Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting has been championed as a game-changer for smart building and efficient lighting systems for years. However, recent industry shakeups, supply chain issues, and technical challenges have cast some doubt on the future of this technology. So, we’re left wondering: is PoE lighting in trouble?
The answer is more nuanced than a simple “yes” or “no,” but industry leaders such as MHT Technologies continue to pave the way towards innovation, practical application, and ensuring the vast potential for PoE lighting benefits is met and continued through any phase of doubt, uncertainty, or turmoil as the industry continues to find its footing.
Is There a Future For PoE Lighting?
Despite the current challenges, it would be hasty to declare PoE lighting dead. The technology offers unique advantages like robustness, flexibility, and the ability to serve high-performance devices. Importantly, PoE lighting can be part of a larger integrated system, delivering both cost savings and energy efficiency gains in lighting, heating, cooling, and security.
The question about PoE lighting’s future is not so much about survival, but how it adapts and evolves. These challenges could be seen as growing pains of an industry in the process of maturing rather than signals of its demise.
A Beacon of Hope: MHT Technologies
Amidst the turbulence in the PoE lighting industry, MHT Technologies is emerging as a beacon of hope. Instead of retreating, the company is doubling down on its commitment to PoE lighting. They are actively developing innovative solutions designed to tackle the industry’s current concerns head-on.
MHT Technologies recognizes the challenges related to the supply chain, technology cost, and skill gaps among integrators. They are actively investing in research and development to create more efficient, cost-effective PoE lighting systems that are easier to implement and manage.
Furthermore, MHT Technologies is establishing robust training programs for system integrators. By enhancing the skill sets of these professionals, MHT is helping to reduce the prevalence of “problem-free” system building issues, thus mitigating some of the industry horror stories that have scared off potential clients.
Recognizing the gap between the capabilities of PoE lighting and the ability of end-users to fully utilize the technology, MHT is also pioneering user-friendly interfaces and systems. Their goal is to ensure end-users can harness the full potential of PoE lighting, maximizing their return on investment.
In light of these efforts, MHT Technologies exemplifies how dedication, innovation, and a customer-centric approach can drive the PoE lighting industry forward despite the prevailing challenges. Their commitment and forward-thinking strategies could very well light the path for others in the industry to follow.
Factors Casting Doubt
The PoE lighting landscape has shifted with significant changes in the market. Igor Technologies, a major player in the industry, officially closed its doors on July 15th, leaving many clients scrambling to find alternatives to manage and service their existing systems.
Simultaneously, Platformatics, another leading PoE company, was sold to a luminaire manufacturer that appears to have scaled back on research and development, leading to a noticeable decline in its market presence. In the wake of this, there are rampant rumors about the sale of Platformatics’ intellectual property.
Lastly, one of the larger companies in the field, Molex, has come under scrutiny for its pricing strategies amidst the current economic climate. In an era marked by high inflation, Molex has consistently raised its prices to meet ambitious profitability targets. While it’s understandable that companies need to protect their bottom lines, these price increases have significant implications for customers and the industry.
Most notably, Molex’s heightened prices are creating accessibility issues within the construction sector. Many construction projects operate on tight budgets, and the increased cost of implementing Molex’s PoE lighting systems is pricing them out of many of these projects. This not only limits the reach of their technology but also runs the risk of leaving clients and contractors seeking more budget-friendly alternatives.
Other Industry Headwinds
1) Architects Will Design First
The role of architects and designers is fundamental in shaping the PoE lighting landscape. Known for pushing boundaries, these professionals often test the limits of what PoE lighting can deliver. Their innovative approach is both a driving force for technological progress and a source of high expectations and demand on the technology.
2) Cost of the Technology
One key concern is the cost associated with PoE lighting systems. These systems tend to have higher upfront costs compared to traditional lighting solutions, which can deter potential users. Moreover, technical issues and delays can lead to unexpected expenses, further impacting the overall cost-effectiveness of the technology.
3) Supply Chain
The global pandemic has exerted tremendous pressure on supply chains worldwide. The PoE lighting industry, too, has felt the pinch. With manufacturers under increasing financial stress, the sustainability of producing and supplying PoE lighting systems is being questioned.
4) Integrators Still Learning
The skills and knowledge base of system integrators play a crucial role in the successful implementation of PoE lighting and smart building technologies. While progress has been made, many integrators are still on a learning curve to build these systems “problem-free”. Each hiccup, delay, or cost overrun contributes to industry horror stories that can scare away prospective clients.
5) End-User Resources Lacking
The full potential of PoE lighting technology often remains unrealized, primarily because many end-users lack the necessary resources to fully utilize the technology. This factor can significantly undermine the return on investment, making it harder for clients to justify the initial outlay.
While each of these concerns is evident, it’s not too much different from the nonlinear path of numerous technology-based markets the have come before. Because the technology is still evolving and adapting to current user needs and applications, there exists a degree of uncertainty. Despite this, industry leaders such as MHT Technologies are dedicated to continue to evolve, adapt, and overcome these issues through continued innovation and a commitment to solution-based products and services.
While PoE lighting may be at a crossroads, it’s far from reaching a dead end. The light, it seems, is still on. The road ahead may require significant change and adaptation, but with a focus on addressing current challenges – such as improving supply chain resilience, expanding skill sets among integrators, and better enabling end-users to utilize the technology’s full potential – PoE lighting still holds promise for the future of integrated and efficient lighting solutions.
Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by Josh Mahan