The LED Gold Rush


by Fabrizia Ianiro

Whoever observes the LED lighting industry’s current “Gold Rush” may feel overwhelmed. Is the bubble about to burst? We think not. Worldwide energy goals widely proclaimed by governments, albeit not at the same pace, suggest that this is just the beginning.

There is a lot of new and tough competition. By the time a manufacturer presents a technical advancement, a new product is already proposed by the competition. Some announcements can be overblown with claims that may not reflect genuine technological progress.

The path to success with LED lighting is more complex than it was in the tungsten era.

Driven by the need to quickly bring new lights to market, while achieving cost-savings, manufacturers often find themselves with timescales too short to provide enough time to recover their investments. Especially those located in political-economic areas (Europe!) that are enacting cautionary monetary policies and uncompetitive exchange rates with little support from the system as a whole.

Manufacturers are at a crossroads.

One path leads to today’s booming gold mine, to exploit before it runs out; the other leads to a long-term, long-lasting outlook and a business model based on professionalism, core skills and integrity.

As with cooking, the ingredients are what matters with LEDs. Creating awareness about the importance of the invisible ingredients inside a good LED is, however, a difficult task.

The maintenance of LED performance throughout its life (color, output, etc.) demands suitable mechanical design, redundant cooling and stable electronics: qualities not visible to the naked eye.  Which is why it is important to provide technical information in marketing.

What is the value of a LED guarantee for thousands of hours of life if the driver and the LED engine cannot sustain even a fraction of its lifespan? And will service be a headache if the supplier is no longer there for support and upgrades in two or three years from now?

Customers should be asking themselves: “After the Gold Rush, who will be there?”

We plan on being there. Ianiro has been manufacturing lights since 1948. We take pride in the lighting products we developed and built. As Neil Young said in “After the Gold Rush,” with LED lighting, we will be “flying Mother Nature’s silver seed to a new home in the sun.”

Fabrizia Ianiro is Managing Director of Ianiro and Ianiro LED, based in Rome and Trento, Italy

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