Thursday, 29 October 2015

Top 8 in Smart Lighting

From mood adjusting to music playing and even an alarm, lighting is getting more and more smarter and here are 8 of the best smart lighting technology available now. Besides the fact they are super cool, they also save you a lot of money and last longer than your regular incandescent light. technologies 

Philips Hue 

Philips Hue allows you to control your lighting system at home, by connecting your Lightbulbs bulbs to your smartphone. All you need to do is download the app and your up and running. 

It gives you full control of the brightness, colour and timing - meaning you can now schedule your light to come on as you approach your house or change moods just before you smuggle up in bed. The long range connection also allows you to be miles away and still be in control of your lighting system. The careful production of the Philips Hue makes it a sensible, technical and an overall great addition to your home

Elgato Avea

Do not let the the classic look fool you, this light is as smart as they come. From one single device it allows you to control the mood lighting for up to 10 different bulbs. You can also keep it all in one colour or choose from seven different themes. 

Compatible with almost all devices from iPhones to iPads. The 7w LED screwable Light bulb is extremely energy efficient and has class A energy rating. 

It does not stop there, this light can also be an alarm clock that is capable to be set at a chosen time!. The only downside to it is the app, as it looks a tad simple and can also be hard to use for an android 

Osram Lightify range 

Osram introduces you to a lighting technology thats truly innovative and ahead of its time. whether its your garden or your bedroom you can guarantee having a light which adjusted to your moods and requirements. The bundle pack of gardenspot and normal led bulbs also comes with a gateway which acts as a router and connects you to your lighting wherever you may be, no seriously you don't even need to have wifi in your house. This product also has 16million colour (didn't even know there was that much) you can adjust to, and a 2000-6500 range in colour temperature - 2000 being extremely warm to 6500k being daylight. 

One thing i think is extremely cool is how you can take a picture of any object and the light can adjusted to colour of that object!. Having said all of this, lightify technology is definitely dressed to impress. 

Belkin Wemo LED Lighting starter set 

The belkin Wemo is a direct replacment for a 60w incandescent bulb and therefore is not capable of mood changing. You can choose from bayonet cap or a Edison screw each rated at 800 lumens. This is a little less than classic incandescent, but 800 lumens is still a great amount of output and with the added technology it sets it apart from your original incandescent light. The wemo pack acts as bridge between the wifi connection and the bulb.

You can set rules which can control your dimming and when your light turns on and off. you can also include a sleep period just like your tv. 

the app is relatively easy to use and as the Wemo pack acts as a wifi router you don't need to connect it to your router at home. Although the price can seem hefty it stands as a good introduction to smart lighting.


This product is relatively expensive but you get a bulb of very high quality. Similar to the Elgato Avea  multiple colours can be controlled with this light - given you 16 million colour choices!. furthermore, you can control all the light at the same time and set an alarm for yourself. 

the difference with this product is that it can replace a 75w halogen and still last for up to 27 year, an investment worthwhile.

Senled Pulse 

This products has all features of a smart light such as; dimming control. connect it to a bluetooth device, once paired then you can hear your favourite music from a your Lightbulb! This is another slightly expensive product but when you think about it you get two products in one.

1byone Smart LED Bulb 

Similar to the senled pulse above this also contains an LED lightbulb and a bluetooth speaker. however, this product has the ability to change colour while playing music. 

initially there are translation issues with the Chinese app, but once you are able to click on the lamp tab you can control the brightness and colour of the lamp. this contains a lumen light output of 300 which is similar to 20w-30w halogen light, meaning it is not able to light a whole room single handedly. 

the white light is very cold and slightly bullish and does not have the same quality output in comparison to LIFX and HUE. However the idea of having a light evolving, relatively cheap, music playing light bulb is quite tempting. 

Lava BrightSounds  

Having a light which can play music at home is pretty cool but what about if you have that light all the time. Step in the Lava Bright,  its dimmable,  water proof, reachargeable and oh yeah it can also answer one phone calls. Personally I think this is the creme de la creme of speaker/lighting products and one which would be a great addition to your camping kit or even a barbecue in your garden.   

This blog post was adapted from "PCadvisor, 11 best smart lightbulbs 2015/2016: Best smart LED bulbs, smart lighting, mood lighting and speaker bulbs for your UK connected home" , 03/11/15 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Astronauts use Lighting Technology to grow potatoes in space!

Well martian was not a myth after all,  as NASA have announced their latest technology which uses LED Lighting to enable the growth of vegtables in space.  Martian for those who don't know is a film stared by actor matt damon which describes a mans struggle for survival in space.

