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Gadgets not lasting as long as you would like them to? Welcome to planned obsolescence

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

Intentionally manufacturing products with short lifespan is dangerous amid rapid growth for the electronics industry  

Do  you feel that your electronic products are not lasting like they used to? What if I tell you that they are designed not to last long? Enter the concept of planned obsolescence.

Planned obsolescence is a trick used by companies to turn you into a repeat customer, with or without your knowledge. The idea of planned obsolescence is not new; it was first written about in 1928 by the American marketing pioneer Justus George Frederick.

He stated that it was necessary to induce people to buy an ever increasing variety of things, not in order to use them but to activate commerce and discard them after a short period. Producers and manufacturers of electronics use planned obsolescence to increase consumerism in a variety of ways.

As far as hardware is concerned, the tricks used by companies are to use inferior parts designed to decrease the life of a product to 2-3 years. Some products are inherently designed to make repair difficult or even impossible, for instance the use of glues that make opening up the case non-viable or use of special screws that cannot be opened with the help of a universal screw-driver.

In terms of software, products are designed to lose functionality by excluding them from the software/ operating systems upgrades. This keeps your device physically functional, but does not support applications that are programmed to be compatible only with the latest set of upgrades, forcing you to discard your fully functional device.

The concept of planned obsolescence, which leads to an increase in electronic-waste, is particularly dangerous today because electronics is the world’s largest and fastest growing industry and is increasingly finding applications in all sectors of the economy.

With work-from-home becoming the norm during the pandemic, there has been a huge increase in the number of people who have invested in a new gadget for work or for leisure. India’s share in global hardware electronics production is about 3 per cent. The share of domestic electronics production in India’s g,ross domestic product is 2.3 per cent.

Growth trajectory

The National Policy on Electronics (NPE) 2019, envisions positioning India as a global hub for electronics system design and manufacturing. The electronics production in India has increased from Rs 1,90,366 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 5,33,550 crore in 2019-20 at a compound annual growth rate of 23 per cent.

Source: MeITY, 2020-21 Annual report

A handful of schemes have been introduced in NPE 2019 aimed at boosting the domestic production of electronics in India. These include production-linked incentive scheme (PLI), which extends an incentive of 4-6 per cent to eligible companies on incremental sales (over base year 2019-20) of manufactured goods, including mobile phones and specified electronic components.

Scheme for promotion of manufacturing of electronic components and semiconductors (SPECS) which provides a financial incentive of 25 per cent on capital expenditure for the identified list of electronic goods.

It is interesting to note that the Ministry of Electronics and Information technology (MeITY), identifies seven different categories in its production profile that include: Consumer electronics, industrial electronics, computer hardware, mobile phones, strategic electronics, electronic components and light emitting diode products.

Electronic waste, on the contrary, is broadly divided into two categories, listing a total of 21 electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) as per the schedule I of the E-waste Management Rules 2016. These includes information-technology equipment and consumer electronic goods.

One of the key concerns in the electronics with respect to waste management is mobile phones. India has become the second-largest mobile phone manufacturing nation in terms of volume.

India is also the world’s second largest smart phone market. Domestic production of mobile phones in India has gone up from 60 million units in 2014-15 to 330 million units in 2019-20, the year when the domestic production of mobile phones was more than the domestic demand. In India the ownership of mobile phones in the third quarter of 2020 was much higher than any other digital device.

Source: Statista 2021

Mobile phones, unlike any other EEE have a shorter life. This means that they get discarded more often as compared to other EEE. One part of the problem is consumers who are easily persuaded that the device that are currently using is not as good as the latest one.

We can agree that in the last decade and a half, the average life of a mobile phone has gone down by approximately five times.

Shorter lifespan

The shorter lifespan of many consumer electronics comes at a steep environmental cost. A 2018 study by the McMaster University in Hamilton has found that 85 to 95 per cent of carbon foot print is not caused by the use of the device but rather its production.

Changing devices frequently will have an exponentially huge impact on the carbon footprints.

A 2017 Greenpeace USA report on greener electronics says this about planned obsolescence “Faced with market saturation for their devices in many countries, companies across the sector have increasingly changed the design of their products in a way that accelerates the replacement cycle by, making them difficult to service or upgrade, shortening the useful life of otherwise functional devices.”

Greenpeace found that among 40 best-selling gadgets, it was difficult or impossible to replace commonly failing parts, such as the battery or display in nearly 70 per cent.

It also noted a trend among LG and Samsung toward making phones less repairable; efforts by Apple and Sony to block environmental standards to encourage the design of devices that are easier to repair, upgrade and disassemble for recycling; and said tablets and laptops design by Microsoft often require damaging the device to access it for repairs.

Reparability has never been much of a concern for a country like India. Traditionally, a lot of what we used was repaired time and again before it could not be repaired any further.

Unfortunately, this tradition is getting forgotten in the newer generation of consumers, due to the lifestyle changes, higher disposable incomes and changes in the product design that are made to last for shorter time and with a poor reparability index.

More than consumers, the companies manufacturing these products for obsolescence and government policies who let these companies introduce such products in the market are a bigger problem. Modern times call for competent policies that are relevant to the issues faced by the consumers and the environment.

For instance, some countries have introduced policies that improve the ‘Right to Repair’ for consumers. The new European Union rules, entering in force from 2021, require appliance manufacturers to supply spare parts for a period of 10 years.

Sweden has slashed the repairing taxes by more than half to encourage people to repair rather than buy new products. France has passed a law that requires products put on the market to have a label indicating the reparability index of the product.

One more aspect that can be explored for ensuring channelisation of end-of-life products to the right destination is the introduction of electronics as a service rather than as a product.

Companies rent out products to consumers, who use them for the desired period of time and can return them back to the manufacturer, who can then rent it to other consumers who may be interested in the product.

This solves two problems, the supply chain problem as the product (while working or after its end of life is reaching the manufacturer), and the electronic waste problem — as the secondary raw materials from the end of life electronic product can be utilised in manufacturing a new product. This will also encourage brands to make products with a higher reparability index and optimise their processes to include secondary materials from urban mines.

Incentivising consumers for not buying electronics frequently or think before they buy and incentivising businesses for making robust products that have a longer mean service life will go a long way in dealing with the issue of electronic waste which is termed as the fastest growing stream of waste, globally.

This was first published in Down To Earth’s annual State of India’s Environment 2021 report.

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NCWV Airport Awarded $2.52 Million for New Terminal Tarmac and 1,200-Foot Taxiway from Federal DOT

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

Presents:

image

Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $4,559,079 from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for five West Virginia airport projects. The funding will support upgrades to runway and taxiway infrastructure, a new lighting system and removing tree obstructions to ensure safe and smooth travels for all West Virginians and visitors to and from the state.

 

“I am pleased DOT is investing in five airports across West Virginia to improve safety and efficiency for West Virginians and Americans traveling to and within our great state,” said Senator Manchin. “Our airports are our gateway to the rest of the world, and these investments will boost local tourism and spur economic development across the entire state. I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of this funding, and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue advocating for resources to support transportation hubs across the Mountain State.”

 

“Rural states like West Virginia rely on regional airports to drive visitors and business to our state,” Senator Capito said. “The grant funding announced today will enable our airports in Wheeling, Clarksburg, Lewisburg, Elkins, and Martinsburg to make key upgrades, expand capacity, and advance key infrastructure projects. Our state will greatly benefit from these grants and I’m looking forward to seeing the difference it will make for our aviation and tourism industries both now and in the future.”

 

Individual awards listed below:

 

  • $2,523,585– Benedum Airport Authority: North Central West Virginia Airport

    • This funding will support designing and constructing a 1,200-foot taxiway and a new terminal tarmac.
  • $1,201,178– Ohio County: Wheeling Ohio County Airport

    • This funding will support sealing, crack repair and remarking of the runway pavement.
  • $331,765– Elkins-Randolph County Airport Authority: Elkins-Randolph County Airport

    • This funding will support removing tree obstructions.
  • $320,150– Greenbrier County: Greenbrier Valley Airport

    • This funding will support rehabilitating the runway to maintain its structural integrity.
  • $182,401– Eastern West Virginia Airport Authority: Eastern West Virginia-Shepherd Field Airport

    • This funding will support reconstructing the taxiway lighting system.

 

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Plans Released for $13.5M Mash Park Upgrade

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

Presents:

image

Renderings of the proposed Mashashimuet Park renovations were unveiled on Monday.

The Sag Harbor School District unveiled on Monday the specifics and cost of a major overhaul of Mashashimuet Park, which has been in the works for nearly a year. The price tag is estimated at $13.5 million.

All told, according to Saverio Belfiore of the Melville-based architectural firm H2M, the proposed fields and facilities “fit within the existing cleared area” in 13 of the park’s 45 acres, with “no additional clearing” needed and “no new intrusion into local animal habitats.” A recent study done in accordance with New York State law concluded that the project will not have any negative impacts on the environment.

For several decades, the school district has relied for its athletic facilities on Mashashimuet Park, as its own real estate holdings are limited. The overhaul of the park includes two baseball fields, two softball fields that can also be used by Little League teams, dugouts and a pitching cage, room for a soccer field in the baseball outfields when they’re not being used, a six-lane track with a field hockey field in the center, and a second comfort station.

Also, there will be electronic scoreboards, portable bleachers, Wi-Fi accessibility throughout the park, an advanced lighting system that complies with “dark skies” guidelines, a sound system, an access road for emergency vehicles, a reorganized parking lot that will actually have more spots, drainage and irrigation systems, and a bus loop for drop-off and pickup. The playground and tennis courts, situated along Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, will stay the same.

The $13.5 million estimate includes contingencies of 5 percent for inflation and 10 percent for construction changes, Mr. Belfiore said. It breaks down to $6.65 million for the fields, $2.75 million for paving, access roads, and drainage; $2.1 million for lighting, $1.75 million for support buildings including the restrooms, and $250,000 for the sound system.

School district officials project that a community vote on a bond to pay for the renovations will be held in about three months, giving the public plenty of time to review and weigh in on the plans. The timeline for the construction is dependent on receiving building permits and clearing review by the State Department of Environmental Conservation and other regulatory agencies.

“We are very lucky to have a partnership with the park,” said Jeff Nichols, the school district superintendent. “The focus really was to take the school’s needs . . . and convey them to the park board, and the park board was very, very focused on trying to honor those needs without disturbing the aesthetic that already exists.”

Also planned is a full restoration of the historic grandstand popular among spectators. Janine Rayano, president of the Mashashimuet Park board of directors, explained that that is being handled solely by the park board, and will be done in two phases. First, the seats, roof, and railings will be renovated; after that, there will be masonry work and upgrades to the bathrooms and locker rooms.

“We have successfully raised enough money to do phase one of the renovation of the grandstand, and expect to begin construction in August,” Ms. Rayano said.

The park board, along with Diane Schiavoni of Sag Harbor, held fund-raisers that generated $85,000 in donations. The Sag Harbor Partnership provided a grant of $40,000, allowing the park board to meet its financial goal for phase one. “The park board is very appreciative to the community for its generosity,” Ms. Rayano said on Tuesday.

Mr. Saverio said the existing cross-country trails will not be changed, except to give them a little “T.L.C.” The district is also in consultation with the noted landscape designer Ed Hollander to add greenery that will soften the appearance of what school officials otherwise described as “sort of industrial.”

In the interim, before the plans can become reality and a long-term lease can be signed, the Sag Harbor School Board approved another one-year contract with the park board, which will cost the district $221,246. The current one-year lease was the outcome of a process that was not without criticism. Several board members cautioned that this new short-term agreement would not work if it were to become the long-term model.

Alex Kriegsman said the contract “is a bad deal for the school district,” but that it is a starting place for the district and park board to continue good-faith negotiations. Chris Tice, another board member, called it a stop-gap measure.

“We hope that the bond will pass and then there will be a long-term agreement that will be structured differently,” she said. “This is a stop-gap to get us to that place. If the bond was not going to be in place, then my recommendation would be to have a very difficult approach to this, one that has kind of more teeth in it as two parties in a relationship.”

