The lighting market is no stranger to change, but what’s about to happen next in a market space that can easily account for more than 20% of the typical electrical distributor’s annual sales is truly mind-boggling.
Lighting evolved incrementally during the 1980s-1990s, moving toward ever-more-efficient fluorescent and HID systems and then made a dramatic pivot toward LEDs in the early years of the 21st century. The better lighting distributors adapted to a swarm of LEDs that have totally transformed the lighting business, but it’s still too early to tell how they will do in the next age of digital lighting, where new capabilities like web-based remote control and customizable lighting scenes, light levels and color will offer building owners, home owners and other end users a new digital palette they can use to paint their buildings with light. Along with these new digital lighting control capabilities, lighting is quickly being linked to other building systems like HVAC and security, which opens up the lighting market to new partnerships and potential competitors.
To help readers separate the players from the pretenders in this brave new world of lighting, Electrical Wholesaling’s editors have put together what we think is a fascinating editorial package this month. In the articles that follow, you will find what two insightful commentators on the lighting world think about the chances electrical distributors have of surviving in the lighting market in the coming years — Bill Attardi, publisher of www.energywatchnews.com and a 50-year veteran of the lighting wars, and Chris Brown, CEO of Wiedenbach-Brown, Hawthorne, N.Y.
Rounding out this month’s lighting package is a Q&A with Gary Trott, Cree’s vice president of product strategy, about the partnership his company has engineered with Cisco to integrate his company’s SmartCast intelligent lighting with Cisco’s new Digital Ceiling.