Lighting is changing, and the next 12 months will be a defining period in the sector as we move away from an energy-saving offer to fully embrace all things digital.
The global Light + Building show in March 2018 will be a key moment, and all the while disruption and uncertainty look set to be continuing themes. Here’s how Lux sees the big trends to watch for in 2018:
Luminaires will boast more functionality
Expect this to be a big trend at Light + Building in Frankfurt in March. Due to increased commoditisation and falling prices, light fittings simply won’t just illuminate any more. They’ll have on-board capabilities such as increased intelligence, sensors, build-in wireless connectivity and colour tuning. Expect buzzwords such as ‘IoT ready’ and ‘digital light’.
Controls will leave the cupboard
Traditionally, lighting controls have resided in a big black box of electronics which sat in a cupboard. In 2018, expect to see the intelligence move into the luminaire. The interface will increasingly be standard devices using Bluetooth. The ‘self-learning’ algorithms popular on consumer thermostats will also begin to appear as standard on lighting control platforms.
Emergency lighting standards will be driven up
Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s inquiry into the London’s Grenfell Tower fire kicks off in earnest in 2018, and a spotlight will be shone on the regulations, standards, guidance, specification, installation practice and maintenance regimes for emergency lighting. It will be an uncomfortable watch for the industry, but should concentrate minds and drive up standards.
Li-Fi will begin to get adopted
Thanks to the launch at LuxLive in November of a range of certified kit, including drivers and luminaires, we expect to see the delivery of the internet via visible light start to gain traction in the market. Early adopters will be in the security, military and diplomatic sectors where computer users want the convenience of Wi-Fi but without its vulnerabilities.
Lighting will join the connected office
The so-called ‘connected office’ will start to become a reality in 2018, driven by the big property developers. Companies such as Land Securities and CBRE – under pressure to be seen to be innovating in the sector – already have extensive trials of IoT lighting and will be the ones to create compelling use cases for their clients. The big drivers will be well-being and productivity.
Bluetooth will win the protocol war
After two years of internal wrangling, Bluetooth chiefs have ratified a standard which meshes together its beacons, allowing them to give instructions to each other. The move boosts Bluetooth's reach far beyond the typical10m range that’s familiar to consumers. In 2018 expect this development to drive IoT lighting into retail, warehouse, commercial offices, and other locations.
Human-centric lighting will get serious
Current ‘human-centric’ lighting installations are often unworthy of the name; ‘colour temperature-changing’ would be a better term. However, thanks to an increasing body of research from Scandinavia in particular, expect to see more and more true human centric systems installed. Offices and care homes, especially those with dementia patients, will be first.
Lighting pollution will be a major issue
Lighting pollution has been an issue in the industry for decades, but expect clients and regulators to take it super seriously in 2018, driven by increased awareness and concerns that the low price and cooler colour temperatures of LEDs are causing more lighting pollution more than high pressure sodium ever did.
The WELL Building standard will be big
It may be an American import and the product of an independent, non-government organisation, but the WELL Building Standard is rapidly gaining traction on this side of the pond as current guidance fails to keep up with trends in workplace wellbeing and productivity. Clients see it as added value for their tenants, so expect lighting specs to demand compliance in 2018.
The industry will be driven by consolidation and partnerships
Stand-alone lighting manufacturers will look increasingly isolated in 2018 as consolidation really takes hold in the market. Expect to see lots of acquisitions and mergers as the fragmented industry tidies itself up. But the really big trend will be partnerships – such as the Philips and Cisco tie-up – where lighting makers buddy up with tech specialists.