainability for Philips Lighting. ‘’Think of cruise ships as self-contained mini floating cities, powered by their own energy supply. Switching from 50 Watt bulbs to 7 Watt LED technology increases energy efficiency by more than halving each ship’s electricity consumption required for lighting.’’

LED Engin's LuxiGen Emitters now Available Through Digi-Key
LIGHTimes News Staff

February 26, 2015...LED Engin, a San Jose-based producer of high flux density LED emitters and secondary lenses, reported that it has signed a distribution agreement with Digi-Key, a seller of electronic components. LED Engin's LuxiGen emitters and secondary optics will be available through Digi-Key's global websites.

The company asserts that the high-power LuxiGen emitters offer high efficacy and flux along with superior color stability and lumen performance. The emitters have what the company says are ultra-efficient and uniform optics. According to LED Engin, LuxiGen's patented ceramic package enables the lowest thermal resistance per package area. Additionally, the emitters have an extremely wide range of power inputs from 3 W to 90 W and a wide selection of colors from UV 365 nm to infrared 940 nm. LuxiGen multi-chip packages are also available in multi-color/wavelength options including RGBW, RGBA, UV, and Dental Blue. Each die is individually addressable. The company also offers a suite of complementary total internal reflection (TIR) lenses for the emitters in Narrow Spot to Wide Flood beam.

President and CEO of LED Engin, David Tahmassebi, said, "Through this agreement, hundreds of thousands of design engineers and purchasers around the world now have access to LED Engin products. Digi-Key is a customer-focused company that ranks highly in industry surveys for its product availability, rapid order fulfillment and responsive service. This means faster access to our class-leading emitters and optics."

Digi-Key is said to be one of the world's largest and fastest-growing distributors of electronic components. Digi-Key stocks more than one million parts from 650 different suppliers and ships about 15,000 orders per day with a 99 percent same-day shipment rate.

Ira Suko, director of semiconductor product at Digi-Key, said, "LED Engin has created very high-quality LEDs in minuscule packages thanks to the company's extensive technical expertise in thermal management and other award-winning techniques. Our customers now have access to the most advanced LED packaging technology, emitters and light source modules available in the market."

Trinseo Showcases Plastic Optical Materials
LIGHTimes News Staff

February 26, 2015...Trinseo, the Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based materials company formerly known as Styron showcased its plastics for the LED Lighting industry at Strategies in Light at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada from February 24 – 26, 2015. The company says it changed its name on February 1st to "reflect how its technologies and materials play an intrinsic role in the innovative and sustainable solutions that customers require for their next generation products."

Trinseo has supported the lighting industry for almost a decade with polycarbonate-based compounds under the CALIBRE™ Polycarbonate Resins and EMERGE™ Advanced Resins and brands. These materials includes transparent, light diffusion, reflective, and ignition resistant grades for diffusers, optics, lenses, reflectors, and housings.

Trinseo also formally introduced its EMERGE™ PC 8830LT Advanced Resins, a material that the company says balances thickness, transparency, and flame retardancy– three key properties that thinner gauge applications require. The material is UL94 rated V-0 at 1.0mm and 5VA at 2.5mm.

Trinseo boasts technical and manufacturing resources around the world that enable it to coordinate application development, product availability and technical support. The company's global reach is especially critical in the LED lighting industry in which applications are often specified in one region and manufactured in another. The Trinseo team from North America was joined at Strategies in Light by colleagues from Asia Pacific.

Iowa Cubs to get Daktronics Display at Their Home Field
LIGHTimes News Staff

February 26, 2015...The Iowa Cubs, a triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, has selected Daktronics to design, manufacture and install a new LED video display for Principal Park in Des Moines, Iowa. The new display will have 15HD pixel layout. In addition to clear, crisp imagery and deep contrast, the display features wide-angle visibility so every seat can see the best picture. The display, which incorporates robust environmental protection for outdoor use, will measure about 24 feet high by 62.5 feet wide.

"Our new state-of-the-art Daktronics video board will be able to do everything but a backward somersault, pike position," said Iowa Cubs principal owner Michael Gartner. "It will provide more information and more excitement for our fans. They're going to love it."

The displays employ variable content zoning, which allows for one large image or multiple zones to show any combination of live video, instant replays, statistics, scoring information, animations, graphics, and sponsor messages.

"We're proud to be involved with this significant upgrade for Iowa Cubs baseball at Principal Park," said Matt Warnke, Daktronics sales representative. "The confidence the Iowa Cubs have shown by selecting Daktronics says a lot about our industry-proven, high-quality product. We're excited to be a part of this and we are looking forward to the first game showcasing the new display."

Daktronics will also include its Show Control System with this installation. This system grants a combination of display control software, video processing, data integration and playback hardware for user-friendly production.

Agricultural Lighting Company Once Innovations Begins Licensing Patents
LIGHTimes News Staff

February 24, 2015...ONCE Innovations (ONCE), an agricultural and horticultural lighting company, has begun licensing its technology after the company recently filed its 100th patent application. The company currently has 26 issued patents worldwide including patents related to agriculture, horticulture, and lighting.

The licensing program is not for just the patents related to agriculture and horticulture, but also those related to lighting.

ONCE CEO Zdenko Grajcar said, “We are not just another LED company. We are in the agricultural lighting business with a mission to help growers produce more food at lower costs. Our core focus in on the research in areas of animal and plant photobiology and related optogenetics. We feel leveraging our research findings in specialized, biologically adjusted lighting has huge potential in agricultural markets.”