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Perovskite: Scintillators, direct detectors, and X-ray imagers

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

Abstract

Halide perovskites (HPs) are used in various applications, including solar cells, light-emitting diodes, lasers, and photodetectors. These materials have recently received a great deal of attention as high-energy radiation detectors and scintillators due to their excellent light yield, mobility-lifetime product (µτ), and X-ray sensitivity. In addition, due to their solution-processability and low cost, perovskite materials could be used to produce thick perovskite films across wide areas, allowing for low-dose X-ray imaging. Perovskite-based scintillators and detectors could eventually replace commercialized products like thallium-doped cesium iodide (CsI:Tl) and amorphous silicon (Si). Here, we review all of the key properties of HPs, the relevant terminology necessary for radiation detection and scintillation, the physical mechanisms underlying their operation, the fabrication process, and perovskite crystals and thin-films of varying dimensionality used for high-energy radiation detection. We also cover the critical issues and solutions that HPs as detectors, scintillators, and imagers face.

Perovskite: Scintillators, direct detectors, and X-ray imagers
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A brighter Batavia on the horizon

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

streetlightingchange2022.jpg

Batavia wants to buy back some lights from National Grid.

No small order, the purchase totals more than $226,000. The move will allow city public works crews to perform their own, more immediate, maintenance and repair of all lights throughout the city, City Manager Rachael Tabelski says.

“We do have a great working relationship (with National Grid). I think their ability to service the lights as quickly as they go out, sometimes it’s difficult. They do their best to keep the lights up to date and to replace them, but there’s definitely advantages to moving to the LED lights; we will have less outages,” Tabelski said during an interview with The Batavian. “And when we do have an outage, we’ll be able to take care of them in house right in the city.”

Phase I to replace all regular lights with LEDs has begun, with a goal to have all LED lights in the city within the next six months, she said. This plan is to save on energy consumption, maintenance and expense while improving the overall quality of light that’s emitted.

According to the city’s presentation materials, LED (light-emitting diode) type lights are directional, which reduces light “trespass” onto adjacent properties and dark spots between street lights. They are also said to have a “higher color rendering index,” which allows the human eye to detect colors better, improving drivers’ ability to see pedestrians or other potential hazards.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski liked the idea when presented earlier this week at a council meeting.

“So they’ll be brighter, less costly, and we’ll have more control over them,” he said.

Council is expected to vote on the purchase of 948 lights for $226,038 at its July 11 meeting. A letter will also be sent to National Grid requesting the buyback, followed by a purchase and sales agreement to be approved by the Public Service Commission, Tabelski said.

Once the PSC approves, National Grid and the city of Batavia will close on the streetlight sale. At that point, the city will own and maintain its own lights, and will continue to pay National Grid for electric and delivery, but not for operations and maintenance costs.

The entire LED conversion program is to cost an estimated $1.7 million, to be paid for through long-term financing and the yearly cost savings of more energy efficient LEDs, Tabelski said.

Photo: Traditional streetlights, on the left, cast an orange glow, versus the whiter LED lights on the right. Photo part of the City of Batavia LED Street Light Conversion program.

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Acuity Brands, Inc. (AYI) CEO Neil Ashe on Q3 2022 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

Presents:

image

Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE:AYI) Q3 2022 Earnings Conference Call June 30, 2022 8:00 AM ET

Company Participants

Charlotte McLaughlin – Vice President, Investor Relations

Neil Ashe – Chairman, President and CEO

Karen Holcom – Senior Vice President and CFO

Conference Call Participants

Christopher Snyder – UBS

John Walsh – Credit Suisse

Christopher Glynn – Oppenheimer

Ryan Merkel – William Blair

Josh Chan – Robert W. Baird & Co.

Jeffrey Osborne – Cowen & Company

Miguel De Jesus – Goldman Sachs

Operator

Good morning, and welcome to the Acuity Brands Third Quarter Earnings Call of Fiscal 2022. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. After the speakers’ presentation, the company will conduct a question-and-answer session. Please be advised that today’s conference is being recorded.

I would now like to hand the conference over to Charlotte McLaughlin, Vice President of Investor Relations. Charlotte, please go ahead.

Charlotte McLaughlin

Thank you, Michelle. Good morning, and welcome to the Acuity Brands fiscal 2022 third quarter earnings call. As a reminder, some of our comments today may be forward-looking statements based on management’s beliefs and assumptions, and information currently available to our management at this time. These beliefs are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which may be beyond our control, including those detailed in our periodic SEC filings.

Please note that our company’s actual results may differ materially from those anticipated and we undertake no obligation to update these statements. Reconciliations of certain non-GAAP financial metrics and their corresponding GAAP metrics are available in our 2022 third quarter earnings release, which is available on our Investor Relations website at www.investors.acuitybrands.com.

With me this morning is Neil Ashe, our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, who will provide an update on our strategy and highlights from the last quarter; and Karen Holcom, our Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, who will walk us through our third quarter performance. There will be an opportunity for Q&A at the end of the call. For those participating, please limit your remarks to one question and one follow-up if necessary. We are webcasting today’s conference call live. Thank you for your interest in Acuity Brands.

I will now turn the call over to Neil Ashe.

Neil Ashe

Thank you, Charlotte, and thank you to everyone on the call for joining us this morning. Our team delivered a strong quarter of sales and operating profit growth, driven by solid execution across both our Lighting and Spaces businesses. This performance is a direct result of the significant and ongoing improvements that our team has made over the last 2 years.

Third quarter sales continue to trend and marked a bit of a milestone. It was the fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth. Sales were over $1 billion this quarter for only the second time in the company’s history as we continue to successfully capture price and drive volume through product vitality and service in both the Lighting and Spaces businesses.

This quarter we were aggressive with our share repurchases. We repurchased about 5% of our shares outstanding in the third quarter. We are confident in the future of our company, and these repurchases add leverage to our future success and create permanent shareholder value.

Moving on to our segments, both our Lighting and Spaces businesses performed well in the third quarter. First, on Acuity Brands Lighting. Our Lighting and Lighting Controls business had another very strong quarter with top line growth driven by our product vitality efforts, and our focus on service. Market demand in the third quarter remain strong and we continue to work through our backlog, which continues to be above normal levels.

Our strategy of increasing product vitality, increasing service levels, and using technology to differentiate both our products and our service is working. Our product vitality efforts are the combination of new product introductions and improvements to our existing products. Over the last 2 years, we have dramatically accelerated these efforts. As a result, our products are more valuable to our customers and more profitable for us.

One of our key product leaders recently finished a complete refresh of his product family. And he asked me what do we do now? And my answer was simple. We do it again. With product vitality, I like to tell our team that if you’re in front and you run faster than everyone else, no one can catch you. We believe that we have the best engineering and design teams in the industry and they are delivering.

Our service has also been strong. In May, several members of the ABL team and I went to the National Association of Electrical Distributors Annual Conference where we met with many of our key distributor partners. This was the first time this group had been together since the pandemic and each company we met with had the same feedback for us.

Acuity had the right products and was able to deliver throughout the pandemic and subsequent supply chain shortages when others could not. It was great for the team to receive affirmation from the marketplace on the changes that they’ve made. It reflects the value of having the right products and being able to deliver them no matter what is going on in the world.

Now, moving to our Intelligent Spaces Group. Spaces continue to perform well with strong sequential quarterly sales growth of 17% and 5% year-over-year growth as well as year-over-year margin improvement. The mission of our Spaces group is to make spaces smarter, safer and greener. Our Distech Controls products, power controls, sensors and other activities and build spaces. And our Atrius cloud-based applications deliver value to owners and end users in those spaces.

I’d like to focus on smarter and greener for a few minutes. A few weeks ago, I was in California at the Distech Connect Conference where we gathered together key systems integrators who buy and install our Distech products. It was the first time that this group was in-person since 2018 and everyone was excited to be back together. Between 2018 and now, Distech has grown significantly through continued product development, and strong partnership with these independent systems integrators.

Our open protocol technology and continued product innovation is proving to be the way to make spaces smarter, faster. And our partnership with independent systems integrators allows us to move quickly and service more and more of the market. Distech powers the facilities and generates data. Atrius is a collection of cloud-based applications that use this data to solve specific problems in spaces.

Distech and Atrius can operate independent of one another. But together, we can deliver true edge to cloud technology and applications. One of our core offerings under the Atrius brand is Atrius Building Insights, which is targeted to multi building operators to provide a single source for their energy usage, carbon and cost management through data — data aggregation, excuse me. Currently, this platform is used in thousands of buildings across North America.

Similar to Distech, our customers include a diverse group of some of the smartest technology companies, commercial customers, and institutions. Our Acuity buildings, of course, use Atrius Building Insights to monitor and reduce our energy usage, our carbon footprint and our costs, and is a key part of our EarthLIGHT initiative. You’ll see more about this when we publish our EarthLIGHT report later this year. There’s a lot to get excited about in ISG, and I look forward to sharing more developments in the future.

Now I want to touch on capital allocation. Our capital allocation priorities remain the same. We will continue to prioritize investments for growth in our current businesses, invest in acquisitions, maintain our dividend and allocate capital for share repurchases when we perceive there is an opportunity to create permanent value for shareholders. Karen is going to talk about our decision to allocate capital to inventory later in the call and give more color on our additional share repurchases this quarter.

But before I pass this to Karen, I want to leave you with a few thoughts. I’m proud of how our team continues to perform. They continue their focus on product vitality and service, while managing the ongoing supply constraints. We expect the market conditions in the fourth quarter to remain largely consistent and I’m confident that our team will continue to deliver.

Now I’ll turn the call over to Karen, who will take a deeper dive into our third quarter performance. And I’ll be back later in the call for Q&A and for some closing remarks.

Karen Holcom

Thank you, Neil. We had a strong third quarter exceeding market expectations across the board. We generated over $1 billion in sales. Our gross margin was 42% and operating profit increased by $25 million year-over-year. We allocated capital to inventory again this quarter, and we repurchased a significant amount of our outstanding shares.

Moving on to our sales performance. Net sales were just over $1 billion, an increase of 18% year-over-year, and as Neil said this was a significant milestone. It is only the second quarter in the company’s history that revenue has exceeded $1 billion. The increase this quarter was driven primarily by ABL and it’s focus on product vitality and service levels. Demand remains strong and we continue to benefit from recent price increases and the OSRAM DS business acquisition.

Gross profit was $445 million, an increase of $59 million or 15% over the prior year. The increase in gross profit was driven by the impact of price realization and volume while cost was impacted by inflation on components and freight. Gross profit as a percentage of sales was 42%, which was a 100 basis point decrease from the prior year, but a 30 basis point improvement from the prior quarter.

Gross profit margin has been impacted by the dilutive mix of the acquisition of the OSRAM DS business throughout the first three quarters of 2022. We also continue to leverage operating expenses and increased operating profit dollars and margin. Our reported operating profit in the third quarter was $143 million, an increase of $25 million or 21% over the prior year. Operating profit margin was 13.5%, an increase of 40 basis points over the prior year.

Adjusted operating profit was $163 million, an increase of $26 million or 19% over the prior year. And adjusted operating profit margin was 15.3%, an increase of 10 basis points compared to the prior year. Finally, we continued to grow earnings per share.

Our diluted earnings per share of $3.07 was an increase of $0.70 or 30% year-over-year, while our adjusted diluted earnings per share of $3.52 increased $0.75 or 27% over the prior year. Share repurchases favorably impacted adjusted diluted EPS by $0.18 during the third quarter.

I now want to expand on our segment performance. Net sales at ABL increased to just over $1 billion, an increase of 19% compared with the prior year and was driven by product vitality and service as well as price increases and the benefit from the acquisition of the OSRAM DS business.

Sales in our independent sales network of $726 million grew 16% in the third quarter driven by price realization and volume and continued strong demand across our end markets, particularly in commercial office, education and industrial facilities. Sales in the direct sales network of $96 million were flat with the prior year. Orders in this channel continued to be strong, but shipments were impacted by component availability.

As we discussed previously, corporate account customers continue to move ahead with renovations that were previously deferred due to the pandemic. As a result, sales in the corporate account channel of $59 million increased 34% over the prior year. As we’ve said before, the corporate account channel is an attractive business. This business is dependent on when customers choose to make renovations to their facilities. And as a result, sales may be inconsistent from quarter-to-quarter.

