Lighting is changing and the next few months will be a crucial period for the Furniture Lighting sector, since the offering is shifting at an ever-increasing pace towards superflat and extraslim devices, wireless control systems and dark nuance finishes. The market, concentrated until now on an offering based on energy saving alone, is embracing everything digital. The Salone del Mobile, to be held in Milan from 17 to 22 April, will be a key opportunity for discovering the latest products and clearing up the uncertainties surrounding the new trends. This is how D-VIEW sees the main trends to look out for during 2018.
1. Devices will have more functions
This will be one of the trends at the 2018 Salone in Milan. As a result of ever-smaller sizes, and installation integrated in the structural parts of furniture, lighting devices will no longer light up in the same way as in the past. We are expecting to see devices with a large number of integrated functions, such as adaptive intelligence, wireless connectivity, higher-performing sensors and light colour regulation systems. Expect key words like “Smart”, “IoT ready”, “Digital Light”, “Tunable White” and “White Changeable”.
2. Sensors will be more and more integrated
Sensors, whether touch, infrared or motion, have traditionally been independent accessories, designed to control lighting devices in which they are not incorporated. In 2018, expect to see them increasingly integrated in devices and power units. More and more, interfaces will be a standard part of devices, with the aid of the Bluetooth protocol, and autolearning algorithms, already widely used in home automation, will also start to appear on lighting control platforms.
3. Lighting will be integrated in the automated home
The automated home will start to become reality in 2018. Driven by property developers and the most courageous design firms, in-depth trials have already been performed on IoT lighting. These trendsetters will open the way to the most exciting solutions for their customers, including in lighting. The aims of this “revolution” will be comfort and productivity through light.
4. Dark nuance finishes will be more and more fashionable
Leaving behind pale metal finishes like aluminium, at the upcoming Salone del Mobile expect dark finishes and tactile materials with shades of black and burnished, lead, ash, brown, dark stainless steel and dark grey colours. Elegant and luxurious, these finishes require even more precision in choice of the colour temperatures and proportionate performances of the lighting devices integrated in the design masterpieces presented at the Salone.
5. Human Centric lighting will become a force to be reckoned with
Lighting devices designed to enable users to change the colour temperature of the light they produce will be at the centre of another important development. Thanks to a growing number of studies that demonstrate the beneficial effects of light on human health, in the near future lighting systems will increasingly be designed in accordance with Human Centric Lighting principles. These smart lighting control systems will make their appearance no longer just in offices, schools or hospitals but also in the home decoration sector.
6. Light pollution is a problem
Light pollution is a problem which also affects the furniture sector. The colour mismatch between a kitchen’s midway lighting devices and those integrated in extractor hoods, for example, has been known for a long time. We are expecting players and regulatory authorities to deal with this problem, driven by greater awareness and concern that the low price and colder temperatures of LED lights are causing more light pollution than halogen lamps ever did in the past.
7. Bluetooth is going to win the protocol war
The new Bluetooth standard has finally been ratified and will enable further expansion in the protocol’s use. This innovation increases Bluetooth’s range to well over the usual 10 metres. In 2018 we are expecting this development to drive IoT lighting not only in working locations – shops, stores and commercial offices – but also for use in the home.
8. Li-Fi, the new challenge for the future
In 2018 we are going to hear more and more about Li-Fi. This new technology, still at the experimental stage, has been designed to transfer data wirelessly at very high speed, using LED light as transmission medium. Experts assure us that Li-Fi will be 100 times faster than Wi-Fi. Li-Fi should enable us to download hundreds of gigabytes a second, without interference problems and with no need for specific routers or transmitters.
9. Export certifications are going to be more and more complex
Lighting producers are also going to have to face up to the current trade war. The adoption of new, more complex regulation and certification schemes by a large number of countries is going to be a serious challenge to small players and traders, who will be looking increasingly isolated during 2018.
10. The victory of 24V over 12V
The fast, thrilling but still chaotic digital revolution in the lighting industry had left the question about the power supply to devices (12V, 24v or 350 mA?) still unresolved. The choice of voltage has always been a major conundrum for design firms and the market. But 24V is about to supplant 12V once and for all because latest-generation LEDs cannot function without it.