Is This Still the Lighting Industry?

We saw the recent announcement that Lunera Lighting has appointed John Bruggeman as its new CEO. He is a seemingly successful and highly qualified individual whose professional background includes zero experience in the lighting and electrical industries, but has an abundant amount of leadership experience with prominent Silicon Valley companies like Cadence, AOL and Netscape.

We noticed a well-intentioned and friendly note on LinkedIn sent in Bruggeman’s direction: “Welcome to the Lighting Industry, John!” That note inspired us to wonder if he is joining the lighting industry, or – if the lighting industry is shifting to become a small subset of his tech industry. Perhaps we are emerging to be a subsector – the Smart Buildings and Cities industry.

100 years ago, railroad companies thought they were in the railroad business. They eventually failed. Ones that realized they were in the transportation business succeeded.

20 years ago, companies believed they were in the mall/shopping center retail store business. Companies slow to adapt to online sales failed. Ones that invested and adapted quickly succeeded. And a bunch of new and nimble upstarts entered the space with no storefronts and are now great successes.

10 years ago, companies that thought they were in the movie rental business, eventually failed. Ones that realize that they are in the entertainment program delivery business are now succeeding.

It’s clear that most lighting product sales today are standard, no-frills fixtures. Dimming is a popular standard, but most fixtures sold and used today are not being utilized in applications that require or utilize high-tech features. The demand for smart fixtures is growing quickly – and someday might be a basic, standard expectation of future customers.

LIGHTFAIR used to have booths that showed lighting fixtures – and other booths that displayed lighting controls. In recent years, it’s hard to find a lighting fixture company that doesn’t incorporate some sort of smart controls into its exhibit. And, next week’s LIGHTFAIR will – for the first time – have a dedicated IoT Pavilion.

We continue to be inspired, amazed and impressed with the technologies that are enhancing and advancing the art and science of illumination. We are not predicting the end of the lighting industry, and we look forward to our continuous ride on this paradigm-shifting platform into an exciting, technologically-rich future.

May 4, 2017