Archive for the ‘General Commentary’ Category

Product development and management has evolved from the days of taking a shot on a hunch. In the days of fabricating products with minimal tooling, the risk of failure was low, and profit reward for success quite good. Who needed product management? Design it, build it, catalog it and get it to the reps and wait for the orders to roll in.

The lighting industry also has a long history of operating with lean management structures, particularly in small organizations. Ownership, Marketing, Engineering, Finance, Design, Engineering, and Sales all have a role in product development, planning and line maintenance. How well product management tasks are accomplished is (more…)

The “Internet of Things” has now become the newest, hottest marketing powerhouse. The scale of claims and the breadth of its application transcends lighting, so it eclipses popular lighting themes of Energy Efficiency and Human-Centric Lighting. The idea of everything being connected through the internet, accessible, upgradable, and monitored from anywhere at anytime is the big sell. Refrigerators that not only tell you when a product has expired, but automatically places an order for a replacement is one proposed far-reaching concept. Products that learn from our use cycles to adopt and send data to manufacturers for product development is another. Lighting that responds to local natural light conditions without local sensors. Power grids constantly adjusting in anticipation of user demand. Facilities managers, utilities, and end users accessing and monitoring building activity, condition, and (more…)

Full disclosure

I do not use, like, or support, the term “Human-Centric Lighting” or HCL, and the marketing of it. Nor am I convinced the bullish marketing of the term makes it any more attractive or legitimate. The term has been tagged onto so many crack-pot claims, unsupported promises, and misapplication of hand-selected, overly simplified misleading single-line extractions from legitimate studies, and anecdotal claims by unqualified “experts” – that it has become nothing more than an extension of the now discredited “Full Spectrum” marketing that has plagued lighting for decades. (more…)

A New Design Model

Posted: June 4, 2017 in General Commentary

Early Days

As a young lighting designer for an electrical engineer, fresh out of the USAF, I was quickly introduced to wide range of customers from very frugal to mega wealthy. From small retailers to chain grocery stores, or retirement homes to massive custom homes, single office lease space improvement to multi-story office complex, beverage warehouse to manufacturing plant – the range of customer experiences was exciting. Every job was a learning experience.

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Topline

Lighting Facts is a DOE funded program of information presentation specifically focused on LED products. Lighting Facts does not impose performance standards, it is designed to establish that data shown on the LF labels has been verified by certified test facilities.

Energy Star is an EPA program focused on interior lighting products, that establishes performance criteria as qualifiers for certification. The performance criteria include a wide range of performance metrics, including FCC compliance, power characteristics, and color consistency. All products must comply with current published specifications.

DLC QPL is a program of the Design Lights Consortium similar to ES in approach, qualifying product not included in the Energy Star program. By agreement, if ES covers a specific product, DLC is required to drop it. Products from older specifications remain in the QLP list, with no requirement to update imposed.

The value of these programs is to establish product performance credibility. All utilize the same core foundation: Certified lab testing and “off shelf” verification to enforce participant compliance. (more…)

Solid-state lighting technology is poised to cause an explosion of artistic lighting design that eclipses all before it. The opportunities to do great things is limitless, with a great many interesting applications have already come from utilizing it to great effect. LEDs and OLEDs open doors to creative work like nothing before them. While the technologists focus on saving energy and other metrics to satisfy any number of codes, comply with regulations and meet objective demands – artists are now finding ways to apply the technology to delight customers. This is what keeps me interested in this industry.

Vee Set

Background

My background in graphic arts was founded on a deep desire to delight people with creative work. As NCOIC of Graphics on Anderson Air Force Base, Guam,  I included art in otherwise mundane officious graphic presentations. There was a level of thrill when, as a lowly sergeant, a starred-up General seeks to you out to express his delight with a presentation.

The move from graphics to lighting design 36 years ago was fueled by the same desire to realize delighted customer response. Architects, Interior Designers and property owners, from home owners to casino operators, were the new delight-able generals to me. The addition of product design and development followed delight-able customers in manufacturing, coupling my design interests with my passion for making things with my hands. I’ve invested the last 11 years in solid-state technology in lighting for one reason – I see it as a new frontier in creating applications and products that delight customers. (more…)

I’m going to go right at this one head on. The assumption of quality being equated to price paid is a marketing strategy. There is no irrefutable fact or reality associating price with quality. This does not mean that high quality is not a value worth paying for. I am also not saying that there is no justification for paying a higher price to attain a higher level of quality. What I am saying is, the connection between cost and quality is not inseparable. You can achieve high quality at a low price, and you can suffer low quality at a premium. The region between bargain and rip-off is vast.

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Design is the work of assigning an appropriate level of quality in application and product selection, within the need and desire of the customer

To get a handle on this, let’s take a moment to define quality in minimal terms. I believe product and design quality is a composite of three core factors.

  1. Performance that meets the intended demand. In other words, does the product and/or design serve the need and desire of the customer?
  2. Physical integrity. Does the product and/or design include a high degree of fine fitment and refinement of finish, with minimal or no flaws appropriate to the intended use and application? Is the product and/or robust enough to endure or exceed the intended service lifetime?
  3. Service after Sale. Does the provider of the product and/or design stand behind the product, resolving any unforeseen error or failure in a timely and satisfactory manner?
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There are a great many pleasant, long-lasting, efficient, quality environments designed using modestly priced products well-selected.

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