Lighting Matters: Embrace the New Lighting Era – Monthly Column featured in EE Publishers’ Vector Magazine

I hope that you, the reader, are finding this first series in my column interesting and, more importantly, that you find it useful.

I have heard the comments that LED is too expensive. Clients are reluctant to pay for quality LED products and only want the least expensive products available. Of course, this is very short-sighted when looking for the best RoI. Good return on investment is only possible when using quality LED products. Developers always want the least expensive options because some are not concerned about product quality, but simply about complying with the minimum light levels at the lowest cost.

These comments are very familiar. They reflect the fact that lighting economics and a detailed cost of ownership exercise were never completed. I cannot over-emphasise the importance of a detailed cost of ownership exercise spanning 15 to 20 years. When this is presented to clients, accountants and CFOs, a decision to accept the lighting design soon follows.

Now, on with the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how the advancements in lighting technologies will play a role.

I wrote on this subject in 2017, after researching the history of preceding industrial revolutions. My students were fascinated. Much discussion followed. More recently, even President Ramaphosa mentioned it during his first State of the Nation address. What is this Fourth Industrial Revolution? The definition that I found is “a revolution characterised by a fusion of technologies blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres”. Another definition is by Prof. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum: “The current and developing environment in which disruptive technologies and trends such as the internet of things, robotics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence are changing the way we live and work”.

Many professionals younger than me say they are “too old” to keep up with all this technology. I am a 71-year-old illumination engineer, and this new technology keeps me young. It is food for the mind, the brain and the soul and it generates such excitement. I urge you not to miss this excitement as we move into a new lighting arena.



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