Increasing European lighting resources and competitiveness


The opportunities and challenges of digital transformation are all around us, compelling us to act. Europe’s competitors are not standing still, however, and there is no room for complacency. The years ahead will show whether Europe will lead or lag behind in the coming revolution.

The new Framework Programme (FP9 – Horizon Europe) will play an essential role in Europe’s digital transformation. Photonics will be at the very heart of this transformation, providing tools and solutions to literally every industry in every region in Europe that takes up the challenge to become more competitive.

Europe stands on the threshold of a technological revolution: harnessing the power of light to solve our greatest global challenges. Photonics – the science of creating, manipulating, transmitting and detecting light – is literally everywhere, from smartphone displays to fibre-optic broadband to energy-saving LED lights to the laser surgery that saves our life. As light particles (known as photons) replace electrons in many of our most important technologies, innovations already in the pipeline will improve healthcare, grow food, save energy, cut pollution, expand connectivity, transform manufacturing and usher in a new era of mobility. All across the economy, photonics technology will protect jobs and drive growth

A new quality of urban life – Photonics for smart homes and liveable cities

By 2030, digital connectivity will create an entirely new quality of urban life. Photonics technology, including lighting, sensors and optical IT, will supply the infrastructure for smart homes and thriving cities, thereby enabling us to live and work in attractive, secure and productive environments tailored to our individual needs.

Digital connectivity enabled by photonics will create an entirely new quality of urban life. Smart homes and offices will become development hotspots for the Internet of Things (IoT), requiring sensors, cameras, displays and many kinds of optical IT. One of the most significant areas for innovation and market development is efficient and intelligent lighting – indoors and outdoors – for two reasons:

First, scientists have greatly increased our understanding of the effects of lighting on wellbeing, from mood and health to productivity in homes, schools and offices. Second, indoor lighting alone consumes around 20% of all energy, making it a vital target for efficiency gains and emissions reductions.

European companies are particularly strong in lighting technology, where they account for about one fourth of global production. Largely driven by the shift to LEDs, lighting has also been the fastest-evolving segment of the global photonics market, growing by around 10% a year since 2005. Intelligent lighting with improved properties for health and productivity is thus a core technology that Europe can leverage to create jobs and wealth as we build the smart homes and liveable cities of tomorrow.

Pioneering solution: human-centric lighting for health and productivity

Solid-state lighting (SSL) has shifted the paradigm in lighting technology. Ongoing advances in LED technology are rapidly bringing down production costs and further boosting energy efficiency. Building intelligent networks that link lighting and sensors will usher in the next phase of large-scale efficiency and productivity gains by automatically managing light (and energy) consumption whenever and wherever only a specific amount of light is needed. Smarter lighting will allow office and factory floor space to be optimised, generating yet more efficiency gains.

Read the Photonics 21 Vision paper Europe’s age of light! How photonics will power growth and innovation Photonics21-Vision-Paper-Final