By Skip Pasternak
Skip is the founder and former president of Aelux, a WESCO subsidiary. He is also the director of operations for WESCO's Lighting category where he helps create and deliver products and services that are essential to the LED revolution.
There really hasn’t been a better time to embrace smart lighting. In both subtle and significant ways, this technology is becoming essential to our everyday routines. It is allowing companies to improve employee concentration in the workplace. Cities are getting brighter and safer with the help of LED street lights. Smart lighting is becoming the norm, and it will only get more powerful over time.
Many businesses have already implemented this technology in their facilities. Many others want to but may be dissuaded by cost, commitment, or just the uncertainty of what the hype is all about. Lighting retrofits may be a more expensive and larger undertaking, but the benefits are worth it.
Here are some reasons why all businesses should embrace this valuable technology – and why doing so might be easier than you think.
Everything Is Getting Smarter
With all due respect to lighting of the past, it’s just not smart. The emergence of LEDs has shown that there’s a bigger plan for lighting. No longer is it only a way to illuminate buildings and streets. We’ve found a way for it to inspire our actions in a built space, whether by waking up a sleeping student in class or tracking where people are in a building to ensure safety. New lighting is a critical part of the Internet of Things and its mission to make the world smarter, safer, and more connected.
LEDs are rapidly evolving, and intelligent technology will soon be as fundamental to our daily routines as brushing our teeth. The more advanced our surroundings get, the more important it will be for businesses to keep up.
You Don't Need a Limitless Budget to Upgrade
Money is one of the first concerns that most companies have when considering an upgrade. Budgets aren’t often set aside for lighting projects, which many still consider to be a “luxury.” It’s understandable that businesses would rather fund projects that align with their growth strategy.
While having a budget is helpful, it’s not essential to making your upgrade a reality. The demand for retrofits has led to an increase in financing options for companies that don’t have extra funds. Companies can take numerous avenues to finance an upgrade, but it really comes down to either an operating or capital lease.
A capital lease is ideal for companies that eventually want to own their product. Operating leases cater to businesses that want to keep their options open or don’t want the added responsibility of ownership. You should consider the following factors when determining which option would be best for you:
• How much you’re willing to spend on monthly payments
• Whether or not you want to upgrade to the latest product or technology
• How willing you are to maintain your lighting once your lease expires
The following whitepaper presents a deeper look at both options, including their benefits and potential drawbacks.
Lighting Retrofits Pay for Themselves
One of the most attractive aspects of a retrofit is that it pays for itself in time. Most people know about the energy and maintenance savings that LEDs can produce and how that can positively impact the bottom line. These savings can come early and often, making it easier to sell these projects to your company’s decision makers. A CFO or capital budgeting committee is more likely to join the retrofit bandwagon if they are ensured a strong return on investment.
All businesses can experience the value and payback that can result from a lighting upgrade. The cost of such a project is a valid concern, but not one that should be disregarded due to a limited or even nonexistent budget. Financing has become the go-to option for companies that don’t have extra funds at their fingertips. Selecting the right finance structure will help your business get closer to implementing this influential technology.
Times are changing in manufacturing. The Internet of Things has made its way to the industry and spawned a new term in the process: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Smart factories are becoming more popular (and expected) thanks to the ability to connect key technologies. Manufacturers who haven’t followed suit yet are encouraged to get moving.
In some industries, things are relatively stable from year to year. While manufacturing was done in much the same way for many years, emerging trends promise to change that. An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) must be resourceful and search for opportunities to stay competitive in an increasingly volatile market. While there may be challenges ahead, applying industry best practices will help any manufacturer operate at the top of their game.
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Article originally published Sept. 2, 2016, and updated for accuracy and relevance.
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