Light's Future

06/01/2016
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Coming off of the decorative- and design-oriented spring High Point Market, we switched gears and coasts almost immediately to travel to San Diego for Lightfair

The show, which broke the West Coast attendance record set in Las Vegas in 2014, had nearly 28,000 registrants and 617 exhibitors in 46 categories. As an attendee, I really enjoyed the San Diego Convention Center as a venue — not only was the location pretty superb, the narrow but long floor plan was very walkable.

That came in handy, of course, for the sheer amount of ground (and product) we had to cover. There was innovation around every corner, and a few looks and technologies that appeared time and time again.

Maybe the most popular introduction for the residential space was the dimmable LED filament bulb. The vintage industrial trend is still holding strong, and finally the availability of LED bulbs to accompany this style skyrocketed.

Using either amber-toned glass or actual warm-dimming technology, these bulbs dim to create a nice candlelight ambiance. Their appearance easily makes you forget you’re looking at an LED bulb, which is something many consumers will appreciate. 

Speaking of — warm dimming for LEDs had just started to become commonplace at last year’s Lightfair, and this year it really exploded. The ability to tune the white light from cool, say for waking up in the morning, down to warm for bedtime, will be one of the contributing factors to breaking down the barriers of consumer LED adoption. Not to mention, the technology is getting better with maintained color consistency and less flicker;  it’s also getting cheaper, too. 

Also, it’s no surprise that IoT and smart lighting were hot topics, with session after session covering the “how to’s” and “what if’s?” for cities and homes. Cybersecurity continues to be an area of concern for both commercial and residential spaces equipped with this technology, but to many, the benefits outweigh the risks. 

At the show, we saw connected lighting systems become more robust — many now include not only bulbs, but strips, panels, undercabinet, plugs, etc., all controllable via an app or timer. The day has really arrived when an entire house could easily and seamlessly be outfitted with connected solutions. 

Other notable products included LED Inspirations’ revolutionary new Inspire V4 cuttable and connectable LED tape light, which is coated with a polyurethane film that seals and protects the circuitry; a cool modular lighting system by Nanoleaf called Aurora, which we highlighted on page 54; and new, and easy, LED retrofit options, including Eaton’s new Halo ML4 family for 4-inch openings. 

Product continues to push boundaries and exploit LED’s capabilities in the best way possible. We’re already looking forward to next year’s Lightfair in Philadelphia, May 9-11. See you there. 

Nicole Davis
Nicole Davis

Nicole Davis is the Editor-in-Chief of Lighting & Decor and was also the Editor-in-Chief of Lighting & Decor's predecessors, Residential Lighting and Home Fashion Forecast. She's been covering the lighting and home furnishings industries for six years and graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. 

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