In the retail channel, we have now worked through the customer inventory transition that we mentioned on prior calls. Third quarter sales in the retail channel of $45 million increased by 24% which is a higher-than-normal growth rate as a result of the weaker prior year comparison. Finally, sales in the other channel increased due to our OEM business, which includes the impact of the acquisition of the OSRAM DS business.

In the third quarter, total sales in this channel were $83 million, an increase of $37 million compared with the prior year. ABL’s operating profit for the third quarter of 2022 was $150 million, an increase of $23 million or 18% versus the prior year. Adjusted operating profit of $160 million improved $24 million or 18% versus the prior year.

Now moving on to ISG. The Spaces team had another good quarter with sales of $58 million and 5% growth year-over-year. As a reminder, they had a big quarter in the third quarter of fiscal 2021. Sequentially, from the second quarter of fiscal 2022, sales grew 17% in the third quarter. ISG’s operating performance also improved while they continue to invest in the business. Operating profit in the third quarter of 2022 increased approximately $2 million to $9 million, while adjusted operating profit of $14 million with an increase of $3 million versus the prior year.

Moving on to cash flow. We generated $166 million of cash flow from operating activities in the first 9 months of fiscal 2022. This was down from the prior year as we allocated capital to inventory in order to support our growth as well as insulate our production facilities from inconsistent supply availability. Cash flow was also impacted by increased tax payments of an additional $22 million. We invested $38 million or 1.3% of net sales in capital expenditures during the first 9 months of fiscal 2022.

Finally, as Neil highlighted, we invested $296 million to repurchase 1.7 million shares during the third quarter. Since we began this repurchase effort in May of 2020 through the end of the third quarter of 2022, we have repurchased approximately 17% of our company shares at an average price of approximately $134 per share. We financed the share repurchases this quarter with cash from the balance sheet and with borrowings under our credit facility.

Now I want to spend a few minutes to walk you through two strategic topics, our inventory investment and our new credit facility. Our inventory has increased over the prior year in terms of dollars and days. There are four factors affecting inventory: First, increased lead times of Asian finished goods; second, increased inventory from the OSRAM DS acquisition; third, ongoing inflationary cost of materials; and finally, increased levels of components to mitigate the impact of shortages. This investment in inventory is intended to be temporary. Although it is up year-over-year from the end of the second quarter to the end of the third quarter, days has improved by 3 days.

To address the higher levels of inventory, we are doing the following. We’ve lowered our purchases of Asian finished goods now that we’ve seen an improvement in lead times. We have renegotiated terms with certain finished goods suppliers and we are controlling purchases of components and manufacturing of products in line with current demand.

Now moving on to our new credit facility. This morning, we closed on our new $600 million revolving credit facility which provides us with additional flexibility, if needed, to accomplish our capital allocation priorities. The new 5-year facility incorporates $200 million of additional borrowing capacity, improved pricing and more favorable covenants. Additional information around the terms of the facility is available in our third quarter 10-Q filing.

Just before I turn the call to the operator for questions, I want to leave you with this. These results highlight the effectiveness of the changes implemented over the last 2 years and our team’s ability to drive performance. Our team has delivered meaningful sales growth and leveraged our operating expenses to deliver increases in operating profit and margin, demonstrating that we can deliver in a challenging environment. We’ve continued to generate cash, and we have effectively deployed capital in a way that generated permanent value.

Thank you for joining us today. I will now pass you over to the operator to take your questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from Chris Snyder with UBS. Your line is open.

Christopher Snyder

Thank you. So the Acuity and the broader industry has implemented a number of price increases over the last 18 months. Can you just provide some color on the company’s pricing strategy going forward? Should we expect further price increases from here?

Neil Ashe

Good morning, Chris. Thanks for joining us. Thanks for the question. So obviously, on the pricing front, we’ve successfully implemented a number of price increases. And we’re — in this inflationary market, we’re evolving how we do price increases. So they are more, they’re frequent and they’re oftentimes more targeted. As long as the inflation — inflationary market continues, I think you can expect that we will also be continuing to adjust our prices going forward.

Christopher Snyder

Appreciate that. And presumably, at a point in time, we won’t be in such a hyperinflationary environment. So as we get back to a normal environment, wherever that may be, is your expectation that these industry price increases will plateau or potentially decline? And do you — is the company expecting that it will be able to maintain kind of the 42% gross margin target even in an environment of pricing declines eventually?

Neil Ashe

Yes. So I want to kind of emphasize a couple of things, Chris, because I think this is a really good question. So first, our strategy has been to invest in product vitality, invest in service and use technology to differentiate our products. So we’ve better products that are more valuable for our customers and more profitable for us — so on a relative basis to the rest of the industry. So as we look forward, we believe those are going to be the hallmarks of who our Acuity Brands Lighting business will be going forward. So we will have the right products in the right place at the right price. Our pricing strategy is really straightforward.

We compete effectively where we need to on everyday lighting products, and we are the best solution sold through our independent sales network and direct sales network for broader product business. So I believe that because of our product vitality and because of our service, we are positioned well for whatever market presents itself to us over the next 3 to 5 years.

Christopher Snyder

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from John Walsh with Credit Suisse. Your line is open.

John Walsh

Hi. Good morning and nice quarter.

Neil Ashe

Thanks, John. Good morning.

John Walsh

So maybe we could follow-on with that line of questioning, but also bring in the cost piece of that equation, right? Because it’s not just price, but it’s price cost. So can you, one, talk about, I guess, on the pricing front, what’s changed in the organization? I think last Analyst Day, you really highlighted pricing is now more of a corporate function, where I think it was a little bit more down in the brands maybe last time? And then about your ability, if you do see deflation or some type of softness, your kind of variable cost structure around your manufacturing because it is a price cost equation, right?

Neil Ashe

Yes. So let me kind of unpack both of those, John. First, on the pricing execution. So I spend a second on pricing strategy before, so now pricing execution. At the — in the Lighting business, the pricing execution is centralized in a consolidated function that is powered by a combination of our team who has a lot of, obviously, domain experience and the introduction of technology, which is allowing them better data to make better decisions. So that’s an evolution from where the company was, say, 3 years ago. And we will continue to invest there, and I think that there’s continued opportunity for improvement in execution around the strategy that I outlined earlier.

On the cost side, you emphasized kind of two key points there or you emphasize one, I’m going to emphasize two. The first is the cost of the inputs. The second is the scalability of our supply chain, the manufacturing and the distribution piece. So first on the components, obviously, we are competing in an inflationary environment. So you see the movement in component prices from components to freight, et cetera. We have demonstrated that we are — have been pretty dexterous in our management of those going forward. And I’ve told our team that while I would like to tell them that I think the next 2 years are going to be easier than the last 2 years, there’s no indication that it will be. So they’re ready to continue to attack those challenges.

The second then is the scalability of our supply chain, manufacturing and distribution. We’ve demonstrated that — if you go back to the kind of the pandemic and as we all went into it and no one knew what would happen, we demonstrated the ability to manage effectively through a period where revenue dropped. And now we are — I believe we’ve demonstrated our ability to execute in a period where revenue increased. And I think that highlights — it’s a good way to think about the two things. One is the scalability of our manufacturing and distribution number one; and number two, our team’s ability to manage and deliver in wildly different environments in a really short period of time. So that, I think, positions us again for what’s going forward. And as I said, none of us know what the next 2 years are going to be like, but we know that they’re not going to be straightforward. So we are in a — but I believe we are in a good position to manage through that.

John Walsh

Great. Thank you for that answer. And then maybe just my second question, just around the outlook. So I think you said Q4 remains largely consistent. I just want to unpack that a little bit, if you could. I mean, typically, you see a seasonal lift Q3 to Q4. Is there anything that you’re seeing on why that wouldn’t play out?

Neil Ashe

Yes. So I will unpack that. Thanks, John. First, on the seasonality impact. For us, we’ve more shipping days in the fourth quarter than we do in the third quarter. So that’s the natural kind of — that’s a piece of the natural seasonality. We — as you look at our Q3 performance, we hit on pretty much all of — as Karen indicated, all of our key distribution channels. So for example, corporate accounts had a big quarter. And as she mentioned, that’s not always consistent because it’s dependent on when those customers choose to make renovations.

Having said that, we continue to have backlog levels above normal levels. The demand continues. And so as we look forward, we are — we think that, as I said, it will be more of the same. Obviously, we are not going to grow 18% every quarter kind of for the foreseeable future. But things are more the same and different in the fourth quarter.

John Walsh

Great. Appreciate you taking the questions. Thank you.

Neil Ashe

Thanks, John.

Operator

Our next question comes from Christopher Glynn with Oppenheimer. Your line is open.

Christopher Glynn

Yes. Thank you. Good morning. I was curious about the kind of volume price split, if you could frame that up any way for ABL. As it is, unit volume for comparisons is kind of the basis to evaluate where we are from cyclical strength and kind of a key input for modeling the year — the out year.

Karen Holcom

Yes. Hi, Chris. This is Karen. Let me give you some color around our price volume. So we are managing, as Neil mentioned, that relationship between price and volume. And if you look at the ABL business and their performance this quarter, it really demonstrating the ability to do both. So we were able to capture and realize price to offset the inflationary cost that we mentioned. We were able to grow our volume this year, year-over-year, and we also benefited from the acquisition of OSRAM, as we mentioned. So I think this quarter is really a good reflection of our ability to manage both of those components.

Christopher Glynn

Do you think the organic side of ABL split maybe 50-50 volume price?

Karen Holcom

Without getting into precise numbers, I would say that we had a healthy mix of both this quarter.

Christopher Glynn

Okay. That’s great. And then a question on ISG. Curious how to think about the fundamental margin and profitability model there. You had almost 100% sequential incrementals and over 80% year-over-year incrementals. I don’t think we will see that kind of leverage in perpetuity. But yes, just in terms of informing our view of the kind of run rate, how to think about it in terms of margin index.

Neil Ashe

Yes, Chris, I will take on that. As I indicated in the prepared remarks, obviously, ISG is a combination of Distech, which is the on-prem and Atrius, which is in the cloud. So what — where we’ve guided kind of their strategic development is that we are going to continue to demonstrate that we can deliver to profitability while we invest in new products and in new software and data capabilities. So you see in this quarter, I think, is a responsible representation of the ability to do both. The ability to grow and the ability to deliver some profit. So going forward, we expect to continue to do that. So we will continue to demonstrate profit while we invest in growth. the priority would be growth if we are forced to choose. But as we’ve demonstrated, I think we can do both.

Christopher Glynn

Great. Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Ryan Merkel with William Blair. Your line is open.

Ryan Merkel

Thanks. Good morning, everyone and nice quarter.

Neil Ashe

Thanks, Ryan.

Ryan Merkel

So, Neil, I wanted to start with a question on the macro. Are you starting to see any signs of a slowdown either in quoting activity or any feedback from the channel that maybe people are getting a little bit more nervous?

Neil Ashe

So not to be — not to make a pun, but I will start — on the macro question, I will start with the macro, which is obviously, we are all competing in the same economy, and we are eying the same data that you are eyeing and we are positioning ourselves appropriately for what could happen because I don’t think any of us know what will happen. As of now, as we indicated, things are more the same than they are different from an outlook perspective. So we continue to see the order and quoting volume. We have above normal backlog as we indicated, and so that positions us going forward. Of course, we acknowledge though that there’s a lot of discussion about things potentially changing. So — but we are — as of now, things are more the same than they are different.

Ryan Merkel

Got it. Okay. And then a question on inflation. Are you starting to see peak inflation at this point? Or are costs still rising such that you may need to increase prices again back to the earlier question?

Neil Ashe

Yes, I think we are being pretty strategic about how we think about pricing. So we announced another price increase yesterday, which was targeted and specific. And I think pricing in our industry should become more — a little bit more dynamic over time, and we are leading that. From a cost perspective, we see things about the same as they have been in the past. Obviously, we have some cost in our inventory, which we will be working through over the next couple of quarters. But going forward, we feel like we are more and more comfortable in a market where price is changing and costs are changing.

Ryan Merkel

Very good. Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Josh Chan with Baird. Your line is open.

Josh Chan

Good morning, Neil, Karen, and Charlotte. Congrats on the quarter.

Karen Holcom

Thanks, Josh.

