Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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In the last decade, the lighting industry has seen more advancements and innovations than in the last century combined. While lighting has become commoditized with multiple players emerging across the globe, at the same time, there is also an increased demand for lighting due to population growth and urbanization. This increased demand is resulting in resource challenges, thereby making energy-efficient lighting more attractive for both public and personal use. Increasing digitization is also driving the need for digital, connected lighting and applications beyond illumination.

With the advent of LED technology and smart lighting, the humble incandescent lamp has transformed into an intelligent, data-driven, WiFi signal conducting node that can deliver functionalities far beyond just illumination.  You can now connect to the internet, enhance the freshness of your lettuce, design and 3D print your own customized luminaire and disinfect your rooms, all thanks to lighting.

Here are some of the top trends in smart technology to watch out for in 2021:

UV-C lighting

UV-C technology for disinfection has been around for years. COVID-19 pandemic, however, has breathed a new life into the applications and scope of UV-C lighting. UV-C light is invisible to the human eye in the wavelength between 200 and 280 nanometers and at the specific wavelength of 253.7 nm, it can be used for disinfection of air, surfaces as well as water, as it breaks down the DNA of micro-organisms and leaves them impotent and unable to multiply.

All bacteria and viruses tested to date (many hundreds over the years, including various strains of coronavirus) respond to UV-C disinfection. There are no known pathogens resistant to UV-C light- a clear indication that UV-C light can play a valuable part in protection against not just the novel coronavirus but any other virus that threatens human life in the future.

Our range of UV-C solutions validated by both National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEILD) at Boston University and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) as effective in inactivating SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19) are perfect for speedy and safe disinfection of objects and spaces, enabling consumers to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and adapt to this ‘new normal.’

The solutions are available as a Disinfection Box for the consumer market and in form of a UV-C Chamber, UV-C Luminaire, UV-C Trolley, UV-C Batten and UV-C Upper Air Disinfection System for professional usage. Given the far-reaching potential impact of the technology to aid in the fight against the coronavirus, Signify, who has been at the forefront of developing and launching bespoke UV-C solutions, has decided not to keep the technology for its exclusive use but make it available to other lighting companies as well.

3D Printed luminaires

Sustainability will be an integral part of our future world, especially in lighting. At Signify, we recently expanded our portfolio of 3D Printed Luminaires in factories across select markets. These luminaires are manufactured using a 100% recyclable polycarbonate material, which allows them to be designed or tailored to a customer’s specific needs and then be recycled at the end of its life cycle. This is one of the many ways in which the lighting industry can help us transform from a linear to a circular economy. With growing population and rapid urbanization, while we focus on consuming less, we also have to make sure we consume better. The lighting industry is uniquely positioned to make this viable today, and not necessarily wait for the future.

LiFi

LiFi or Light Fidelity offers two-way, high-speed wireless communication and utilizes an untapped lighting spectrum instead of the congested radio spectrum to facilitate stable internet connectivity. Signify’s Trulifi system can deliver broadband connection speeds of up to 250 Mbps without compromising on lighting performance and quality. This allows a user to simultaneously stream 30 HD quality videos while holding a video call.

LiFi provides high speed, reliable and stable communication and may be used in places where radio frequencies may interfere with equipment, such as in hospitals and factories, or in spaces where Wi-Fi signals are weak and unstable, such as basement floors, mechanical rooms etc. It’s also ideal for use in environments demanding high security; for example, the back office of a financial institution or government service. LiFi is highly secure as light cannot pass through solid walls and a line-of-sight to the light is needed to access the network.

Horticulture lighting

By 2050, it is predicted that 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. And as cities grow bigger by the day, finding farmlands that can address the increased demand for food will become difficult. In addition to the growing population, climate change will also have a major impact on food production and horticulture in the 21st century. Vertical and indoor farming techniques that use LED lighting in place of sunlight can help bridge this gap by utilizing urban spaces to grow fruits and vegetables. Shorter supply chains, technology driven quality and efficiency makes vertical farming a cutting-edge solution that the world currently needs.

Fuelled by these factors, we have seen LED lighting gain popularity in the horticulture sector over the past few years. LEDs are significantly more energy efficient than conventional agricultural lighting solutions and can help the cultivation of fruits and vegetables become truly viable across the metropolises of the world. The demand for LED technology in horticulture is growing because of its low energy consumption, connected operations and the capability to customize the spectral output to emit the specific wavelengths usable by plants. The LED fixtures also allow customization and adjustment of the spectral distribution to suit different kinds of fruits and vegetables being grown. LED lighting also reduces the amount of chemicals needed in the production process, which in turn increases the quality of the yield.

These trends open up various possibilities for smart lighting technology to continue to transform lives, leading to a smarter, more productive and efficient future. Being omnipresent, lighting has a significant part to play in realizing this future and we are looking forward to being a part of it with bigger and better lighting innovations.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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