Light is highly emotive

Recently, OSRAM has interviewed Klaus-Gunter Vennemann, CEO of the Business Unit General Lighting, regarding the trends in the lighting industry, the possibilities of LED and OLED and the highlight products of OSRAM at the Light & Building.

Light+Building is the world’s biggest trade fair for lighting and building-services technology and presents solutions that cut the energy consumption of a building at the same time as increasing the level of comfort. At the fair, everything is represented, from LED technology, via photovoltaic and electro-mobility, to intelligent electricity usages with smart metering and smart grids. Thanks to the combination of lighting and networked building-services technology, the companies can present an integrated spectrum of products and services that make a decisive contribution to exploiting the energy-saving potential of buildings to the full.

Light is highly emotive


What will be the major trends over the next few years with regard to digitization, new light sources and energy efficiency?


Klaus-Günter Vennemann: The LED will advance rapidly in the next five years, particularly in terms of increased energy efficiency. New possibilities in light design will emerge at the same time. We want to support our customers as best as we can in both areas.


Another aspect is communicating these new technologies. Customers want to know how to use them. Light management systems are a big issue in this connection, but I still think they are too complex industry-wide. Using practical software, we must enable the average person to take advantage of digitization.



The LED opens up an entirely new world of possibilities. What does that mean for OSRAM?


KGV: LEDs are the gamechangers of the lighting industry. In the next few years, LEDs will grow tremendously in importance along the entire value chain, from the components and luminaires, to the light management systems. For OSRAM, it will therefore become increasingly important to market intelligent light solutions. To this end, we have been strategically positioning ourselves along the entire value chain for some time now, not least by acquiring specialists like Siteco, Traxon and Encelium.



OSRAM now manufactures luminaires. Will that intensify along with the generally growing significance of design?


KGV: OSRAM primarily was a lamp manufacturer until now. By acquiring Siteco, OSRAM took a big step in entering the luminaire market. The interaction between luminaires and lamps is important to us for the future, because on this basis we can supply our customers with the right lighting solutions.



You mentioned LEDs, but what about OLEDs? They were the big sensation at the last Light & Building. Where are they heading?


KGV: The OLED (organic LED) is a technology that is very good for producing diffused light. We opened our first production facility in Regensburg in summer last year, and we continue to develop OLEDs there.


Another impressive achievement was the new efficiency record set in June 2011: it is 40 percent higher than all peak values ever measured before. Our first commercial OLED applications, at the TÜV SÜD testing and inspection organization and the Allianz Arena in Munich are leading the way in this area. Introduced in 2009, our Orbeos is the first mass-produced panel designers can work with.


Light control already exists today. But a lot of new things undoubtedly will be going on in light control in the future, especially in reference to energy efficiency. When will it become an issue for private homes?


KGV: Something known as “ZigBee” technology will reach private homes relatively quickly. It is a standardization designed to make mass-market use affordable. We will be integrating it in our lamps in the future. With it, users will be able to operate each lamp individually, and lamps will be able to communicate with one another.


We are working on combining light control with a relatively simple remote control device. Specific profiles can be stored in the remote, enabling users to switch on the lighting atmosphere they want at any given moment, all at the press of a button.



How will street lighting illuminate our towns in the future? Will advancements in street lighting also lead to reductions in energy consumption?


KGV: First of all, the number of lighting units will increase significantly around the globe as a result of explosive urbanization. However, light also is used for advertising and communication. In other words, light is not only for illumination; it also has become a communication medium.


For this reason, we will have to consider effective control more than ever in the future. For example, do all the streets in town really need to be fully illuminated at three o’clock in the morning? Everyone knows that we have to manage energy more intelligently in the future, and light is a critical factor. Take a look at overall power consumption and you’ll see that light makes up 20 percent. As a manufacturer offering complete lighting systems, we are among the leaders in acknowledging this development. Today, three out of four of our products already are classified as energy-efficient based on very strict criteria.



Light is associated with numerous emotions. Is that why consumers are so receptive to the subject? And why communicating these topics is not always easy?


KGV: That’s true. Light really is highly emotive. In our private lives, a car usually is our biggest purchase. But the purchase that affects us most, because we spend most of our time in it, is light.



Final question, Mr. Vennemann: Can you give us a preview of some of the products OSRAM will be showcasing at Light & Building this year?


KGV: OSRAM positioned itself last year as a complete supplier, and can offer products and solutions to meet the entire range of customer needs. This fact will be reflected in the various products and solutions we are presenting at Light & Building 2012, including the first LED substitute for the 75W incandescent lamp in Europe, our first LED module to Zhaga standards, the safe way into the world of LED street lighting and the latest generation of light management systems.

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