Matt demon's quest for survival in martian 

Under those harsh natural circumstances an astronaut named Mark Watney (matt damon's character)  created a way in which he can reproduce potatoes. He achieved this by cutting them down to smaller sizes and then increasing the temperature in his survival pod to ensure the right environment is available for growth. The release of the film was prior to the unveiling of water being found in mars,  so he also had to create water to ensure the irrigation of the potatoes.  

survival of the fittest. Matt demon working on his crop in new film Martian

Planet earth is blessed with large amount of water for irrigating the plants and a huge supply of sunlight for keeping the plant healthy. In contrast space doesn't posses great amount of this, meaning most plants will need to be grown indoors. Step up the latest LED grow light system technology from NASA called the veggie developed by orbital technologies. It assist scientist to grow plantation in zero gravity conditions.
This lighting system emits a purple and almost magenta coloured beam that is necessary in stimulating the growth of the plant.  Although the only colours required to grow plants are Red and Blue, green was thrown into the mix in order to neutralise the purple light and make the plant look more edible.

DR Rey Wheeler, leader of advanced life support activities from the Exploration Research and Technology program in Kennedy said " they are probably the most efficient in terms of electrical power conversion. The green LEDs help to enhance the human visual perception of the plants, but they don't put out as much light as the red and blues" 

would you like some lettuce from space?- researchers investigating the growth of plantation in space  

 However if humans were to live in space growing food is not the only problem. Mars averages -80and that is well below freezing point making mars very difficult to live in, but even to say the necessary insulation is equipped on the planet, people will still need to eat and growing some vegetables won't be enough to create a inhabitable environment for humans. Oxygen and water are also necessities which need to be used resourcefully in space. the lack of water means irrigation of plants has to preciece and calculated. NASA funded research for bioserve space technologies, a non profit research centre situated at the university of colorado in order to look at the the connection between the amount of water and leaf rigidity. They found on earth were water is in high supply traditional irrigation gives leaves more water then they actually need . This hypothesis then was further developed by AgriHouse brands as they created sensors to be installed on leaves that determine the amount of water that particular leaf requires.  

The wonders of intelligence and handwork is highlighted beutifully on martian as matt demon has to be both resourcefull and patient in order to survive. Thats enough of me giving the plot away but it goes to show what the human is capable off if his back is against the wall and with further developments technology space does not seem to far away.  

This blog post was adapted from LEDinside "How Astronauts Might be Able to Grow Martian Potatoes with NASA Lighting Technology" 08/06/2015

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Top 5 Trends of Retail Lighting

5 reasons why Retail Lighting is becoming trendy 

Energy efficient LED Retrofits 

Retail was amongst the first industries to embrace LED Lighting, due to the great amount of energy saved compared to energy consuming halogens. Big influential retails are announcing their investment to new LED products almost daily, companies such as : Sainsbury's, Tesco, Next and Walmart are all choosing LED as their pereferd Lighting technology. Although, generally speaking the amount that has switched to LEDs are a minority and are mainly companies who have good resources and economical strength. This however has not deterred the growth of LEDs as its becoming more affordable, it will  only be a matter of time when LEDs are everywhere. 

Bringing Light to your Brand 

With the surge of online shopping, high-street shops are required to create an environment which not only enhances their brand but is also consumer friendly. This has made lighting more important and specific in distinguishing  yourself amongst competitors. This trend is increasingly becoming essential to the overall brand image of a retailer.

Colourful Technology 

Colour has always been important in retail shopping, it express the personality of the shop. Halogens have always set the benchmark for the quality of light. Furthermore some believe LEDs compromise this and the light the given by LEDs are too bright and halogens have always set the benchmark for the quality of light . This can be true if you go with a cheap low quality LED Light getting manufactured somewhere in China but overall with the LED technology available now, those people are currently chocking on their words. LEDs have not only become more  energy efficient they are also out performing halogen in terms of the quality of light. For instances the new Philips GU10 has a CRI rating of 90 which basically means it outputs an extremely crisp HD light.

Quality Driven 

Their has been many examples of cheap LEDs being bought by retail shops and subsequently causing them many problems. instead of thinking about the quality of the lightbulb they consider saving money purchase a second hand cheap LED and end up with their shop looking dim and their clothes looking like something from the dressing room of a horror film. However those days are coming to an end as that small proportion of the LED market is being tamed. 

