A new report from the M2M/IoT analyst firm Berg Insight ranks connected LEDs as the most promising vertical market segment in IoT. The global shift from inefficient traditional light bulbs to energy saving LED technology is creating a massive window of opportunity for adding connectivity to the next generation of lighting systems. Between 2014 and 2023, the global share of lamps sold based on LED technology is expected to rise from 15 percent to 74 percent. Over the same period the market value is expected to fall by 30 percent due to price deterioration and longer product lifespan. Berg Insight believes that the global lighting industry will respond to these challenging conditions by adding connectivity features to mass-market products.
There are currently some 40 billion lamp sockets worldwide and by the next decade, three out of four new lamps installed will be LEDs. Once you add connectivity to this equation, you will have the number one volume application for IoT, said Tobias Ryberg, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight.
Using the US as an example, Ryberg points out that nearly 2 billion lamps will be sold in the country this year. By comparison, the combined sales of home entertainment devices and household appliances were less than 200 million units. He also expects that connected LEDs will become widely adopted for street lighting but since the total installed base in the US is less than 100 million, yearly shipments will most likely not exceed 10 million units.Ryberg believes that connected LED solutions will have a major impact on the popularity of competing wireless technology standards for the smart home.
The key question is how consumers will interact with connected LEDs he concludes. If the preferred method is to use the smartphone as remote for controlling lamps in the near proximity, Bluetooth has a very strong chance to win the segment. If on the other hand all lights are integrated into a smart home network, 802.15.4 technologies such as ZigBee and Thread will have a very bright future.