Day 1 in Dubai

As your humble editor, I am attending my first Light Middle East, being held this week in Dubai.  Like Light + Building, the show brings together leading manufacturers, designers, and industry professionals from around the world to showcase the latest trends, products, and innovations in lighting.

One of the highlights of the show is the Lighting Awards which recognize and celebrate the best products from around the world. About 30 companies pitched their products to 15 lighting designers throughout the day, and I’ll have a separate report later.

Here is what I learned on Day 1:

Xicato Amir Zoufonoun, CEO

Xicato's booth
Xicato’s booth at Light Middle East
  • Firmly believes Xicato has the best LED in the world. They now have 10 years of history building modules with almost zero color shift, they are so confident that they now offer a 10-year warranty. 
  • They have the same level of confidence on their AC drivers and also offer a 10-year warranty.
  • XICATO’s control system has expanded from drawings–they can now conduct pre-positioning in a warehouse or at the factory. The fixtures are simply numbered for installation. No on-site commissioning needed. 
  • Xicato designed the lighting and control systems in the Islamic Museum of Art in Doha and that was the inspiration behind the design of their booth.
  • During the pandemic, business was awful, but this year’s sales have come roaring back—and in some cases they can’t keep up with demand.
  • Linear lights are sold as complete luminaires going through traditional channels. Round lights are sold to their network of over 200 OEMs around the world.

Filix Lighting is a global leader in underwater lights for pools. 

Filix Lighting
Filix Lighting at Light Middle East
  • Marco Jurman, CEO, teased that Filix is about to release a new LED luminaire with an induction connection. There will be no wires as the back of the fixture and will be mated with an induction plate to provide power. The product will launch at LEDucation in March, and to his knowledge, no one else has induction connections like this in underwater lighting. The luminaire will be DALI and DMX compatible. 

IES.  Because I am blessed to wear many hats in this industry, I have a stack of different business cards from different organizations:  EdisonReport, designing lighting (dl) magazine, NALMCO’s LM&M magazine, the NLB, and for this show, designing lighting global (dlg) magazine. Yet as I meet people globally, I find that many know of me from my past role of IES President—and that was 20 years ago!  It is amazing the respect that I see for IES at Light & Building in Frankfurt, Euroluce in Milan, Light 22 in London and now Light Middle East.  It is almost as if we take IES for granted in the US.  Internationally, people compare IES to CIE and IES has much greater speed to market.  I continue to hear of CIE documents from the 1990’s still being used.    

I met with Mark Lien, IES Industry Relations Lighting Consultant and Klysha Ross, IES Chief of staff at the IES booth:

Randy interviews Klysha Ross and Mark Lien
At Light Middle East, Randy interviews Klysha Ross and Mark Lien
  • Mark pointed out that IES has members in 65 different countries and global membership continues to grow. Tomorrow Mark is on a panel discussion to talk about the future of lighting. Having an IES person on this global panel goes a long way in messaging.
  • Klysha brought up IES’s influence and their recent announcement regarding the management of NCQLP and the LC exam. She reminded me that IES Executive Director Colleen Harper will also be the Executive Director of the NCQLP.  Mark chimed in about how important the LC is and he and I both reminisced about the bad old days before LC. 
  • I told Mark that some lighting designers did not like the LC as it allows manufactures to obtain the certification and compete with their profession. Mark took strong issue with that, “So what you are saying is that a better educated salesforce is not a good thing? With the LC, it means designers will have more educated people calling on them.”  He went on to say that designers can get additional certifications, such as the NAILD CLD and that is to their credit. He passionately believes LC helps the overall industry.
  • Mark also explained the strong success NALMCO has. Mark is working with NALMCO’s Erik Ennen and developing a UV certification. He emphasized that this certification is being encouraged and supported by the IUVA. On a side note, earlier today we published NALMCO’s LM&M and we have two pages of new certifications.
  • Both Mark and Klysha smiled when I asked them about future IES endeavors. They say there are many things happening and look for more collaboration with other organizations, among other things.

I have been friends with Dr. Armadeep Dugar, an independent lighting designer in India, for years and finally met him in person at this show. 

Randy Reid with Amardeep Dugar
Randy Reid with Amardeep Dugar at Light Middle East
  • Dugar is likely the first non-North America member of the IES Board of Directors, and he was preparing for a Board Zoom call later this evening.
  • He earned his Masters Degree in Germany and his Doctorate in New Zealand. Although he lives in Chennai, India, he considers himself a citizen of the world. He is a strong believer in getting IES education to the global masses. 
  • India is about to overtake China as the most populous nation in the world. I know one other person who lives in India, Somenath Chatterjee—and Dr. Dugar knows him well.
  • India is making huge progress in manufacturing of lighting and the country has made many improvements in infrastructure. Dr. Dugar expects to see much more manufacturing in India in the next 5 years. He tries to specify Indian-built luminaires in an effort to help the local economy as well as the circular economy.
  • This is his fourth time attending Light Middle East and with each visit, the show is bigger and better. He thinks there are about 25% more exhibitors than his last visit.

Overall, the Light Middle East show is an important event for anyone involved in the global lighting industry.

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