The company has hired law firm, Vincent and Elkins (V&E) LLC, to be their legal counsel related to licensing of Once Innovation's patents.

“ONCE technology is designed from the ground up, based on fundamentally new understandings of what connects living organisms to light. Our patent program is based on the investment of significant capital into research and development. Filing our 100th active patent application is an important accomplishment reflecting the company's ongoing attention to innovation and a candid testament to the outstanding achievements of our R&D team,” commented Joe Hoffman, ONCE General Counsel.

Mr. Grajcar noted that several companies have approached ONCE in recent months inquiring about licensing the company's proprietary line voltage LED (AC LED) and color shift technology outside of agriculture markets.

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Commentary & Perspective...

What Hath Our IoT Lighting Doth Wrought?
Commentary Staff

February 19, 2015...Last time around, "News Staff" offered some tie-together insights on why we might expect lighting to find itself at as the eyes and ears of the IoT. Makes sense. It has a good view of the space, constant electricity (and if not, it's a pretty correctable decision), and we're going to have the smarts in there anyway. Should anyone doubt that lighting will be smart, and will have sensors, and will be connected, counseling will be available, but you better start lining up now, because the change is going to be so fundamental that you'll need more than a few sessions to get over the grief of losing your analog lighting...

Profound you say?... Heck yes. The move from wired to wireless phones was easy. The move from analog to digital wireless phones was also easy, in that it just became a clearer connection with longer battery life. Then came the smartphone. When it meant "phone plus calendar", we still didn't wrestle with it. A PDA with cellular access wasn't really disruptive, just helpful. It was that next thing, those pesky, and helpful, apps that really stood our conception of the personal communications device on its ear. Camera? Convenient (for everyone but the really stupid drivers, amateur stuntmen and drunk wedding guests, who are forever immortalized for the epic fails). Navigator? I have it in my car, so it makes sense. Messaging? AOL had that a long while back, so now its wireless. Crowd-sourced routing information for the navigator? Hmmm... what's a Waze? Coupons popping up on the phone as I drive by the local mall (thanks RetailMeNot, but wasn't really expecting that). A free download of a Zippo lighter, so you can still demand a proper encore at the nonsmoking concert? Totally didn't expect that. Point my camera at a foreign language menu, or announcement, or newspaper and Word Lens transforms, real time, into my native language? Are you freakin' kidding me? (Seriously, if you haven't seen that one, check it out... amazing. Next up will be universal translators, just like in Star Trek, except it will only cost $1 and you don't need to be in Star Fleet to download it.

The same thing is going to happen to lighting... Intelligence and sensing will certainly drive a massive wave of spatial-cognitive data that the building management systems will love. Utilities will love it to, as they'll finally have real-time access to energy use throughout a built space. They'll see the highs and lows, and be able to see the response to their demand-response directives, as well as validate the incentives they provided owners in exchange for promises to energy savings. Now the building owners will get to "earn out" their rebates by actually saving energy. But the really interesting stuff will have very little to do with energy efficiency, and everything to do with connect the space to its function. When we move from knowing someone is in a room to "who" is in a room, we are going to start a whole new stream of data flowing. How quickly did the cleaning crew cover the space? Did they miss anyplace? If so, turn that area red, and alert the supervisor with a text message.

What should the temperature be? Last time that Ned was in the room, he gestured (through the lights, naturally) to adjust it from 76 to 78-degrees. But if we can sneak it back to 77, will he notice? Nellie raised the lights to 550 lux in the morning, but dimmed them to 450 in the afternoon. If we transition it slowly down from 550 down to 450 between 10am and 3pm, will she not make a manual override? If so, the space enjoys the savings from averaging 500 instead of 550 lux during those 5 hours for a 10% energy savings. And if we change the curve so that we're come down a little quicker, a little earlier, we can test to see if she's cool with that as well. Every little bit counts.

So let's add the app that moves the color temp a bit. What happens to Sven's typing rate at 3500K vs 4000K? How long do the meetings last when they start at 10am, and how many people are present? What about at 2pm? The presence sensing in the lights will do the people counting (or will it be the RFID reader in the light... or both, since one gives us ID and the other gives us motion/activity. With Waze or Google tracking your route home, the cloud will be able to suggest to the lighting what type of mood or activity lighting you'll want to see when you get home. Stopped at a restaurant on the way home? Guess you won't be cooking dinner when you head into the kitchen, so no reason to add the extra bright, or shift from warm to cool. But once you're home, did you follow the "I'm tired" room to room path (cut down on the cool white, they're heading to bed) or did they follow the getting something done path?

This may sound like it's all about making people comfortable and happy, because it is. Claims are that France's 32 hour work week is as productive as a US 50-60 hour week. Skeptical or not, the idea is certainly an attractive one, in that a better optimized/less stressed    fill in the blank    will produce better results than a non-optimized whatever-it-is. Work week, work environment, hospital night shift, factory. The ability to control, and tweak and learn, and acquire user biometric and productivity data, through the apps that will wrap in and around out lights will have those profound implications. The cloud will catch the resulting data flow, and "big data" will mine and sift and categorize what matters, and then provide updated goals to the building management system to pass along to the nodes, so they can do their job better, so we do ours better.

Yes, it may seem quite fanciful... But if the astronauts were told that a car built just 30 or so years later would have more processing power installed in just its door than the astronauts had in the entire Apollo capsule that first went to the moon, they might find that a bit fanciful. And that 10 years from there, your smartphone would have more apps than a PC does... well you get the picture. Watch the lights now, as they'll be watching us all soon enough.

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