Josh Chan

I guess — yes, hi. I guess on the topic about the outlook, you guys mentioned that the backlog is above normal. And if you take a look at sort of beyond your backlog, your project pipeline, assuming all the projects kind of progress as you would expect. How much visibility do you have right now that you’re comfortable about? I guess I’m asking because if demand were to slow, I guess, how long will it take for you to kind of see it based on the very strong activity that you currently are experiencing right now?

Neil Ashe

So obviously, we spent a lot of time focused on this, and we think about kind of where our growth is going to come from. So to tie this question to an earlier one that Karen answered, we are seeing a healthy combination of price and volume growth, which are — and unit growth, which are driving our sales. So as we look forward, we believe that we have — because of the investments in product vitality and because we’ve an investment in service, we have a runway that we are going to continue to execute against. So the relationship then between daily order rate obviously will — and shipments will be important, but it will be less pronounced perhaps than it was in years past. So we do have some runway as we look forward to changes. And our objective is to deliver as consistently as we can through in economic times, which are inconsistent.

Josh Chan

All right. Thanks for [indiscernible]. And I guess my second question on supply constraints. It sounds like the imported products might be getting a little bit better. Could you talk about where the bottlenecks still are in your supply chain? And how you feel like you’re stacking against competitors in terms of procurement?

Neil Ashe

Yes, I will start, Karen, if you want to add anything to this. So the — if there are bottlenecks, they are really around chips. So kind of it all starts with silicon, as you’ve heard. We’ve obviously demonstrated an ability to do that better than others. But because we’ve a higher backlog, we’ve also are demonstrating to ourselves that we could still use more. So that’s the place where we spend a lot of our time and effort.

And to think through kind of the impact of that, I will just kind of anecdotally give a piece of color, that’s a relatively inexpensive piece but a highly important piece of the entire build of luminaire. So the electronics that are part of the driver, the driver is part of the luminaire. So that relatively inexpensive component ties up a lot of other components, which are waiting to be assembled into the final luminaire. That’s part of the reason why our inventory is higher. Our raw material inventory is higher because we’re positioned so that when we do get those chips, we can we can perform.

I want to take my hat off to our sourcing team and their ability to be creative and to be dexterous about kind of finding these components. I told a story last quarter, I believe, or the quarter before, where we were even sourcing products for some of our competitors who are our suppliers because they didn’t have access to them. So we are doing everything that we can to differentiate ourselves. And as that starts to — as those chips and silicon start to flow more consistently, which we believe that they will, it’s just a matter of when, as they — then we can more consistently kind of work through the rest of our inventory position and continue to work through our backlog.

Karen Holcom

Yes. And, Josh, I would just add that where we’ve seen some improvement is really around the flow of the purchased finished goods at the port. So we’re able to now get those products so that we can ship them. So that — you will see that work through some of the inventory as well, now that we’ve seen that improvement.

Josh Chan

Thank you both for the color and good luck finishing off this fiscal year.

Neil Ashe

Thanks.

Karen Holcom

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Jeff Osborne with Cowen & Company. Your line is open.

Jeffrey Osborne

Yes. Good morning. I might have missed this, but I was just wondering if you could give us a sense of perspective, Karen, on the OSRAM contribution in the quarter for both revenue and gross margins?

Karen Holcom

Sure. From a top line perspective, OSRAM contributed about 300 basis points of the growth that you see year-over-year. As we mentioned, in the near-term, it is dilutive to gross profit margins where we’ve had them almost a full year now, I think, July 1, will be a full year since we purchase that business. And so we have been working to improve the profitability of the business and still have some work to do, but it was a bit dilutive to the gross profit margin.

Jeffrey Osborne

Got it. And then on the share repurchase, great to see in the quarter. Can you remind me, I think it’s 3.5 million or so outstanding? Is that something you’re active with now? And can you remind me when that expires or if that would be something you need to reinstate?

Karen Holcom

Yes. So last quarter, we did get into this — I believe it was last quarter got additional authorization from the Board. So we have plenty of runway left for our share repurchases. We’ve now repurchased, as I mentioned, about 17% of our shares outstanding since we began this repurchase effort in May of 2020. And we have plenty of runway left should we decide to do more.

Jeffrey Osborne

Got it. Thank you. That’s all I had.

Karen Holcom

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Brian Lee with Goldman Sachs. Your line is open.

Miguel De Jesus

Hi, everyone. This is Miguel on for Brian. Just a quick question on the — on ABL. With the $1 billion you reported this quarter, it seems like you’re now tracking well above the high single-digit growth target for the year, assuming if the fourth quarter is flat or even slightly declining quarter-on-quarter. Is that right? And how do we think about that target for the year or the cadence through the rest of the year for ABL? Thanks.

Neil Ashe

Miguel, I compliment you on your algebra. That’s where we’re rolling out for the rest of the year. Obviously, we are not going to continue to grow at 18% as I indicated earlier. But the algebra would suggest that we will be above single-digit for the remainder — for the full year.

Miguel De Jesus

Okay, great.

Neil Ashe

Are you okay?

Miguel De Jesus

Great. Yes. I just had one quick follow-up there. On the general just the demand backdrop as it relates to pricing, are you seeing anything on the customer appetite changing due to price increases or seeing any stress on demand or worried about pricing getting a bit too intense for customers?

Neil Ashe

Yes. As we said on the outlook, I think things are — as of now, things are more the same than they are different. So we continue — as Karen indicated in our kind of disaggregated revenue, we have strong performance through all of our channels. So as of now, things are more the same than they are different.

Miguel De Jesus

Okay. Thanks. That’s all I had. I will pass it on.

Operator

Thank you. I’m showing no further questions in the queue at this time. I will turn the call back to Neil Ashe for any closing remarks.

Neil Ashe

Thank you all for joining us this morning. We appreciate your interest in Acuity. I just want to reiterate that I’m really proud of how our team is performing through downtimes now uptimes. They are continuing their focus on product vitality and service while they manage through the ongoing supply constraints. And so I want to take my hat off to our team for their performance, and we look forward to continuing that. And we look forward to talking to you again soon. Have a good rest of your day.

Operator

This concludes the program. You may now disconnect.

Categories
All About Lights

The principle of inkjet printing and its applications on AR/VR micro-displays

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

The principle of inkjet printing and its applications on AR/VR micro-displays
Fig. 1 Line distribution yielded by inkjet printing of various solutions. Credit: Compuscript Ltd

With the rapid development of artificial intelligence, image recognition and 5G communication technology, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are developing at an alarming rate. Under the background of the COVID-19, the remote office and consumption interaction are increasing. The market once again turns its attention to AR/VR and increases its investment in technology applications.

One of the main reasons for the outbreak in the market is the breakthrough of new display technology with excellent performance. As the basic element of AR/VR, display devices should have ultra-high pixel density and fast refresh speed in addition to lightweight and small volume. At present, liquid crystal display (LCD) and -emitting diode (OLED), two mainstream display technologies, have been applied to near-eye displays (NEDs) and head-mounted displays (HMDs). However, due to the low conversion efficiency and , fast aging and short life, the development of new display technology has been accelerated.

Micro-LED has excellent optical performance and long life, which is considered as the next generation and ultimate display technology. The minimum pixel size reaches tens of microns, and high pixel density makes it adapted for AR/VR. In addition to high pixel density, full color is also the key element to realize Micro-LED in AR/VR and the color conversion scheme is an effective method. Quantum dots were deposited on blue or ultraviolet micro-LED chips by inkjet to achieve three-color luminescence while avoiding mass transfer technology. In recent years, inkjet printing technology shows great potential in microfabrication due to its advantages of digitalization, patterning, additive manufacturing, low waste of material, and large-area printing. In particular, the emergence of super inkjet (SIJ) printing technology can achieve ultra-high-resolution printing with the minimum line width of printing falling in the sub-micrometer region. It sheds light on the fabrication of high-resolution color conversion layer for micro-LED to realize full-color display, and in specific, for the augmented/virtual realities (AR/VR).

The authors of this article published in Opto-Electronic Advances overview the principle of the inkjet printing technique and its application on micro-display for AR/VR. In this review, the progress of AR/VR technologies is first introduced, followed by the discussion of the adaptability of micro-LED display technology in AR/VR and the advantage of printing color conversion layer for micro-LED by inkjet printing technology. The non-radiation energy transfer mechanism and the influence of color conversion layer thickness on color conversion efficiency are discussed. The advantages of SIJ over other printing technologies in resolution are introduced.

In the second part, the printing principle of various inkjet printing technologies, as well as two key issues—the optimization of ink rheological parameters and the reduction of coffee-ring effects, were introduced. The rheological parameters of ink suitable for each printing technology and the influence of rheological parameters on the printing effect were introduced. Two solutions to the caffeine ring effect and specific improvement methods were reviewed. Finally, some potential problems associated with the color conversion layer are highlighted, including light crosstalk, blue light absorption and self-absorption effect. This review article serves as a reference for the areas of inkjet printing technologies, micro-LED full colorization and its application in AR/VR.

  • The principle of inkjet printing and its applications on AR/VR micro-displays
    Fig. 2 Letters and XMU emblem printed by SIJ. Credit: Compuscript Ltd
  • The principle of inkjet printing and its applications on AR/VR micro-displays
    Fig. 3 Research on suppressing the coffee-ring effect. Credit: Compuscript Ltd

Explore further

Using nanoscale 3D printing to create high-resolution light field prints


More information:
Xiao Yang et al, An overview on the principle of inkjet printing technique and its application in micro-display for augmented/virtual realities, Opto-Electronic Advances (2022). DOI: 10.29026/oea.2022.210123

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Compuscript Ltd

Citation:
The principle of inkjet printing and its applications on AR/VR micro-displays (2022, June 30)
retrieved 30 June 2022
from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-principle-inkjet-applications-arvr-micro-displays.html

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Categories
All About Lights

Eschewing Myopic Attitude Towards Eye Health

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

Presents:

image

In many East Asian countries, myopia is a major public health concern that affects between 80 and 90 per cent of high school graduates, of which about 10 to 20 per cent have sight-threatening pathologic myopia. Thus, early intervention is crucial in the control of myopia and the onus is to be equally distributed between the stakeholders of the eye healthcare ecosystem. Studies have shown that the increased intensity of educational pressures in young children has coincided with the rapid rise in myopia cases in Asian countries in recent decades. Let’s explore the available early interventions that could effectively tackle the rising incidents of myopia, especially in the young.

Uncorrected myopia remains the leading cause of distance vision impairment globally, and its rising prevalence could cost billions of dollars in lost productivity in the coming decades. A hallmark study by the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) in Australia predicts that by 2050, over half the world’s population or 52 per cent will be myopic.

Direct costs of myopia in Asia alone have been estimated at $328 billion every year, with an additional $244 billion in productivity losses associated with myopia.

Studies have shown the increased intensity of educational pressures in young children has coincided with the rapid rise in myopia cases in Asian countries in recent decades. In many East Asian countries, myopia is a major public health concern that affects between 80 and 90 per cent of high school graduates, of which about 10 to 20 per cent have sight-threatening pathologic myopia. 

In particular, with quarantine practices in place during the onset of COVID-19 and children attending online classes over electronic devices, the rise in myopia has been sharp. According to a recent study, more children have developed myopia as an unexpected side-effect of the pandemic.

Although higher prevalence of myopia tends to occur in high-income countries who place a high priority on academic performance such as South Korea, Singapore, China, and Japan, the numbers in East and Southeast Asia are rising rapidly too.

On this note, Ken Tong, President, Singapore Optometric Association says, “An increase in myopia compromises the structure and health of the eye, meaning a greater risk of eye disease and vision loss. As such, myopia control methods must be implemented to curb preventable eye diseases from progressing. If there is no intervention in a myopic child’s visual system, myopia will continue to worsen and present greater threats to eye health over an individual’s lifetime.”

China

A study by The Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in 2021 showed that the unprecedented level of quarantine, prohibiting outdoor activities and restricting daily routines to indoor activities, has triggered a “myopia boom” in school children in Hong Kong.

The Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences conducted a prospective population-based study to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on myopia incidence and progression among school-aged children in Hong Kong and found a 2.5-fold increase in myopia incidence.