Lights have new purpose 

How would feel if light has the ability to guide you around the shop and send you offers while your looking at an item of interest?. Well now it has been made possible,  all thanks to the highly adavanced super accurate positioning systems powered by LED Lights. This systems influences light in way which is not visible to the human eye but can be picked up the camera on your phone!. The light carries specific coding which the phone uses to locate its exact position. Lighting company EldoLED have created an award winning positioning system and have already installed it in several US retail shops. Philips are currently investigating their own Positioning system in a Netherlands museum.

All in all their is some way to go until LEDs truly take over the retail lighting industry. However recent development of innovating LED technology might give brick-and-mortar retailers have hope in a digital dominated industry. 

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

LEDs are ready to light up the world of Sport.

There was a time when one static camera and a floodlight tower in four corners of the stadium represented the modern day broadcasting of sporting events. Times have drastically changed, to the point were high definition slow motion replays have now increased the video speed by an original 70 frames per second to a whopping 300 frames per second, reducing the chances of any flickering in  the video. Having said all of that, the demand for a flicker free lighting is continuing to gain momentum and was actually included in the lighting design specification for the London olympics in 2012. Stadiums are capable of meeting this broadcasting demand by installing the traditional metal halide floodlights with an electronic control gear or alternatively LEDs

In August 2014, a preseason football game between the premiere league champions Chelsea and Spanish side Real Sociedad was completely light by LED's.  This was the first time in which LED lighting was used in English football. The LEDs used in stamford bridge (the home to Chelsea FC) was supplied by LED giant Philips. The momentum however did not stop there as southampton was the next english football team which installed these energy saving LED lights at their St Mary's stadium. This was supplied by Vision Accendo,   a local lighting company

Musco, a 40 year old US based lighting specialist company are single handedly responsible for the LED lighting of 60 sporting facilities last year. This is still suprisingly a small figure in comparison to the 2.000  lighting projects which Musco are aiming to conclude by the end of the year, using LEDs and other lighting technologies. These projects include Twickenham Rugby stadium, the train centre for the Denver Broncos and the NRG Stadium home to Houston Texans (American Football team).

Floodlighting seems to be the piece in the jigsaw that Philips are aiming to fill up with LEDs, according to Mike Simpson the technical and design director of Philips " Floodlights are one the last places LEDs are taking over". Proir to the world cup in brazil dutch technology company ArenaVision installed metal halide system aiming to optimise HDTV, Super Slow Motion and 3Ds. However it now looks as though this technology is wearing off the vice president of lighting giant Musco highlihted  " Metal halide has reached its zenith, while the energy efficiency and quality of LED lighting is still rising".

This was further brought to attention by this year's Super Bowl being taken place under LED lights. This event is American Football's answer to the World cup final and is one the most watched sporting events in the world.  

Overall its hard to disagree, LEDs are not just a force to be reckoned with anymore they are the go to technology in lighting and who knows maybe the next time you go watch your favourite sporting team you will be light up by LEDs

This blog post was adapted from:
ISSUU-Lux special- Hospitality by Revo media 

Monday, 24 August 2015

LED solutions, a smart investment

Studies have suggested that energy management strategies are vital to the overall financial condition of an organisations. Deloitte combined with market research and strategy firm harrison to create the detailed fifth annual nationwide recourses study. This study discussed the connection between efficient energy management and profit generation in more detail   

Some companies have been shrewd in installing energy management strategies which aim to decrease the amount of energy accumulated. Evidence suggests that this strategic approach to energy reduction contributes to many financial advantages both for owners and investors. There has been a number of financial and energy analysts, companies and private investors who believe in this theory and have accepted the fact that good sufficient energy management has a direct influence to the profit in which an organisations generates.

Statistically speaking in the US 79% of companies in 2015 have suggested that the reduction of electricity cost is essential in reducing expenses and staying financially competitive. Interestingly, recent research from three economist, tow from hazard and one in the London school of economics attempted to find out the truth behind this relationship of profit and sustainable energy management. The researchers asked 90 companies all operating in the same sector and of the same size and capital power. 50% of the companies instilled a sustainable energy strategy with a look at long term investment and 50% didn't. The results showed that those who did would see their $1 (£0.63) invested turn into $22.60 (£14.33) in a 16 year span in comparison to $15.40 (£9.76) for companies who failed to do so.

Specifically speaking the the telegraph posted an article written by Richard Evans (11 Apr 2014) suggesting that LED light bulbs can save a costumer £240 a year. It also has the capability of paying for itself after just 5 months. 

LED bulbs are 10 times more efficient than your standard filament bulb and has the ability to change light into electricity more efficiently. This is showcased by the difference in the amount of wattage needed to operate the lightbulb. For an example a master LED spot MV value bulb only uses 4.3W and is equivalent to 50W.

