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Wider adoption of LED technology is opening up new markets

Wider adoption of LED technology is opening up new markets

By BizLED Bureau

October 31, 2015: LEDs and LED-based products have been evolving continuously and so has the market. Today, most people are familiar with the benefits of LED bulbs, which was not the case four or five years back. With the continued adoption of LED lighting, we will see more and more markets opening up, as the technology has evolved rapidly, enabling LEDs to be used in more applications.

Although traditional energy efficient technologies like compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and high intensity discharge (HID) lamps are still in the mainstream, it has been forecast that LEDs will take the lead position by 2020.

Market scenario

LEDs in streetlights have been adopted at a fast pace and this area is where LEDS are most widely used. But, in 2013, the industry saw a major transformation taking place in the indoor lighting market. In 2014, downlights started picking up as they became affordable, offering significantly improved total cost of ownership (TCO). LED lamps, on the other hand, have not been adopted to the extent they should have been. At present, we can also see the trend of growing LED bulb usage.

In 2014, the trends in the market showed mid-power LEDs being used in indoor applications. Breakthroughs in mid-power LED products heightened their visibility and triggered growing demand. Commercial lighting, in particular, requires high quality LED products, while for the rest of the lighting market, the emphasis is on ease of use and competitive prices, backed by good quality.

Factors driving demand

Today, adoption of LEDs is quite fast. LED TVs, displays, display backlights in laptops, automotive LEDs, etc, are already very common. The key factors driving the LED illumination market include the high quality of light, the technology being ?green?, lower costs and growing awareness about energy efficiency.

Price has been a driving force for LEDs and LED products. In the past, LED lighting costs were very high and unaffordable. However, increased awareness and the latest technology have led to a huge fall in LED prices. This has majorly impacted the adoption of LEDs and LED products.

Apart from price and efficiency, quality of light is a very critical factor for user acceptance. The light emitted should be realistic, reliable and have predictable performance. Moreover, it should save energy on the system level with the possibility to fully utilise the ?connected lighting? aspect of LEDs. When we talk about the quality of light, we stress on the following five elements?colour spectrum and rendering, colour consistency between sources, colour in application, colour consistency in beam and colour consistency over the lifetime.

LED technology is opening up new markets

LED lighting technology holds a lot of promise when compared to other sources of light. The efficiency levels of LED lights will soon go up to 220-250 lumens per watt depending on CCT, according to industry reports. Performance is definitely going to increase, with room for improvement in internal quantum efficiency (IQE). And there is scope for efficacy levels to go up further with advances in technology. As of now, we do not see any competing technology, which is affordable, efficient and can replace LED technology. Over and above all this, prices are coming down drastically. With efficacy also increasing, cost reduction will continue in the future, too. So this gives us the confidence that we need to focus on LEDs.

At present, LED lights have migrated from the 5 mm radial devices of a few years ago to the high power LEDs, then to mid power versions and on to chip on boards (CoB). LEDs are now application optimised, which means that there are different LEDs for indoor, outdoor and industrial requirements. For streetlights, you need more than 15,000 lumens, which is definitely different from what is required for retrofit purposes, which would only require 600 lumens.

Recent trends indicate that low power LEDs will eat into the market share of mid power LEDs, which in turn will cannibalise the high power LED market. High power LEDs will continue to be used for application specific needs, and mid-power LEDs will further evolve and deliver better performance. Apart from the high power and the mid power LEDs, CoBs and array technologies have also evolved.

These different trends and technologies are opening up new market segments, which have immense business potential.

Retrofit bulbs

The biggest market across the world is for retrofit lamps or replacement bulbs, which are gaining popularity as a result of the low energy consumption and running costs of LED bulbs. Used in retail, residential, industrial and commercial markets, LED solutions for retrofit bulbs offer a high quality of light by leveraging high power LEDs.

Outdoor lights

The outdoor lighting market is the second biggest market, especially for street lighting. However, here, the major push has been from the government, as majority of the LED streetlight projects across the world are funded by the governments.

Retail and hospitality

The major reason for LEDs gaining popularity in the retail segment is the fast payback factor, as LED systems are far more efficient than the conventional metal halide lamps. LED lighting for the retail space is more versatile, offers better quality of light and can definitely challenge the popularity of CFL or HID lamps.

Offices and commercial establishments

This is the fourth largest segment for LEDs, globally. This segment has picked up very fast because of the improved total cost of ownership, and the exceedingly good quality of light.

Architectural lights

Globally, the architectural sector has adopted LEDs in a big way, though this is not quite true for India. China and Hong Kong are using LED lights for most of their ancient buildings as these lights offer an intensive colour portfolio.

Many LED manufacturers, including Lumimicro, Seoul Semiconductor, Daejin DMP, are penetrating into next-generation LED markets like LEDs for automobiles, LCD backlight units and commercial lighting systems. Industry observers anticipate that LED technology will be adopted in backlight units of LCD panels earlier than expected, and demand for LEDs for automotive gauge boards and brake lights will leap by more than 50% annually. Demand for LEDs for commercial systems such as signboards and neon signs will also increases fast.

Opinions expressed by BizLED contributors are their own. None of the facts and figures mentioned in the story have been created by BizLED.co.in. BizLED is not responsible for any factual errors.

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