According to Professor Calvin C.P. PANG, S. H. Ho Research Professor of Visual Sciences, CUHK, “High myopia (-6.00 diopters or above) can lead to sight-threatening complications, including glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal detachment and cataract. Wearing glasses or having laser refractive surgery can help improve vision, but cannot resolve the eyeball elongation problem or reduce the risk of complications, therefore prevention should be given top priority.”

In sync with these findings, researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) found that not only did the rate of myopia progress faster in school children, but the rate of astigmatism also increased by nearly 50 per cent, in the last two years.

As a result, PolyU has signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with C-MER Eye Care Holdings to advance optometry development and eye and vision health in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

About 60 students of PolyU’s School of Optometry will receive up to three weeks of clinical training in C-MER hospitals, clinics and optical centres in Hong Kong and other Greater Bay Area (GBA) cities every year; while researchers and specialists from the School and C-MER will collaborate on scientific studies about myopia management and ageing eyes.

In addition, the Centre for Eye and Vision Research (CEVR) has been launched in 2022 with the collaboration between PolyU and the University of Waterloo in Canada. This development is supported InnoHK, the flagship innovation and technology initiative of the HKSAR Government, focusing on myopia and eye growth, ocular drug discovery and delivery, vision enhancement, tear film and ocular surface, and advanced optometric technology.

French firm EssilorLuxottica has joined forces with representatives from both the central and local governments in China to promote the idea of ‘spending more time outdoors in order to stay away from myopia’. The company has also launched two key products, MiSight and Diffusion Optics Technology, to prevent and control myopia for children and youth in the country.

Singapore

Myopia is the most common eye condition affecting children in Singapore today. More than half of the children in Singapore develop myopia by the age of 12 years old. A 2021 global study with Singaporean researchers, linking the use of digital smart devices with myopia in children, has revealed that high levels of smart device screen time were associated with almost a 30 per cent higher risk of myopia, and when excessive computer screen time was added, this increased to almost 80 per cent.

In conjunction with public health programmes, a locally developed mobile application called Plano has been established in Singapore to manage the use of smartphones and tablets among children. The first spin-off from the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) – Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) Ophthalmic Technologies Incubator Programme, Plano has partnered with US-based Jobson Optical Group to produce new educational content designed specifically for eye care professionals worldwide. 

Dr Mohamed Dirani, Managing Director, Plano, says, “Myopia is a worsening global issue and there is a pressing need to act as a global community to implement strategies at all levels to reduce the burden of myopia. Through education and awareness, innovative solutions that help parents to control their children’s screen time, and ensuring that children undergo regular and timely eye exams, we can intervene early to prevent myopia.”

Korea

According to a recent report, the prevalence of myopia in children and adolescents in Korea ranges from 50 per cent in children aged 5–11 years to 78.8 per cent in children aged 12–18 years. This prevalence is comparable to that in China (70.9 per cent in children aged 6–18 years), and higher than that in Japan (43.5 per cent in 12-year-old children and 66 per cent in 17-year-old children).

In an interesting development, South Korea-based firm Seoul Semiconductor has revealed that SunLike, a natural lighting technology, can improve myopia. Developed through years of R&D, Seoul Semiconductor has been conducting experiments with Seoul National University, Basel University, and Harvard University since 2017.  The company has recently collaborated with SERI to further confirm this observation.

“It is important to select natural light that has been optimised for human DNA for millions of years. SunLike technology can reduce myopia and help people fall asleep well at night when cells are regenerated”, says Chung Hoon Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Seoul Semiconductor.

Adding on, MiSight 1 day, child-friendly daily disposable contact lenses proven to slow the progression of nearsightedness in children aged 8-12 at the initiation of treatment, by US-based CooperVision has recently been approved in the country.

Adding his thoughts on nipping myopia in the bud, Hamish Thrum, Senior Director, Myopia Asia Pacific (APAC), CooperVision says, “Low levels of myopia may not ring alarm bells for many parents. However, because myopia is a progressive condition, the younger the child is when myopia sets in, the higher the risk of severe sight-related complications later in life, if the myopia is untreated. Even a 1.00 diopter increase in myopia has been associated with a 67 per cent increase in the prevalence of myopic maculopathy. Conversely, slowing myopia by just 1.00 diopter should reduce the individual’s likelihood of myopic maculopathy by 40 per cent.”

Japan

Back in 2019, a research team at the Keio University School of Medicine had conducted Japan’s first prevalence study on myopia in 20 years. The study looked at approximately 1,400 elementary and junior high school students in the Tokyo area and found a possible correlation between myopia and dry eye.

Results showed that the prevalence of myopia in 689 elementary school students was 76.5 per cent, while the prevalence of high myopia was 4 per cent. In 727 junior high school students, the prevalence of myopia was 94.9 per cent, higher than existing reports abroad, and the prevalence of high myopia was 11.3 per cent.

Determined to fight this growing burden of eye health, researchers at Keio University are currently exploring the use of violet light to stop myopia progression.

On the other hand, the Education Ministry in Japan plans to conduct a near sightedness survey involving 9,000 students amid concerns over the increasing use of digital devices and their potential impact on children’s health.

Besides these surveys, Japan is indeed riding high on innovation by developing unique smart glasses to slow down or even reverse myopia. Kubota Pharmaceutical has designed a special pair of glasses that aims to treat and control the progression of myopia with its built-in mechanism to project an image onto the retina. The device is currently undergoing clinical trials and will be soon launched in Asian markets.

Another Japanese player Menicon has launched a treatment plan for myopia control in multiple countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Australia, and Singapore. The comprehensive treatment plan for childhood myopia features two contact lenses that are CE-approved specifically for myopia control: Menicon Bloom Night, a specially designed orthokeratology contact lens, and Menicon Bloom Day, an extended depth of focus soft daily disposable contact lens.

Australia & New Zealand

Like many other Asian countries, cases of myopia have increased among children in Australia and New Zealand as well in the past two years. In fact, surveys are showing that 91 per cent of Australian parents were not aware of the role excessive screen time could play in myopia development and 73 per cent did not know that genetics might also play a role.

Addressing this concern, the regulatory body Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has listed a new medication by Aspen Pharmacare in 2022 to slow the progression of myopia in children and young teenagers.

“Childhood myopia is an emerging public health concern. We are providing a low dose atropine eye drop treatment to Australia that has been studied in children and adolescents, 4 to 14 years, to slow the progression of myopia”, says Trevor Ziman, Chief Executive Officer, Aspen Asia Pacific.

On the other hand, New Zealand has launched its first mobile optometry clinic to improve access to eye healthcare, since cost is a significant barrier in the country.

India

Myopia in India and its understandings are still evolving. The diverse nature of the country has differing prevalence rates, and the technological advancement has unequivocally added many novel insights including factors such as genetics, imaging, morbidities, and management. However, due to lack of public awareness, social stigmatisation, and lack of personal care, the intended goals have not been achieved yet.

“Myopia is the most important cause of visual impairment in children and as per a study by All India Institute of Medical Science, 17 per cent of children or 1 out of 6 children in India between the ages of 5 and 15 years are suffering from myopia”, says Nikkhil K Masurkar, Executive Director, ENTOD Pharmaceuticals.

The company, ENTOD Pharmaceuticals, has very recently got the approval to carry out phase 3 trials across India for their 0.05 per cent atropine eye drops from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). This higher strength of low-dose atropine eye drops is not available commercially anywhere in the world, and ENTOD Pharmaceuticals would be the first company to launch this in India subject to a successful demonstration of safety & efficacy in clinical studies.

Low-dose atropine has emerged as an effective approach to slow the progression of myopia in children and has recently garnered a lot of interest from ophthalmologists.

Countermeasures and Strategies 

Myopia, although a fairly innocuous eye defect, has the potential to transform into a major, life-changing disorder that affects a person’s efficiency and lifestyle immensely. The rise of myopia in children across the Asian subcontinent is that of concern and alarm, especially the deterioration observed since the pandemic. it appears crucial and cost-effective to take urgent and effective actions to halt further progression and to prevent the emergence of expected challenges. This could be achieved through various countermeasures and strategies, such as human resources building, appropriate distribution of eye care health professionals and collaboration among the countries within APAC.

Introduction of advanced technologies and experience from developed countries could be one of the fastest ways to help promote the eye care services capacity in the developing and underdeveloped parts of the region.

Dr Manbeena Chawla

(With inputs from Sakura Koner)

 

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Business news Samsung buys German display company, sacks engineers Business news June 30, 2022

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

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N.B. RCMP trying to identify two persons of interest after items stolen from boat in Back Bay

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The RCMP is asking for the public’s help as it tries to identify two persons of interest after items were stolen from a boat in Back Bay, N.B.

Police say two people boarded the boat at the Back Bay wharf around 2:35 a.m. on April 27 and stole several items, including multiple tools and a hockey bag.

During the investigation, members of the RCMP obtained surveillance video photos of the people and a vehicle of interest.

Police say one person appears to have been wearing a blue shirt with a light-coloured flannel on top, light grey ball cap, blue jeans, and green rubber boots.

The second person looks to have been wearing a black ball cap with a black hoodie that had a white logo and brand on the front.

Police say the vehicle is described as a blue pickup truck with white lettering on the windshield, a black or dark grey driver door, and a black or dark grey roof. Additionally, the vehicle did not have a tailgate, an amber top light, or a back lighting system.

“The reverse light on the passenger side was burnt, and the truck appears to have a ‘lift kit’ installed,” said the RCMP in a news release.

Anyone with information about the theft or who recognizes the people or the vehicle is asked to contact St. George RCMP at 506-755-1130 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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Five-year £4.7m streamlining plan for key Calderdale buildings is on schedule

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Despite issues posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, major work approved back in September 2017 including to ensure three main depots are modernised has been largely done by Calderdale Council.

At the end of the day, board members heard, the projects are on track to save the council money.

The project includes use of key buildings around Calderdale, particularly at Todmorden and Elland.

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Todmorden Library

Planned work at Todmorden Library, Rochdale Road, has been completed and the completed and the locality touch down point (TDP) is now open for staff to book, enabling them to meet people there.

Work is also being planned to make access to Grade I listed Todmorden Town Hall easier and a review on its future use and occupancy is under way with Todmorden Town Council.

At Elland, work to turn Elland Library into a multi-use hub had also finished.

The Library and Children’s Contact Centre sections have opened and the council’s office space on the first floor will be used for some of the council’s office staff.

Elland Library. Picture: Google Street ViewElland Library. Picture: Google Street View
Elland Library. Picture: Google Street View

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Also in the town, Westgarth is now also complete, providing a modern, fit for purpose, respite care and independent living provision.

The council’s plans to overhaul three depots ensuring they are fit for purpose for staff who use them is at the early stages but on course and a new “youth bus” has been provided to the lower Calder Valley.

And as streamlining the amount of building space the council uses, property disposals have brought in £1.12 million from a target of £1.77 million, but the remaining £650,000 should also be brought in by the end of next year, members of Calderdale Council’s CAFM Asset Management Board heard.

A further phase of work, and streamlining the number of properties where the council’s workforce will be based are both rated “amber” rather than “green” in the traffic-lighting system.

The second phase review will look at how a number of other buildings, including reviews of day care, children’s centres and health hubs are used, while the £2.9 million workforce office accommodation strategy has slipped from green to amber.

This is largely because more thought has been given to which services can be fitted into the Horton Street, Halifax, hub and whether a more comprehensive refurbishment, subject to budget, of Halifax Town Hall should be undertaken.

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Hyundai Robotics' quarantine robot uses plasma and UVC LED sterilization.

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

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[Courtesy of Hyundai Robotics]

SEOUL — An autonomous quarantine robot developed by Hyundai Robotics is ready for commercial operation. It can conduct face-to-face quarantine activities in the lobby and passageways of buildings using plasma and ultraviolet-C light-emitting diode (LED) sterilization.

Hyundai Robotics, a robot maker affiliated with South Korea’s top shipbuilding group, would release its new quarantine robot on July 1. Plasma sterilization removes various harmful bacteria and discharges purified air. The robot disinfects the floor with ultraviolet-C (UVC) LEDs. UVC, also called Deep UV, emits ultraviolet light with short wavelengths. 

