John Dvorak’s Inside Track column in the August 22, 2006 edition of PC Magazine contains a fascinating tidbit about the amazing advances happening in lighting. We’re talking basic illumination here – run-of-the-mill light bulb replacements. Apparently, LED advancements have been coming fast and furious. LEDs can now produce 133 lumens/watt. As a comparison, incandescent lights deliver about 20 lumens/watt and florescent lights, 60 lumens/watt.
” . . . And of course it’s apparent to everyone that most lighting for general-purpose uses will gradually be taken over by LEDs. The most competitive lighting technology insofar as cost per watt is concerned is still fluorescent lights, but the crossover point is close. In terms of lumens per watt, LEDs have stormed to the forefront. Cree Inc. has shown an LED that can deliver 133 lumens per watt. This breaks the old record of 100 with typical high-output LEDs in the 80-lumen range. Compare this with an incandescent bulb, which delivers about 20 lumens per watt at the high end, and fluorescent lights, which hit maybe 60.
When you consider that the life expectancy of LEDs can be measured in decades, the world of lighting is about to change dramatically.“
There’s a lesson here somewhere about innovation, invention and competitive strategy. Sometimes replacing the most basic, widely disbursed and entrenched products represents the biggest opportunity. While you need to be cautious about tugging on Superman’s cape or talking smack to Lord Vader (direct strategies against strong, entrenched competitors), holding your biggest potential competition in too high regard can limit your opportunities.