This week: Conventional lighting declining faster than expected, further churn in the Internet of Things, and the Philips SlimSurface.
Philips SlimSurface: light-guide downlight
Philips has introduced a third lighting product using "Slim" in the name, though the new downlight bears no apparent technological resemblance to the SlimStyle A19 replacement bulbs or BR30s. The Philips Lightolier SlimSurface is an edge-lit downlight using light-guide technology, intended for surface mounting. Philips (which sponsors this site) claims this downlight is the very thinnest on the market at 5/8 inch (15.9 mm).
The new luminaire has an LM70 lifetime of 50,000 hours and is Energy Star qualified. Eventually, the line will include round (5" or 7") and square (4" or 6") luminaires in a variety of CCT, CRI, and lumen output choices. Initially, it's a choice of one: five inches, round, matte white finish, 3,000K CCT, 80 CRI, and 630 lm. LEDs Magazine reports that this option will be available at the end of this month for a retail price of $40-$50.
When the seven-inch round, 3,000K CCT, 90 CRI, 980 lm version is available, one is going posthaste on to my bathroom ceiling and another into my laundry room.
Internet of Things underpinnings
In July, we noted the entry of Thread into the crowded and confusing world of home networking wireless protocols. The Thread Group was founded by nine companies, including Google's Nest, Samsung, ARM, Big Ass Fans (that's the actual company name), and Silicon Labs.
Thread just hosted a gathering at Google headquarters and opened membership to all comers. The group says it has fielded queries from 800 interested companies since Thread was announced three months back. Sticking to the timetable announced at launch, Thread will have final technical documentation available to members by May 2015 and will start certifying manufacturers soon thereafter.
One of the Thread founders, ARM, designs the cores underpinning the CPUs that power almost all smartphones and tablets sold today. Those devices might run iOS, Android, or some other operating system on their ARM-designed hardware. (ARM doesn't make hardware. It just licenses chip designs and instruction-set architectures. Apple, for example, makes its own silicon using ARM cores as building blocks.)
ARM is now pulling together the pieces to offer its own operating system, Mbed, which will run on ARM-licensed CORTEX-M-based microcontrollers. Its vision is that Mbed will be the brains inside each device in the Internet of Things -- light bulbs, locks, thermostats, fans, etc., as well as street lights and air conditioning controls. Mbed is being designed to support the Thread goals of low power usage and low latency, and the Mbed OS will run the Thread stack natively.
ARM summarizes the goals for Mbed this way: "Bringing together the leading embedded and cloud tech companies to build an ecosystem capable of creation and deployment of IoT solutions at scale."
Mbed will be available to ARM's partners in the initiative -- which include NXP, IBM, Freescale, Marvell, and Salesforce -- this year. Reusable software components, libraries, and other tools will be hosted on Mbed.org.
Conventional lighting going, going
The head of Philips's conventional lighting business, René van Schooten, told a meeting of shareholders in London that the company's non-LED lighting is falling off faster than anticipated. Van Schooten blamed the decline on a combination of economic malaise, slower-than-projected new building construction, and changing consumer habits. The decline is not going to make it any easier to sell off the lighting division, as Philips plans to do.
— Keith Dawson , Editor-in-Chief, All LED Lighting