Plasma can efficiently inactivate microbial pathogens. It has been used to inactivate pathogens on the surface of medical and dental devices. UV-C radiation is a known disinfectant for air, water and surfaces that can help mitigate the risk of acquiring an infection. 

Hyundai Robotics said its quarantine robot is equipped with eight sensors that detect ultrafine dust and organic chemicals in the atmosphere and purify them with three types of filters. 

In May 2022, Vodafone, a British telecom company, tied up with Hyundai Robotics to develop service robots targeting European clients. They would test-run quarantine robots at university hospitals in Germany before supplying 5G-based service robots to restaurants, hotels, and nursing facilities. 
  
Based on Vodafone’s 5G communication infrastructure, Hyundai Robotics would upgrade its system that simultaneously controls multiple robots and enables real-time data exchange between robots for their efficient team-level cooperation without human intervention. 

COVID-19 prompted researchers to quickly develop autonomous robots to sterilize high-risk facilities. Many quarantine robots in operation can only clean vacant spaces or places with a very small moving population because strong light treatment could harm people. 

In March 2022, South Korea’s largest telecom company KT unveiled quarantine robots to sterilize viruses and purify the air using a plasma method that can safely disinfect hospitals, schools and public facilities at all times even with people staying around.

KT’s robot uses UV-C LEDs mounted at the bottom to kill germs and viruses on the floor. Robots can autonomously drive and automatically charge through cameras and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors which measure distance by illuminating the target with laser light.  

 

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6 best tablets in UAE, for 2022

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

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Tablets go with you wherever you choose to work from next – the house, in transit or on vacation.
Image Credit: Unsplash/Roberto Nickson

With remote jobs becoming the new norm, computer tablets just make sense. You will want a machine that is as convenient and flexible as your work schedule, always ready to fly with you on spontaneous travels. Easy to pack and boot up, tablets see to your day-to-day tasks with an efficiency comparable to fast processing laptops and personal computers (PCs).

Shopping for a decent but affordable tablet in a market dominated by popular models can be overwhelming. Ideally, you should be reviewing four main components before hitting the purchase button, according to experts.

What should I look for when buying a tablet?

tablets

Your choice of tablet will boil down to your needs. A family tablet, for instance, will do just fine without the elaborate specs that might suit a content creator more.
Image Credit: Unsplash/Surface

Lijosh John, a technical service engineer at Al Barsha Electronics LLC in Dubai, has repaired several tablets in his career. What should be of concern first and foremost, he says, is the display quality.

Display quality: A tablet’s touchscreen feature naturally demands a large display to accommodate our requests. While artists would gravitate towards a bigger screen, as seen in the Apple iPad Pro’s 12.9-inch display, cinephiles should consider an Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode (AMOLED) display, as well. For the deepest blacks on screen and faster refresh rate, tablets with AMOLED screens light up colours pixel by pixel.

Performance: Then comes the performance level of the device, which depends on the processor chip or the engine of the tablet. “Apple’s M1 chip supports heavier graphics than the usual processors, so it’s mostly used for gaming and designing,” said John, adding that a decent performing tablet should at least have a 2.4GHz processor speed.

Battery life: The longer the battery life the better, but some tablets drain their power reserve faster than others. “Samsung Galaxy tablets tend to consume more power in the displays, so their battery life is shorter than the Apple iPad,” said John. He also advises against charging tablets when in use, which is a common cause of battery swelling. Hours of simultaneous charge and discharge damages the cells in the battery, explains John.

Random access memory (RAM) storage: To improve speed and prevent lag, go for a tablet that has a minimum of 6GB RAM, says Prem Kumar, a service technician at Techbayt Electronics LLC, Dubai. He says this advice especially applies to Android tablets, which end up lagging upon multitasking.

Taking all of this into account and more, we compiled some of the best tablets on Amazon, for content creators and students alike. And, do hurry because our selection is discounted for a limited period of time. If you have an old iPad in need of repairing, you can get that fixed as well through Amazon – hire pros to patch up your device at home via Amazon Home Services.

Receive your brand new tablet the very next day, when you purchase as a Prime member.

1. Best Overall: 2021 Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 128GB), Silver 

Pros

  • Ideal for artists and graphic designers, thanks to its M1 chip
  • Face ID unlock
  • 5G cellular with Wi-Fi
  • 12.9-inch Liquid Retina Extreme Dynamic Range (XDR) screen
  • 12MP front camera always keeps you in the centre
  • 8GB random access memory (RAM)

Cons

  • The stylus and keyboard are sold separately
  • Not as customisable as Android tablets

The 2021 12.9-inch display is the latest Apple iPad Pro in the series. Like the previous 11-inch, this model runs on the streamlined Apple-developed M1 chip. Your gaming needs and 3D modelling ventures will thrive with the M1 chip, since it carries an 8-core central processing unit (CPU) for performance and an 8-core graphics processing unit (GPU) for faster graphics. Its Liquid Retina XDR screen delivers the best canvas for creative pursuits and TV show binge-watching, with brightness levels peaking at 1,600 nits. Hold video conferences with confidence through a 12-megapixel selfie camera that moves when you move. Despite its power-hungry features, the Apple iPad Pro can impressively last nine hours of web surfing on a single charge.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh330.22 for 12 months with select banks. Add an Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) for Dh448 and an Apple Magic Keyboard for Dh1,299.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh227, a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh380, and a two-year damage protection and one-year extended warranty for Dh484.

2. Best for Students: 2020 Apple iPad Air (10.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB), Green

Pros

  • Edits 4k videos and runs games easily on A14 Bionic chip
  • Nearly 11-inch of Liquid Retina display
  • Converts handwriting to text
  • 7MP HD front camera
  • 6GB of RAM

Cons

  • No Face ID sensor
  • Storage options are limited between 64GB and 256GB
  • Apple Pencil is sold separately

The 4th generation of Apple iPad Air is less expensive than the Pro series for missing pricier components like the M1 chip, Face ID sensor and a larger display. Yet, the tablet is just as versatile with top-notch specs – the 10.9-inch Liquid Retina Display still makes sketching on Procreate a breeze and the 7MP HD front camera works well for online classes. Instead of the M1 chip, this model of iPad Air runs on an A14 Bionic chip, which dedicates six cores to performance and four cores to graphics. According to Kumar, the Air series is the most popular tablet among students for its versatile note-taking options.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh185.62 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh142, a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh238, and a two-year damage protection and one-year extended warranty for Dh303.

3. Best Android Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ 

Pros

  • Includes stylus that charges on the tablet
  • Converts handwriting into text
  • Split screen makes multitasking easier
  • Expandable MicroSD storage for up to 1TB
  • 8GB of RAM

Cons

  • Fast-draining battery
  • Clip Studio Paint runs on a six-month trial

Save Dh271 when you shop the latest Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus today. Sporting a large 12.4-ich AMOLED screen, this model (along with S8 and S8 Ultra) is the slimmest and toughest S Tab yet. The best part is that your tablet comes with an S Pen that magnetically snaps onto the back of the S8 Plus. It’s how the stylus charges itself as well, so you never have to worry about misplacing it. If Apple has Procreate, Samsung tends to your creative flair with the Clip Studio Paint app. And the tablet even casts onto a second PC screen in the DeX mode for close-up editing or drawing sessions.

4. Best Travel Tablet: HUAWEI MatePad 10.4 inch 2022

Pros

  • Compatible with mouse
  • Long battery life
  • Multi-window display
  • Lightweight at 450 grams
  • Expandable MicroSD storage of 512GB
  • 8MP front camera

Cons

  • Only 4GB of RAM
  • Screen casts on a Huawei MateBook only
  • Huawei M-Pencil and keyboard are sold separately

The new Huawei MatePad 2022 is a lightweight wonder, weighing only 450 grams. It has a 10.4-inch screen that supports 2K resolution and has four speakers tucked away for an immersive audio experience. When tapping gets tiring, switch to a mouse to resume your tasks, an accessory that helps you preview app windows without opening them. Speaking of apps, you don’t have to sacrifice any. Keep tabs on at least four running applications on the screen, so that you can take minutes in meetings and more. The impressive user experience doesn’t end there – the Huawei MatePad completes the tasks of one app on two separate windows. Think texting and emailing on your work suite at the same time.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh88.25 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh86, a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh143, and a two-year damage protection and one-year extended warranty for Dh182.

5. Best Budget for Family: Lenovo Tab P11 Plus 

Pros

  • Child-friendly account for apps, games and books
  • Four Dolby Atmos speakers
  • Noise cancellation in video calls
  • 6GB of RAM
  • Fast charging

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • Lenovo Pen and keyboard pack are sold separately

If you’re looking for a general tablet to keep around the house, the Lenovo Tab P11 Plus fits the bill. It has a sufficient 6GB RAM that prevents lag but operates on a slower 2.0GHz processor for the price point. Still, reviewers who tend to pick up the tablet occasionally are satisfied with the responsive 11-inch screen, ample storage of 128GB and smooth application switching, from emails to games to e-reader. Advertised as a family tablet, the P11 Plus introduces your children to more than 10,000 teacher-approved apps, games and books via Google Kids Space. This is your best bet for light, everyday usage.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh80.76 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh57, a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh95, and a two-year damage protection and one-year extended warranty for Dh121.

6. Best for Work: Microsoft Surface Pro 8

Pros

  • Built-in 180-degree kickstand
  • 8GB RAM
  • 4.2GHz processor speed
  • Compatible with Xbox console
  • Large 13-inch screen

Cons

  • Heavy at 889 grams
  • No SD card slot for storage extension
  • Keyboard and pen are sold separately

A cross between a laptop and a tablet, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is one of the pricier tablet ranges out there. It operates much like your personal Windows computer, running on an 11th Gen Intel Core processor with amazing speeds of 4.2GHz and a rapid screen refresh rate of 120Hz. Your essential work apps, from Microsoft Teams to Microsoft 365, are readily available, making your transition from laptop to tablet easier. And while other models need a separate case to prop up the device, the Surface Pro 8 comes with a built-in kickstand on the back. Prop it up for video calls or set it low for editing; match the angle to the task for up to 180 degrees. However, John says Surface Pro is a tricky tablet to repair and can quickly become costly when it comes to the processor chip.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh274.92 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty. Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh332, a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh369, and a two-year damage protection and one-year extended warranty for Dh424.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.

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Transitions to efficient LED lighting can mitigate the energy crisis

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

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Accelerating the transition to energy-efficient connected LED lighting could help households and businesses mitigate the energy crisis

Aiding the UK’s Race to Zero strategy towards decarbonising the nation, a switch to energy-efficient LED lighting could eliminate 3.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in the professional market, and save a total of 3.8 billion Euros annually.

Energy-efficient LED lighting can also help the average British household save up to £250 per year, as well as help the millions of households who were pushed into fuel poverty due to the change price cap in April 2022.

With energy prices and global carbon emissions reaching all-time highs, businesses need to take quick action to tackle climate change – one way is by challenging our current energy outputs such as our lighting.

LED lighting as the new standard of ‘general lighting’

Switching to LED lighting in the professional lighting market could reduce CO2 emissions by 3.9 million tonnes in the UK&I region, which is the same amount of CO2 that 175 million trees could sequester in a year. Making the switch would also save 16.1 TWh of electricity, according to Signify.

After phasing out the incandescent light bulb worldwide, efforts to transition to energy-efficient connected LED lighting as the new standard of ‘general lighting’ have been conducted by the energy company Signify.

This shift aims to help meet the goals of the UK’s ten-point plan and other commitments that nations have made around the world in line with the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions and install greener energy.

54% of businesses will struggle with energy bills too, so the energy crisis is not solely the responsibility or burden of families and households alone.

Thus, business leaders in the United Kingdom and Ireland (UK&I) region should focus on making changes that deliver results quickly and impact both the professional and consumer lighting markets.

Lighting takes up about 11% of the average UK household electricity consumption

Nicholas Howarth, Senior Analyst at the International Energy Agency said: “The world is facing the most significant energy crisis in recent history and energy efficiency is a solution to many of its most urgent challenges.

