NanoMarkets provides market research and industry analysis of opportunities within advanced materials and emerging energy and electronics markets
May 28, 2014 Category: Smart Technology
NanoMarkets believes that in the past year or so the smart lighting industry has begun to grow up. It has begun to focus on what the opportunities are for its products rather than simply dwelling on technical issues. Our sense of the market is that in the past, next-generation smart lighting firms have been uncourageous about saying how their systems differ from each other and from the previous generation of lighting management systems. We now appear to have reached a stage in the evolution of the smart lighting business, where firms in this space must think hard about what they really have to offer.
May 13, 2014 Category: Smart Technology
Smart lighting has for years been controlled by lighting control systems firms, companies focused on lighting systems rather than individual luminaires or building-wide energy management. What is different in 2014 is the extent to which multiple industries are actively pursuing smart lighting, a factor NanoMarkets emphasizes in our most recent report on the topic. We are seeing increased interest in smart lighting from large lighting companies, building automation firms, LED chip makers, and even software companies and network communications firms. All these sectors have the chance to benefit from growth in smart lighting, but they will need to focus on more than merely energy efficiency.
The companies most likely to find success in the next few years are those targeting advances that are poised for growth, such as lighting specifically designed to improve mood or health. Initial revenues in health and mood lighting are likely to come from the medical sector, which is not as cost-conscious as other industries.
In order to move beyond a niche product, building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) will need to demonstrate both improved efficiency and lower cost. NanoMarkets believes that BIPV should be able to benefit from the growth that we expect to see in the PV market as a whole, but the degree to which it succeeds will likely depend on advances in technology and choice of PV materials. This may require switching to improved or completely different materials than what is commonly used today. Our latest report on BIPV glass, “BIPV Glass Markets– 2014 and Beyond,” describes PV technologies being used for this application today and analyzes which materials are likely to gain market share in the future.
While silicon PV is currently king of the PV landscape, CIGS is a PV technology that has the potential to make significant inroads in the next several years. While progress has been slow due to the complexity of co-depositing four elements to generate the material and the need for encapsulation of the moisture-sensitive product, the high efficiency of CIGS (near that of single crystal PV), coupled with the requirement for only small amounts of the raw materials, provides one of the few paths to beating current Si-based PV in terms of cost.
Flexible glass seemed like a natural fit for the display industry, combining the impermeability of glass with the flexibility of plastic. In 2012 it appeared as though flexible and ultrathin glass companies were going to benefit from the explosion of touch screens in displays of all sizes. Unfortunately, the market took a different turn. Now suppliers of ultrathin and flexible glass are looking for applications beyond displays to bring in revenue in the next few years, and one of the places they are looking is in semiconductor packaging. - See more at: http://nanomarkets.net/articles/article/flexible-glass-firms-branch-into-new-applications#sthash.DB2IVY9d.dpuf
NanoMarkets has been following the fortunes of the smart windows sector for six years now. In that time we have seen few if any great leaps forward either in terms of market expansion or in terms of technology. This judgment remains true whether one considers "smart windows" to include only "self-tinting" windows (the most common definition) or whether one adopts a broader definition of smart windows that includes self-healing and self-cleaning windows.
April 08, 2014 Category: Smart Technology
The smart lighting market is undergoing a transition that we expect will lead to expanded opportunities for many different types of companies. The older generation of so-called smart lighting systems—really no more than lighting management systems—that were not much more than motion sensors and timers has evolved into systems that are much smarter. The smart home and smart office of the future that has existed in the imagination of writers and futurists seems really to now be on the horizon, thanks to advances in technology that are leading to the availability of more features at lower prices.
April 02, 2014 Category: Advanced Materials
Metal meshes – previously not under serious consideration as transparent conductors (TCs) because of their lack of transparency – have now overcome their performance limitations and are seen as serious competition for ITO in several applications, especially those that require large panels for displays, lighting, or solar energy. Bringing metal meshes into larger displays can be a way for metal mesh manufacturers to increase their revenue streams, which now are constrained because the markets that they are chasing, such as touch screen sensors, are not very large.
March 27, 2014 Category: Emerging Electronics
The new generation of wearable and flexible gadgets such as smart watches, glasses, and fitness trackers, all require batteries that are flexible and small enough to fit into these devices. This could give a big boost to the prospects for thin film and printed batteries, but it’s not yet clear which companies will benefit most. Existing thin film (TF) battery suppliers may be able to leverage their expertise, but OEMs are pursuing wearable applications and developing their own batteries, posing a threat to the TF battery suppliers.
While multiple large and influential companies are pursuing TF battery technology, two in particular seem well-positioned and motivated to go after the wearable electronics sector: LG Chemical and Apple.
March 19, 2014 Category: Advanced Materials
Phosphors are critical to the future of LEDs because they address the quality of LED lighting in fundamental ways:
- Greater range of color – beyond combining blue LEDs with yellow phosphors to increase the quality of white light, there are opportunities for high-quality red phosphors to provide better color rendering.
- Improved efficacy and lower cost – existing phosphors have been able to provide LEDs with 100 percent greater increase in LED efficacy and a 50 to 200 percent decline in price, and new phosphor materials may be able to do even better.
These characteristics of phosphors can help expand markets where LEDs are already gaining market share, such as general illumination, and also markets where performance concerns or consumer perception has limited the penetration of LEDs. Phosphor firms have an opportunity to make money out of this situation not just because they are an important enabling technology for LEDs but because existing phosphors are not necessarily up to the task at hand. Some applications will require new phosphor materials with better performance