This article originally appeared on Architectural Lighting.

Artemide stand
Photo by Pietro Sutera, courtesy Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH Artemide stand

Every two years the lighting community comes together for Light+Building (March 18-23, 2018) in Frankfurt, Germany, a blockbuster weeklong trade show where manufacturers showcase innovations and products. This year was no different. With an increase in exhibitors (up from 2,626 in 2016), a total of 2,714 manufacturers from 55 countries showcased new products across close to 2.8 million square feet of exhibition space. According to fair organizer Messe Frankfurt, more than 220,000 trade visitors (an increase from 216,610 in 2016) from 177 countries attended the show.

While many stands featured over-the-top displays of products—not to mention fully stocked bars and cafes—some manufacturers went above and beyond to show their products in context. Occhio designed its stand to replicate various components of a building, from an outdoor patio to a fully stocked restaurant, while iGuzzini’s Light Experience room, which displayed a 20-minute light show, drew some of the largest crowds of the fair. The show featured several newcomers, including acoustic solutions company BuzziSpace, premiering its first official line of acoustic lighting products.

Since Light+Building 2016, LEDs have continued as the new normal for luminaires, but the latest buzz among manufacturers and the lighting industry is Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices and human-centric lighting. Most products unveiled at Light+Building are being developed for the European market, and some will be available in the U.S. later this year.

Zumtobel stand
Photo by Pietro Sutera, courtesy Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH Zumtobel stand

Manufacturers such as Artemide debuted a proprietary application for smart devices such as an iPhone for tracking and programming its connection-enabled devices. The Artemide App allows users to create lighting scenarios for up to 500 devices, and settings can be shared among multiple users via the cloud. Acclaim Lighting also announced the development of an application for smart devices—which will be available in April—that will enable users to create pre-programmed scenes for multiple devices. Philips—recently rebranded as Signify—announced that its expanded Interact platform will now include landmarks, meaning it can now connect to large-scale infrastructure projects. The cloud-based platform connects fixtures to sensors, and other smart devices and systems, for streamlined lighting installations or data collection. Osram also revealed its new Lightelligence platform, which allows for IoT connectivity for lighting and building services. With Lightelligence, users can monitor and control lighting and other building systems for improved energy efficiency.

As cities and communities prioritize safe and energy-efficient lighting in public spaces, many companies are also anticipating IoT-enabled devices for infrastructure as a major market in the coming years. Selux has expanded module options for its Lif light column that includes a camera, speakers, a WiFi mounting unit, and electric car charging ports. We-ef debuted its “Prepare to Connect” and “Ready to Connect” technology, which enables cities to purchase street and area lighting that can be connected using standardized technology at a later date, thanks to the Zhaga standard. With an integrated sensor or communication module receptacle, luminaires can function as traditional outdoor lights until users opt to connect the devices when budgets or timelines allow.

Evidenced by enhanced color temperature and light level control and customization, manufacturers are embracing so-called human-centric lighting. EldoLED, for example, debuted its LightShape technology, which allows for tunable white and light intensity control with improved flicker free–performance for the company's DUALdrive and SOLOdrive LED drivers.

Not to be fooled by the flash of impressive displays, it is clear that lighting manufacturers continue to invest time and money in improving technology platforms and focus on a few comprehensive new products rather than expansive new product lines as in years past.

For more products from Light+Building 2018, continue reading here.

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