“Highlighting its importance, in June at the IEA Global Conference on Energy Efficiency, 27 governments from around the world issued the Sønderburg Action Plan calling for energy efficiency and demand side action to play a much greater role in protecting households, businesses and the economy from high energy prices. This is vital for addressing the energy crisis, rising inflation and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Stronger policy packages covering regulations, information and incentives will play a key role in accelerating energy efficiency and related measures. This includes the deployment of smart, efficient lighting, upgrading homes with better insulation, improving the fuel efficiency of cars, as well fostering investment in new industrial machinery.

“Efficient lighting is a proven technology to reduce electricity demand, fast. This will also help create extra electricity capacity needed for electric heat pumps and vehicles which put upwards pressure on power demand Climate Group, an international non-profit working with businesses and governments around the world to drive climate action, also aligns with Signify’s ambition.”

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Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode Market Growing at 41.2% CAGR by 2030 – User demand is Driving Growth

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

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Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode Market Growing at 41.2% CAGR by 2030 – User demand is Driving Growth – Energy Industry Today – EIN Presswire























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Brewdog founder’s vertical farm in Ellon demonstrates towering ambitions

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Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

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Indoor farming isn’t simply about producing exotic foods closer to home and out of season, but also about harnessing renewable energy, as Peter Ranscombe finds out.

Aberdeenshire is at the forefront of Scotland’s experiments with vertical farming.

Martin Dickie, one of the founders of brewery and bar chain BrewDog, created an experimental indoor farm in a shipping container on his family’s 300-acre arable farm near Ellon.

BrewDog co-founder Martin Dickie.

The trial farm covers nearly 130 square feet spread across two trays, and has been used to grow herbs and leafy greens, as well as experimenting with strawberries and chillies.

The heat from the LEDs is enough to keep the temperature within a Mediterranean-like 20-25°C  range, thanks to thick insulation.

Power to run the diodes comes through a renewable energy tariff.

“The shipping container sits in a less productive field for growing crops,” explained Graeme Warren, director of Vertegrow, the company set up by Dickie’s investment firm, Steadman Partners, to run the project.

Mr Warren added: “Moving into vertical farming was an option that Martin and I began discussing three or four years ago, while we were looking at the future of farming in Scotland and how to grow food more sustainably, rather than flying stuff in from the Mediterranean or North Africa.

“Realistically, we’re not going to compete with an Angus strawberry grower in the middle of July, but we wouldn’t try to do that – we’re focusing the business on crops that are otherwise difficult to grow in Scotland, and so are imported, or growing native crops like soft fruit in the winter to displace imports.”

Vertegrow is using the lessons learned in its shipping container to build a 33ft tower on the farm.

The tower is expected to be completed in August and will have 50 trays, allowing it to produce around 10 tonnes of food every year.

Salad leaves and herbs grown in the shipping container are being sold to local restaurants and retailers, and the company has spoken to the main food wholesaler for BrewDog’s bars as a potential customer for crops from the tower.

The company is continuing to look at the best way to power its larger vertical farm.

Mr Warren said: “We’ve done some feasibility studies on small wind turbines and we’ve looked in the past at solar.

“But we want to make sure we get the right fit and do something that’s not simply tiny generation, which would just be greenwashing.”

Looking further ahead, Vertegrow has partnered with Light Science Technologies, RheEnergise, and the UK Urban AgriTech collective to form the Vertical Farms & Storage Technologies (V-Fast) consortium.

V-Fast aims to build a series of vertical farms on rolling hills between Forfar and Dumbarton.

RheEnergise’s pumped-storage hydro-electric technology would allow the farms to store power from wind turbines and solar panels for use on cloudy and still days.

Building a vertical farm 10 times larger than Vertegrow’s tower near Ellon may cost between £5 million and £10m, and so joint ventures with customers could help to fund future sites.

While Vertegrow is cutting its teeth on a traditional farm in the countryside, Grown Agritech has chosen a more urban setting for its demonstration project.

Founders Vinay Arja, from India, and Duarte Carvalho, of Angola, met while studying for their postgraduate degrees in business administration at Aberdeen University.

An academic project on food production led to them creating their own company, with support from an accelerator programme run by Elevator UK, which delivers Business Gateway services in the north-east.

l-r Grown Agritech co-founders Vinay Arja and Duarte Carvalho.

Aberdeen-based Grown Agritech is developing a growing system people will be able to use to set up their own commercial vertical farms.

The company is also creating a computer system to run indoor farms, connecting sensors via the “internet of things” (IoT) to monitor plants as they grow.

In addition, the founders plan to incorporate machine learning into their digital platform to help growers manage their farms.

They are building an 800sq ft demonstration vertical farm inside Opportunity North East’s technology hub on Schoolhill in Aberdeen.

Their indoor farm will initially grow micro and leafy greens, then sell them to local shops and restaurants.

Mr Arja said: “We are looking to make our digital product low-cost, so that it can be implemented in developing countries as well.

“We are in touch with a few government organisations in Africa – we spoke to the agriculture department in Angola and the works department in Ghana, and also to the World Bank to be part of its projects to implement digital technologies where they’re needed most.”

Funding and partnerships

Both Grown Agritech and Vertegrow received grants from the Food and Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund – run by the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership and academic match-making body Interface – to help them work with Scottish universities and colleges to develop their technology.

Grown Agritech has teamed up with Aberdeen University to improve the effectiveness of indoor growing systems, while Vertegrow has partnered with Scotland’s Rural College to monitor the carbon footprint of its operations.

Growth market

Glasgow-based vertical farming specialist Kilimo IoT also received funding to work with Robert Gordon University, of Aberdeen, to develop its data gathering process.

Market analysis firm Grand View Research predicted in March the global vertical farming market will post compounded annual growth of 25.5% between now and 2030, when the sector is expected be worth about US$33 billion, or £27 billion at today’s prices.

Meanwhile, Scottish vertical farming specialist Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS)  launched its first demonstration farm in 2018.

Its crop research centre is based at the James Hutton Institute at Invergowrie.

Last year at COP26, where it showcased its technology, it announced it had received a cash injection last of more than £42 million to fund its next stage of global growth.

What is vertical farming?

Farmers have used the same tools in one form or another for generations – a plough, a seed drill, perhaps a tractor or two.

Soon, some of those farmers could be swapping their combine harvesters for light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Instead of planting crops in fields, vertical farming involves growing plants indoors, often in towers, with trays stacked one on top of the other.

Vertical farming.

Rather than relying on sunlight, LEDs are used to provide the energy needed for the plants to grow.

Instead of soil, a range of “growth media” is used, from crushed coconut shells to hemp or jute.

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Mobile Wallet Market [+PESTL Analysis] | Regional Trends and Forecast 2022-2031

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

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Mobile Wallet Market [+PESTL Analysis] | Regional Trends and Forecast 2022-2031 – Lighting Industry News Today – EIN Presswire























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Port Arthur ISD will be first district in Texas to use new video learning system

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

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Imagine an interactive game inside an elementary school gym that allows students to play and work on core subjects at the same time.

The state-of-the-art system is coming to elementary schools in the Port Arthur Independent School District this upcoming school year.

Kenneth Daigre, instructional technology supervisor with the district, presented a video on the new program to trustees at last week’s board meeting showing students looking at a scene projected onto a blank wall that featured simple math problems. The students in the video tossed balls at the correct answer and it was tallied up. This was but one small version of what the system can do.

The district is set to be the first in the both the Region 5 Educational Service Center and the State of Texas to use the Lü Interactive Playground system.

The Lü Interactive Playground system is shown mounted on a ceiling. (Courtesy photo)

Daigre said with the new system, students are learning basic to advanced content areas without realizing they are learning.

“In efforts to use all the advantages we can to add solutions to solve academic gaps among students, looked at all we had to increase motivation,” Daigre said. “We know kids love to go to (physical education), they always have. And with this kids are actually learning.”

Research of the Lü Interactive Playground system being used in California showed gains in student performance by using the interactive gaming system.

Daigre said he isn’t aware of instructional technology being used in physical education because P.E., and fine arts are usually areas where, in some areas, kids are given a break but these courses use higher level thinking skills. Studies show students in music and sports excel academically.

“So why not use P.E. to help improve those academically challenged students, especially in inner city areas where there are more hurdles and challenges,” he said. “And being sports is such an integral and well liked part of the culture in the State of Texas we felt it is a great way to evolve.”

PAISD Athletic Director Brian Morgan and Elementary Athletic Director J.P. Lastrape were consulted on the system and, Daigre said, both loved the concept.

This is an example of students using the Lü Interactive Playground system. (Courtesy photo)

The total cost of the program is $201,341.52, which was approved by the PAISD Board of Trustees last week.

The cost includes the four components: lighting system, sound system, projection system and touch interactive system, as well as installation and software.

The device is compatible with a number of different mounting options and is made of high-grade materials rated for high impact.

The new systems will be in all eight of the districts elementary schools.

Daigre said Lü Interactive Playground wants to do a case study on the district to chronicle the progress.

Adrienne Lott, PAISD media and communications specialist, said the interactive panels in P.E. classes will enhance the way teaching is done in the district.

“Students will think they’re playing a video game when they’re actually learning and exercising at the same time,” Lott said.  “The fact that all core subjects are covered in the simulations is a win-win situation for our teachers because objectives are being reinforced in a fun and meaningful manner that will keep kids engaged.”

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All About Lights

Energy-efficient project for Leguan, Wakenaam, Bartica, and Linden

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

image

Kaieteur News – The communities of Leguan, Wakenaam, Bartica, and Linden will benefit from a planned lighting change-out project for the latter half of 2022.
The Government of Guyana, in pursuit of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030, aims to transform Guyana’s economy to deliver greater socio-economic development under a low carbon pathway while also addressing the issues associated with climate change.
Within this context, resources have been allocated for an energy efficiency project which targets the replacement of inefficient lighting (particularly incandescent bulbs, CFLs and 4-feet fluorescent lights) with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) for residential, commercial, and public buildings in Leguan, Wakenaam, Bartica, and Linden, the Guyana Energy Agency said in a release.
This energy-saving initiative encourages sustainable consumption and supports households and businesses in making energy-conscious decisions while reducing their carbon footprint. The Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) will provide employment to sixteen (16) licenced practicing electricians to undertake these installations. Each electrician will be required to present a letter to the occupant of the building requesting their participation in the project and consent to replace all existing inefficient lights (incandescent bulbs, CFL lamps and 4-feet fluorescent lights) within the premises. If the occupant agrees to participate, each electrician will be required to record the quantity and type of inefficient lights replaced on a document prepared by the agency.
This information will then require verification from the beneficiary by affixing their signature and contact information on the document and verifying the number of lights installed by each electrician. The contracted electrician will then be required to submit the completed documentation to the GEA. Each beneficiary will be visited to verify the information provided and allow for inspection by the GEA of the lights installed. This project is expected to commence in the first week of July 2022 in Linden while the remaining areas will commence in August 2022.
The Guyana Energy Agency, in keeping with the LCDS 2030, will continue to implement and spearhead such projects as part of the realization of the Agency’s objective to increase energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy technologies at the national and local levels.


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All About Lights

Stage 6 load shedding sees rush for candles, gas, emergency lights – and braai products

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

Presents:

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  • Stage 6 load shedding was implemented by Eskom on Tuesday and is expected to return on Wednesday evening.
  • These longer and more frequent power cuts have South Africans searching for alternative energy and lighting products.
  • Candles, paraffin, gas bottles, emergency lights, and rechargeable lanterns are especially popular, according to South Africa’s major retailers.
  • Supermarket chains are also punting braai products.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Eskom’s Stage 6 load shedding has seen candles, paraffin, gas bottles, emergency lights, and braai products fly off the shelves of South African retailers.

The implementation of Stage 6 load shedding on Tuesday has seen South Africans rushing to retailers and hardware stores to stock up on alternate power products.

This extreme level of load shedding, set to continue on Wednesday evening, is the result of unexpected plant breakdowns, coupled with regular maintenance of ageing infrastructure – made worse by a recent unprotected strike by Eskom staff.

With the prospect of being powerless for at least six hours a day under Stage 6 load shedding, South Africans are urgently looking for ways in which to keep their lights and basic appliances on.

“During intermittent periods of load shedding, we do see a spike in sales of alternative energy and lighting products, and over time the group has increased its volumes and ranges on related products, including candles, paraffin, gas bottles, emergency lights, and kettle braais,” Shoprite told Business Insider South Africa.

