Post Luxlive it got me thinking, are shows like this really relevant in today’s lighting market and do they truly represent what is new and innovative within Lighting.

Now this is a personal view and let me be clear from the outset that I strongly believe there is a need for exhibitions such as Lux live and other lighting or controls exhibitions. So, I have laid my cards on the table and made a statement that supports such an event but for me the challenge is how we deliver these events.

Historically manufacturers would have a stand and promote the launch of their new luminaire or widget as the latest and greatest new technology and would be showing their range of components or products to the eager crowds of people waiting to view these creations.

In a connected world we are continually sharing new technology via websites or social media so do we really have something new to say at an exhibition? For me this is often the problem and when you attend an exhibition you are seeing versions of the same products that a salesperson has already shown you previously or you have read about on the company website.

The theatre of launching new products has almost disappeared as the market demands versions 1, 2 & 3 to be available at certain times of the year and this may not always coincide with an exhibition.

We are therefore being driven by market demands and that is not a bad thing as it encourages change and innovation.

Exhibitions however as previously mentioned were the traditional way of launching a technology but perhaps we need to re-think their purpose. Personally, I see exhibitions as a medium for education and partnership.

The traditional lighting world is evolving, and lighting has become a key component in what is being dubbed “Smart” or “Connected”. There will always be the cost driven solution of course and those need to be catered for but innovation drives change.

If you have a Smart technology, then we need to think how that technology is being delivered and this is perhaps where exhibitions need to evolve.

Most of the discussions I had, were with companies looking for solutions to a particular problem. They were not thinking about products but more how these products could be delivered to solve a problem or deliver a particular vision.

Designers generally take a holistic approach to a project and I know this is a sweeping statement so apologies to those Designers I know who drill down into the technicalities.

They have a vision and are looking for a solution that meets that need. Technology isn’t what’s driving their decision, the application is the prime focus, and this I believe is key.

Several companies at Lux were showing real world applications of their technology and this is a powerful tool that will deliver buy in from a potential partner. A smart widget holds no value if you don’t understand how to use it and this is a fundamental truth.

We look at a luminaire or controls solution and need to understand how it works for me.

Exhibitions are a powerful tool that have the potential to deliver that clarity and if aligned with the trade associations and professional bodies can give a strong message to the market that we as the Lighting industry, are key components of current and future connected buildings.

The trade associations and professional bodies have the ability to put the right speakers in place to educate and inform as opposed to the company who has sponsored the event using it as a platform to promote their products and services. I appreciate that this is how sponsorship works so this may be a nonstarter.

Networking is a key feature of exhibitions and for those of us not exhibiting we had a fruitful few days meeting with customers on and off stands and networking so there was a value to attending. If we have no exhibition, then these opportunities wouldn’t exist, and this is the hidden benefit of any gathering of like-minded individuals.

So, in summary, Exhibitions do work, but maybe not in the way the organisers envisaged and perhaps taping into that networking potential might be a way of evolving traditional exhibitions and may lead to a buy in from companies who have never exhibited

Stewart B Langdown FSLL

m 07774 821093