Trends

What We Learned From This Year’s Lighting for Tomorrow Competition

Connected Lighting

An Opportunity to Connect
Connected lighting and lighting system trends have continued and there are now a significant number of products with a variety of different connected features. In addition to adjusting light levels and tuning color, consumers have the ability to set scenes, control their lights remotely and interconnect them with other home systems. However with these products come new considerations: a need for additional components (hubs and gateways), integration into smart homes (compatibility), standby power consumption, data security, and user interfaces. As standards for communication, security, and interoperability develop, and industry continues to gain experience in this space, we anticipate seeing more new ideas and improvements in connected lighting entries.

Dimming

The Dimming of a New Era
Dimming allows individuals to adjust light levels for specific entertainment options, enhance ambiance, set a mood, and take advantage of daylight to reduce energy use. One of the improvements we are seeing with LEDs is their ability to dim and dim well. The 2016 judges noticed a marked improvement in the quality of dimming, as well as a reduction in the flicker exhibited by dimmable products this year. It appears that dimmers and driver circuitry are being improved so that more products are compatible with a larger variety of dimmers.

Lighting Kits and Customization

Variety is the Spice of Light
A new trend seen this year expanded the idea of lighting customization by using interchangeable parts or lighting kits so that fixtures could be easily and quickly tailored to the intended applications. Hard-to-install lighting including rail and stair lighting, indirect room lighting and in-cabinet and shelf lighting now come with options that make the lighting more functional and better looking as well as easier to install. The associated controls for the systems allow consumers to manage preset lighting profiles by room and adjust light color and output.

LED Dim-to-Warm Products

Warm Wishes

Similar to color tuning, more manufacturers are attempting to mimic the warm color produced by incandescent and halogen lighting sources at a dimmed state with LED technology, given that it’s an aesthetic trait that many consumers enjoy. Dim-to-warm technology for LEDs has been emerging and improving in recent years, with many products attempting to deliver warm dimming performance similar to that of incandescent bulbs. In the past many of these products have turned too amber, and the increased quality of dim-to-warm entries was a noticeable development this year.


Color Tuning

Singing a Different Tune
While color tuning has long been a hallmark of LED products, it has also been complicated and expensive to achieve smooth color changes and easy color coordination. This year more LFT entries took advantage of the unique color attributes of LEDs and we saw both lamps and fixtures that include provisions to enhance areas of the home by adjusting the color of the lighting.