The widespread shift to working from home has opened up vast opportunities to tap the home market for ergonomic LED lighting. Similarly, the current need to continuously disinfect surfaces offers LED anti-bacterial bulb makers a bigger market. This sector is, therefore, well placed to adapt and thrive even during a pandemic.
By Vishal Kaul
The global economy is facing an unprecedented crisis today, with the continuous spread of COVID-19 having turned the world upside down in just the first few months of 2020. Every single company is finding new ways to do business in the midst of this pandemic as it impacts every strata of life – from businesses and organisations, to entire communities and individuals. Day-to-day life within the lighting industry is no different. While there are innumerable setbacks in such a situation, there will be some positive impact through which various innovations will be ‘brought to light’. As has been observed in the past, times like these have fuelled the greatest of innovations. Even though there will be a paradigm shift in the way we live and work, these innovations will change our lives for the better, thus becoming an integral part of our future.
- Working and staying at home for long periods of time have become the new normal. Human-centric lighting is, therefore, the need of the hour. While it has been a buzzword in the lighting industry, it basically highlights how lighting affects a person’s health, productivity, well-being and comfort in a lit environment. In the near future, social distancing will be a semi-permanent reality adversely affecting work life. This will lead to irreversible changes in working styles including increased work from home, as a regular practice. Thus, the role of LEDs has become even more important in homes, not only providing soft ambient lighting at night for relaxation, but also sharp and bright lighting during working hours for better focus.
- Hygiene practices have evolved overnight to address the need to stay healthy and keep our homes safe from virus infections. Even though all the necessary care is being taken and sanitary rules are being sworn by, consumers are still on a constant lookout for additional methods to kill germs. Since last year, anti-bacterial LED bulbs have been one of the latest innovations to create a safe home. These bulbs, with advanced Envirosafe technology, kill up to 85 per cent of germs, keeping everyone healthy.
- Nowadays, people are mindful of touching any surface out of fear of infection. This has created an impetus for contactless and connected technology whereby one can control lighting options without touching the switches. There are a varied set of options available, which include controls through a smartphone or voice. These options can be explored for the home, while a single control command centre can be established for a commercial establishment. The Internet of Things (IoT) for lighting solutions have evolved accordingly, going far beyond their original functions. The current situation will require IoT control in the commercial sector – ensuring everyone’s health and safety, improving employee productivity, and driving operational efficiency through remote controls without mandatory physical presence/contact. In homes too, IoT and voice enabled controls for lighting along with other appliances/gadgets will gain momentum.
- While the world took a hit when China was in lockdown, the Indian consumer durable industry was also highly affected given that 45 per cent of the components required in the Indian electronics industry are imported from China. It is imperative for us, as an industry, to be more self-reliant with regard to our electrical and electronic components. With the ‘Make in India’ initiative, we do have the potential to provide world-class infrastructure and facilities.
The future outlook
Technology that combines smart features with energy efficiency is leading to smarter homes and commercial establishments. This has facilitated the growth of smart cities across the nation. This is a trend that can be seen in every organisation, community and home. Now, driving down costs will be a priority for every industry as well as home. It will lead to even more rapid adoption of energy-efficient lighting and controls.
Therefore, in the commercial B2B segment, there will be a shift towards energy efficiency in offices, IT parks and the infrastructure sector (including streetlights, airports, etc) through the adoption of LEDs and increased usage of renewable energy like solar power.
Besides the commercial B2B segment, the B2C segment will also change. Individuals and families will become more energy-conscious and embrace sustainability in their homes. They will replace conventional bulbs with LED options as these are not only energy-efficient but also reduce electricity bills and have a longer life. Moving beyond the industry segments, changes will be seen on a national level as well, keeping in mind the ‘Make in India’ initiative which will be one of the key focuses of the government as we can expect increased domestic component manufacturing in the long run.
Innovation is, hence, the key to enabling organisations to remain relevant enabling consumers to enjoy a better quality of life. These varied sets of innovations, that will be adopted to match changing lifestyles, can range from human-centric lighting to smart controls as well as anti-bacterial light sources.
In today’s day and age, crises and calamities will unfortunately keep recurring. However, viewed optimistically, they can be used to drive innovation, efficiency and a better way of living and working. Industries and organisations that lead the way in this will see themselves coming out of the current crisis faster and in better shape.
The author is the vice president – lighting, Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Limited.