(May 17 - 19, 2011) Wow! LightFair International (LFI) 2011 opened to what looks like record attendance according to show producers. And no wonder. The place is literally "aglow" with illumination as we need to know it today and into the future.

Opening day kicked off with the LFI Innovation Awards. Acuity Brands took home the morning's top honor, Most Innovative Product of the Year, for its Revel, a ceiling-mounted, modular system of 6.5-Watt, 4-inch square OLED panels — one of the first viable systems using Organic Light Emitting Diodes. The Design Excellence Award went to Tech Lighting-Generation Brands for a flexible Low-Voltage LED Wall-Wash/Flood track head with impressive light output and quality. Philips Lumileds was recognized for the most forward-thinking advancement in lighting technology with the Technical Innovation Award for its Luxeon A LED module that impressed judges for its quality, efficacy and color consistency.

Best- in-category winners include the Philips LEDALITE Jump, a terrific-looking direct linear LED luminaire with end-to-end continuum, Carmanah Technologies Off-Grid Solar LED Lighting System, and a  Lutron remote-mount dimming module for personal control, as well as occupancy and daylight strategies with wireless compatibility. (Look for expanded coverage in a future issue of Record.)

As you might guess, LED technology is stealing the show, along with lighting controls and energy-related systems. The good news is, the professional consensus is that LEDs are ready for prime time. And while light levels are still an issue for some applications, the quality and range of white LEDs is equalling that of many other light sources, and there are LED solutions for just about every application. The bad (or daunting) news is that there are so many options, lighting is becoming as complex as engineering a net-zero building. Looks like the future is bright for lighting designers.