LED lighting solutions and energy management control systems are new technologies that can be easily installed and can dramatically reduce your expenses. This will have an influence in your financial capability and ultimately increase your profit. 

Making LEDs a smart investment 

This blog post was adapted from:
Deloitte reSources 2015 study; Energy management passes the point of no return
the telegraph 11 Apr 2014; Richard Evans.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Scientists have found a way to make LEDs even more energy efficient!

We all know that LEDs can do wonders for our energy bills and help us reduce our carbon footprint but some people are reluctant to pay out the initial cost for the long term investment that LEDs are. Hopefully this is all about to change. 

Scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA are leading research to find a more sustainable and cheaper white LED. Although LEDs are everywhere now, more widespread use of the technology is limited due to the cost of the raw materials used to manufacture them and issues with light output. 
Researchers at Rutgers University have hoping to overcome these obstacles. Currently, the soft white colour that can be achieved in an LED is a blue coloured LED chip with a phosphor coating, this is how warmer colours of LEDs are created. This coating is made from materials which are composed of rare-earth elements, these elements are in short supply and are expensive. 

The research team at Rutgers University, led by Jing Li, is developing a hybrid phosphor based technology that will be much more sustainable, efficient and of a lower cost. This hybrid will use common and earth-abundant metals with organic luminescent molecules which will make it much easier to control the light that is created from the LED. 

This new research will hopefully bring down the already drastically falling price of LEDs so that more people will make the change to LED. Zhichao Hu, a member of Li's team has commented that,  'if more people in the US used LEDs in their homes and businesses, the country's electricity consumption could be cut in half.' He added that studies have shown that if every American house hold swapped one incandescent lamp for an LED it could save the country a staggering $700 million in annual energy costs. 

This shows the significant impact LEDs can have not just on our own energy bills but those of the world, perhaps if this new research brings out a change in the cost of LEDs, the world will be a much more energy efficient place, sooner than we had hoped. 

This blog post was adapted from . August 19th, 2015

Thursday, 13 August 2015

New Safety Benefits of LEDs and the Internet of Everything

The internet of everything is becoming increasingly discussed as the future of our society, in previous blogs we have explored how LEDs fits into this digital world but now it has been discovered that LEDs and the industrial internet can be used to benefit our safety.
Designs that combine LEDs with wireless sensors and data-transmitting technology have been successfully implemented for safety uses in cities in Brazil and Spain. 
The Brazilian city of Bauru, hometown of the famous football player Pelé, in the state of Sao Paolo is one of Brazil's most densely populated centres with extremely high volumes of traffic. These issues are cause for concern in the UN 'decade for Action for Road Safety 2011-20'. The purpose of this foundation is to reduce the ever increasing numbers of traffic fatalities and to save five million lives in the ten year period. 
Obviously good lighting is crucial in this so in 2013 Bauru partnered with lighting company GE to convert over 2,000 traffic lights to LED. These LED signals last ten times longer than the traditional lights used and reduce energy consumption by up to 80%. In terms of safety for road users, these LED traffic lights produce greater visibility and clearer colours, this reduces risk of drivers being distracted by the intense Brazilian sunlight. There are nearly 3,400 traffic accidents in the world every day but Bauru and GE's contribution is helping to bring that figure down, perhaps other cities in the world should follow their lead. 
Not only could LEDs reduce the amount of traffic accidents, the introduction of wireless sensored infrastructures is able to give advance warnings of natural disasters. Although this is a problem that doesn't really enter our day to day concerns in Britain, the reality is that in the last 25 years there has been a staggering 850,000 deaths in the world due to natural disasters. This amounts to $3,300 billion in economic damage, a figure that's pretty incomprehensible. 
The the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities initiative is a campaign created to help cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing of our modern society. As part of this initiative the La Garrotxa region in Spain is devoting itself to reduce the death toll of natural disasters by developing a daily monitoring system that will provide early earthquake and flood warnings. La Garrotxa is located to the northeast of Barcelona and between the Mediterranean and the Pyranees and is known for its volcanic landscape. It has become one of the first test sites for this new kind of early warning system. This new technology uses Wifi and 40 different types of environmental sensors managed through a dashboard and enables local officials to monitor local river levels for early signs of flooding and can also measure temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels which could be used to detect forest fires which the area is prone to. These examples show the possible safety features of LEDs and wireless technologies that could be employed within fire and police departments in addition to government offices. Making our infrastructures more sophisticated will allow us to transmit crucial data at the speed of light, creating safer cities and a safer world. 

Blog post adapted from Illuminated minds article 'LEDs put safety first' July 14 2015