What Will Define Lighting in 2014?

a guest post by Lisa J. Reed, Lighting Designer

It’s that time of year when pundits begin to make their predictions for the upcoming year. According to Julia Boorstin of CNBC, the distinction between Media and Tech will crumble in 2014. I submit that a similar blurring is happening in the lighting industry. In 2014, LED will continue to cause the distinction between Lamp and Fixture to disappear.

GE, Philips, Acuity, Sylvania, Eaton Cooper…are they light bulb or fixture companies? They are both. And it doesn’t matter anymore. No longer do we have separate “lamp” components to replace in our fixtures. Now we expect our “lamps” to last as long as our “fixtures” do. In fact, lamps and fixtures are the same.

What Will Define Lighting in 2014 - lamp fixture parts

Forget about the distinction between lamp and fixture companies.

It started when big lamp manufacturers bought fixture companies and big fixture manufacturers purchased their own LED lamp companies. Philips bought Color Kinetics; Acuity purchased Acculamp; GE Lighting purchased Albeo Technologies.

Then, traditional lamp manufacturers began to develop their own luminaires, applying LED technology in new ways – less restrained by the traditional “fixture” form factor. Tiny LED tape and strips can be integrated into architecture almost anywhere. Fins, blades, and transparent panels are featured in products like the GE Lumination series of fixtures.

What Will Define Lighting in 2014 - GE lumination

It is turning into a world where lighting companies are simply lighting companies rather than separate component makers working together to make or assemble individual parts of a fixture. As the line between fixture and lamp blurs, the definition of who manufactures what does, too. For now, all of these manufacturers are still walking the tightrope of working together – as frenemies – to continue to grab market share.

Where will it go next? Now we even have color-tunable light bulbs being sold in the Apple store. Perhaps one day the line between lighting and tech will become indistinguishable too.

Media, tech, lamp, fixture…lines are blurring in 2014. Is this a good or bad thing? Does it matter anymore?

Lisa J Reed photo - Lighting Blog

Lisa J. Reed has been attracted to lighting (like a moth to a flame) for 20+ years. She is the Founding Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC in St. Louis, where she designs, teaches, and writes about architectural lighting.


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