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First LightingEurope Summit – An Outstanding Figure in the Lighting Branch, Hands Over His Responsibilities

Diederik de Stoppelaar, one of the most influential and esteemed personalities in the lighting branch, has retired and passed over his responsibilities to Ourania Georgoutsakou. One of his last activities was initiating the first LightingEurope Summit, a one-day program, where a number of respected and eloquent lecturers were invited to speak. The venue, The Steigenberg Wiltcher's, in Brussels, was a good choice for this first of its kind event. About 150 lighting specialists, friends, and colleagues of Diederik de Stoppelaar attended the conference and farewell event.

The prelude was the first highlight. Based on market figures backed by some existing examples, Prof. Dr. Silvia Leal from the IE Business School in Madrid, encouraged the audience to welcome the ongoing changes and to accept the challenge by not seeing them as hurdles but as new chances. In her intense lecture “How to Survive the Digital Tsunami”, she explained that it is expected that in 10 years, 47% of current jobs will be gone and replaced by new ones. The only chance to survive is to adapt and find new applications. She identified drones, IoT, augmented reality, 3D printing and “gamification” as the most promising success factors. Furthermore, she invited the audience to find and follow their passion, as this is responsible for 35% of successes while only 15% of the people have a match between their job and their passion.

Peter Hunt talked in his function as LightingEurope Vice President about the strategic roadmap. He reminded the audience that from a costs perspective in a business, approximately 90% are related to staff and only 1% is related to energy. A logical consequence is to find options to reduce staff costs because further cost reduction in energy usage has almost no effect. LightingEurope will concentrate its future activities on “LEDification”, mainly in respect to lifetime metrics and customs codes, by lobbying intelligent lighting that should be treated as a black box with an interface to other intelligent systems focusing on emergency lighting. Circular economy with all its aspects, (something that LpS visitors already know from Mr. De Stoppelaar’s keynote lecture last year), was the third big topic.

Birgit Weidel from the EU, Director General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs talked about “Ensuring Safer and Fairer Markets. She presented the ongoing work and simplification attempts for CE labeling, especially in regards to the “Low Voltage Directive”. Technical requirements and not technical solutions should be the basis for a self-declaration.

John Higgins, representing the much bigger sister organization, DigitalEurope, gave a talk entitled:  “Digital Transformation – It’s Where the Money Is”. He emphasized that currently just 2% of Europeans are utilizing the advantages of digitalization. He feels that this is a big opportunity because digital mature companies grow 6 times faster. He also recognizes the risks of digitalization and presented a to-do list necessary for success, which included improvement of infrastructure, foster skills and tech leadership, guide regulators and politicians, and actions to lower privacy concerns.

“Intelligent Lighting Systems of The Future” was Dr. James Mckenzie’s topic. The PhotonStar LED Group CEO stated that current controls systems for lighting already cover all that is essentially needed. Some of the ones he listed were: PoE, PowerLine, different wireless systems, Lightify, VLC/BT beaconing, smart city systems, etc. The intrinsic issues of intelligent lighting lie, in his opinion, somewhere else, and he explained it using his own system, halcyon, as an example. Security can be an issue either because it’s not sufficient or it if is too rigorous. In the latter case, you can be locked out of your own system without any chance of recovery. But even without this extreme example, it’s evident that services beyond illumination are required. Furthermore, the money lies in the services and not in the sold hardware.

After the lunch break, the HCL session started with Prof. Christian Cajochen’s talk, “Human Centric Lighting – Beyond Our Eyes: The Non-Visual Impact of Light”. Readers of the LED professional Review and attendees of the LpS 2016 might already know a good part of the presented data and facts. A thorough summary of this complex topic would clearly go beyond the scope of this brief report but a very brief summary would be: Blue light of 480 nm has the biggest impact on melatonin levels. 11.2 lux already suppresses melatonin. In white light, the spectral composition is relevant. On average, 120 lux is necessary to achieve maximum alertness. Tablets and smartphones are used at distances where blue light levels exceed the critical threshold for melatonin suppression.

Prof. Andreas Schulz from IALD presented a completely different interpretation of Human Centric Lighting. He stated that he had only heard the term about 2 to 3 years ago, for the first time, even though good lighting design was already considering this approach. As the son of the renowned Austrian architect Hans Hollein, Max Hollein, the director of the Städel-Museum in Frankfurt, asked not to illuminate the objects, but rather to offer a pleasant lighting atmosphere for visitors in the underground exhibition space extension. The sophisticated early LED solution that supports daylight, perfectly fulfills this requirement and is recognized as having significant influence on the greatly increased visitor counts since the installation. From his lecture one has the feeling that HCL lighting is the only good lighting.

Another highlight of the event was Dr. Ian Jordan’s lecture “Lighting and Health – The Invisible Epidemic?”. The presentation was less of a lecture and more of a demonstration on the effects light can have on people. While not yet statistically or scientifically proven, the shown effects make one think differently about light. Some examples he showed were: Pain that disappears within minutes under certain light conditions; squints that disappear when some wavelengths are filtered; extreme dyslexia that disappears spontaneously under filtered light; Parkinson tremors that stop immediately with the right filter, and much more. The answer to the question of how many people are affected by such deficiencies that could be cured or relieved in this way was frightening: Almost 10% of all people suffer without knowing it, under one or the other deficit and 1-3% have heavy deficits that limit them extremely. He concluded that the right light could be very beneficial.

“Circular Economy and Lighting Industry: An EU Perspective”, presented by Pierre Henry from the EU DG Environment, was one of LightingEurope’s strategic topics. Mr. Henry discussed the EU Eco label as well as the relevant key issues, hazardous substances, critical raw materials, and recyclability. He also gave an overview of EU funding, investments, and programs related to this topic.

The last talk from LightingEurope’s president, Jan Denneman was a summary of what the audience had heard throughout the day. He addressed the paradigm shift in lighting, especially for the organization members, and he reminded them of LightingEurope’s goals. He then gave the floor to Diederik de Stoppelaar for his farewell speech.

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