The latest Market Watch investigates the current state of the OLED lighting industry, and looks at its future potential. As the technology develops, companies are expected to embrace it, but how will consumers react?
In 2011, OLED Lighting made up just a fraction of the entire lighting market. Yet projections indicate that it will turn into a very substantial business by the middle of this decade. As older technologies phase out, there is more room for new ideas, something which the industry can take advantage of.
Yet there are factors which could restrict the growth of the market through the consumer. At present, OLEDs are produced on a small scale, and OLED lighting does not have a very long lifetime compared to other lighting products. Costs will also have to fall, if the technology wishes to engage with the general public, rather than remain as a niche product.
In the news this issue, flexible solar modules are beginning to take off thanks to companies looking at their uses within building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). Companies such as Global Solar are producing film especially for rooftops, where standard, rigid panels are not suitable due to their weight. Organic solar cell companies are also beginning to form collaborations with the construction industry. Konarka recently announced a partnership with industry suppliers Bischoff Glastechnik.
The Centre Suisse d'Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM) recently launched a new 'polytronics' centre, as another attempt to guide plastic electronics on a path between lab testing and manufacturing. The role of these research centres is crucial in many aspects; not only will they explore pilot production and the target market, but they will link prospective partners to get the product out into the world.
Also in the news, the OLED lighting industry is moving forward as companies such as Acuity Brands Lighting and Novaled bring the first products to the commercial market, and the solar window market is expected to expand as construction companies realise the potential of teaming the design needs for more glass and lit areas with thin-film solar to power various systems and control temperatures.
Plastic Electronics 2011 was held alongside the Semicon Europa exhibition in October, and was dominated by discussions of which technologies can follow OLED displays, and succeed in the marketplace.
Companies such as LG, Eight19, Universal Display and Philips discussed how the market can follow the success of displays, which have found their way into smartphones and, as from 2012, large screen televisions. The conference focused on two key technologies, OLED lighting and organic photovoltaic.
Alongside the conference, the exhibition hall played host to a number of companies showcasing their products. Plastic Logic was there with its 100 E-reader, which is now being rolled out to schools in Russia.