Pick n Pay also has a list of products within its “load shedding essentials” catalogue, including power banks, LED torches and headlights, and compact gas stoves.

Consumers are searching hardware stores for more permanent and costly solutions like Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) systems. These are hard to find at short notice.

Builders, part of the Massmart group that specialises in construction, DIY, and home improvement, has also seen a spike in demand for certain products. Inverters, generators, rechargeable lanterns, and gas products, including cylinders, heaters, and stoves, are especially sought-after.

In addition to these products, which are usually top-of-mind for consumers struck by load shedding, Massmart’s product experts recommend other essential products. This includes rechargeable globes that can be placed in regular light fittings and last up to four hours without power, jerry cans, to store petrol to power generators, and surge multi plugs to protect appliances against power surges.

Cooking during periods of load shedding is one of the major challenges identified by retailers. Supermarket chains are now also punting braai products.

“Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets continue to include select products in our promotions, along with various braai-related products, as South Africans often use load shedding as an opportunity to cook on the braai,” said Shoprite.

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All About Lights

6 useful things you should know about LED lighting and its benefits

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

Presents:

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Did you know that the light bulb has been around for over 130 years? In that time, there have been a lot of different types of light bulbs. The most recent type is the light-emitting diode (LED) light bulb.

LEDs are energy-efficient light bulbs that can save you money on your electricity bill. They also last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs so you won’t have to replace them as often.

There are many different types of LED lighting available on the market today. Here are six useful things you should know about LED lighting and its benefits:

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1. LEDs are versatile.

LEDs are also versatile. They can be used in a wide variety of applications, both indoors and outdoors. You only need to know LED lighting terms like IP Rating, CRI and Lumens to get the perfect lighting for your needs. For instance, if you’re looking for lighting for your kitchen, you can find LEDs with a high color rendering index (CRI). This means that the colors in your food will look more vibrant and appetizing.

This versatility makes LEDs a great option for businesses as well. You can use LEDs to light up your storefront or office if you own a business. You can also use them to light up your signage. This will help to attract attention to your business and increase foot traffic. No matter your needs, you’re sure to find an LED lighting solution that meets them.

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2. LEDs use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.

LEDs use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. This is because LEDs are more efficient in converting electricity into light. Conventional incandescent bulbs convert less than 10% of the electricity they use into light, while LEDs can convert up to 90% of the electricity they use into light.

You’ll save money on your energy bill by switching to LED lighting. These energy savings will also help to reduce your carbon footprint. By switching to LED lighting, you can help to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, you’ll be doing your part to help the environment.

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3. LEDs last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

LEDs also last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. On average, an LED light bulb can last for up to 50,000 hours. This is much longer than the average lifespan of an incandescent bulb, which is only 1,200 hours so you won’t have to replace your LED light bulbs often.

For instance, if you use your LED light bulbs for 8 hours a day, they will last for over 17 years. This is a significant saving in time and money. Plus, it’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about replacing.

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4. LEDs are available in a wide range of colors.

LEDs are available in a wide range of colors. You can find an LED light bulb to suit any need or preference. You can even find LED light bulbs that change colors. This is a great way to add fun and personality to your home décor.

The wide range of colors available in LED lighting also makes it a great option for businesses. For instance, if you own a restaurant, you can use different colored LEDs to create a unique ambiance. This can help to make your business stand out from the competition.

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5. LEDs are easy to install.

LEDs are also easy to install. In most cases, they can be installed just like any other light bulb. This makes them a great option for those who want to switch to LED lighting but don’t want to deal with the hassle of installing new fixtures.

The easiest way to install LED lighting is to retrofit your existing fixtures. This involves replacing your traditional light bulbs with LED light bulbs. Retrofitting is a great option for those who want to switch to LED lighting but don’t want to spend the money on new fixtures.

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6. LEDs are safer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

LEDs are also safer than traditional incandescent bulbs because they don’t produce as much heat, which means you won’t have to worry about being burned by an LED light bulb. Because LEDs are cool to the touch, they are a safe option for children and pets. This safety benefit is particularly important for businesses that use a lot of lights. If you own a restaurant, you may want to consider switching to LED lighting to reduce the fire risk.

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Overall, there are many different benefits of using LED lighting. LEDs are more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. They last longer and are available in a wide range of colors and they’re easy to install and offer many benefits. Whether you’re looking for a way to save money on your energy bill or you want to reduce your carbon footprint, LEDs are a great option. If you’re considering switching to LED lighting, keep these benefits in mind.

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All About Lights

Lighting the way to safer streets in the UK

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

Presents:

safer streets, lighting

Safer streets can be achieved with better lighting solutions across the UK, where reductions in crime can be visibly seen in local areas with improved schemes

Councils across the country have faced substantial financial challenges in the wake of years of significant funding cuts, explains Clare Thomas, Head of Applications and Solutions at Urbis Schréder. With many forced to review budgets for local services including streetlights to save money, safer streets initiatives have been neglected.

Street lighting accounts for a significant proportion of a local authority’s overall electricity consumption, typically 30% (less if street lighting assets have been converted to LED), and outdoor public lighting is also a significant contributor to CO2 emissions.

However, as UK government policy drives towards Net Zero by 2050 and with many local authorities declaring climate emergencies, there is momentum for change.

Energy efficiency and public spaces

This focus on energy efficiency and minimising the environmental impact of street lighting is much needed, but is simply reducing the amount of lighting in our public spaces the best solution for everyone?

The murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa have prompted a wave of concern about women’s safety on the streets. 63% of women now say they feel less safe walking at night, a rise of 17% since 2018.

These women are less likely to go out to dimly lit areas; in fact, they are 50% less likely, and this understandable reluctance is having a significant impact on the night-time retail and hospitality economies.

Well-lit areas saw a 38% reduction in rape crime

A recent report from the University of Sheffield revealed that where areas were well-lit at night, there was a 36% reduction in all crime and a 38% reduction in rape crime. So, if streetlights are diminished, then so too is the feeling of women feeling safe while they walk.

We know lighting changes how people – particularly, but not solely, women – think about their environment and impacts their daily decisions, from walking routes to spending time in public spaces.

As a result, people naturally gravitate towards good lighting and will spend more time in better-lit places. Local authorities should therefore be focused on creating well-planned lighting schemes that can improve wayfinding and guide people along specific routes.

I’ve been working in the lighting industry for nearly 25 years, and I love that lighting is such a broad church, encompassing architecture, engineering, technology and artistic disciplines.

I know that with the right design and technology, lighting can completely transform a space and how (or whether) people use and experience it. And writing from a female perspective, I know it can transform how I feel about a place and the decisions I make when travelling to or through a town centre.

Redesigning streets for safety benefits

To achieve this transformation, my advice to any local authority at the start of a lighting redesign journey would be:

  1. Don’t just see this as a tick box compliance exercise focused on the financials; take a holistic approach to your redesign, bridging the gap between the financials and the true potential of the space
  2. Tap into alternative central government funding, e.g. the Safer Streets Fund, which is supported by the Safer Streets – Crime prevention toolkit
  3. Connect your community lighting to the environmental, social & governance (ESG) agenda

By using the right lighting solution and working together to design, procure and implement it, local authorities can immediately impact operational and maintenance costs as well as improve public spaces, connect communities and contribute to the sustainability agenda.

This information was provided by Clare Thomas. Clare is Head of Applications and Solutions at Urbis Schréder. Over the last 25 years, she has worked with many local authorities and organisations, helping them to devise and implement transformational lighting solutions.

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Scarborough’s Lightbox launches discounted LED light bulb scheme to help residents tackle rising energy bills

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

The LED Project, which has been created by Jack Inston at Lightbox on St. Nicholas Street, aims to convert as many Scarborough homes as possible to LED light bulbs to reduce household energy consumption.

The initiative will also track each light bulb sold to work out how much energy has been saved when the scheme concludes.

Jack said: “I kind of felt like I was placed in an industry where really, we could help people. The community has always supported us so much, especially with all the lockdowns, and people are really supportive. So it just felt perfectly timed to try and do something to help.”

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Jack Inston has created a new initititive to help reduce energy costs in Scarborough.Jack Inston has created a new initititive to help reduce energy costs in Scarborough.
Jack Inston has created a new initititive to help reduce energy costs in Scarborough.

During the four week initiative – which runs from July 1 to August 1 – LED light bulbs at Lightbox will be reduced in price for customers who visit the Scarborough store.

The hope is that residents will swap their regular light bulbs for LEDs which are usually more expensive than incandescent, halogen and fluorescent bulbs.

The LED light bulbs are also better for the environment as they have an extended lifespan and do not require replacing as frequently.

Jack said: “The usage of LEDs is about nine per cent less than traditional bulbs and they have a smaller carbon footprint.

“They don’t use any harmful or hazardous chemicals, like previous bulbs do, such as mercury.

“In terms of disposing of them, they’re a lot better to dispose of. Their overall carbon footprint is about 80 per cent less than a traditional bulb because they’re not emitting greenhouse gases, like traditional glassware does.”

The project launches as energy bills continue to soar across the country ahead of a suspected rise in October when the price cap is lifted.

Jack added: “We’re trying to reach as many people as possible to try and convert as many households as possible ahead of the autumn.

“Hopefully once the customer gets these bulbs at this price, then that’s them set up for ages and if the energy costs keep on going up, then they’re sorted.

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Harwood Dale B&B The Grainary reopens for business under new ownership

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Flexible organic LED produces ‘romantic’ candle-like light

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

Presents:


candlelight OLED
A bendable organic LED with a natural mica backing releases a strong, candlelight-like glow. (Courtesy: Andy Chen and Ambrose Chen)

A new bendable organic light-emitting diode (OLED) that produces warm, candle-like light with hardly any emissions at blue wavelengths might find a place in flexible lighting and smart displays that can be used at night without disrupting the body’s biological clock. The device, which is an improved version of one developed recently by a team of researchers from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, is made from a light-emitting layer on a mica substrate that is completely free of plastic.

Jwo-Huei Jou and Ying-Hao Chu of the National Tsing Hua University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and colleagues recently patented OLEDS that produce warm, white light. However, these earlier devices still emit some unwanted blue light, which decreases the production of the “sleep hormone” melatonin and can therefore disrupt sleeping patterns. A further issue is that these OLEDs were made of solid materials and were therefore not flexible.

Mica, a natural layered mineral

One way to make OLEDs flexible is to paste them onto a plastic backing, but most plastics cannot be bent repeatedly – a prerequisite for real-world flexible applications. Jou, Chu and colleagues therefore decided to investigate backings made from mica, a natural layered mineral that can be cleaved into bendable, transparent sheets.

The researchers began by depositing a clear indium tin oxide (ITO) film onto a mica sheet as the LED’s anode. They then mixed a luminescent material, N,N’-dicarbazole-1,1’-biphenyl, with red and yellow phosphorescent dyes to fabricate the device’s light-emitting layer. Next, they sandwiched this layer between electrically conductive solutions with the anode on one side and an aluminium layer in the other to create a flexible OLED.

Tests showed that when coated with a transparent conductor, the mica substrate is robust to bending curvatures of 1/5 mm-1 – a record high – and 50 000 bending cycles at a 7.5 mm bending radius. The OLED is also highly resistant to moisture and oxygen and has a lifetime that is 83% of similar devices on glass.

“Romantic” light

The new device emits bright, warm light upon the application of a constant current. This light contains even less blue-wavelength light than natural candlelight, Jou and Chu report, meaning that the exposure limit for humans is 47 000 seconds compared to just 320 s for a cold-white counterpart, according to the team’s calculations. This means that a person exposed to the OLED for 1.5 hours would see their melatonin production suppressed by about 1.6%, compared to 29% for a cold-white compact fluorescent lamp over the same period.

“We have fabricated an OLED emitting a psychologically-warm but physically-cool, scorching-free romantic candle-like light on a bendable mica substrate using our patented candlelight OLED technology,” Jou tells Physics World. “This technology could provide designers and artists with more freedom in designing variable lighting systems that fit into different spaces, thanks to their flexibility.”

The researchers now hope to make their OLEDs completely transparent. “When lit, these candlelight OLEDs could then be seen from both sides,” Chu says.

The present work is detailed in ACS Applied Electronic Materials.