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Innovation Technology – Cree



Beyond Energy Savings:

Stimulating Global Markets and Building Stronger Communities with Intelligent LED Lighting 

Charles M. Swoboda

Charles M. Swoboda, Chief Executive Officer

Technology often promises great advances for mankind, in many cases it fulfills these promises and sometimes it falls short. Then there are those rare technologies that surpass the initial expectations, because the technology can do far more than what was initially imagined.

LED lighting was developed with the promise to cost effectively reduce global electricity consumption by more than 10 per cent and is well on the way to fulfilling this promise as the accepted choice for new lighting installations. It is now recognized that other lighting technologies waste energy and money. However, we have only scratched the surface of the technology’s potential. Intelligent LED lighting has the ability to go beyond energy savings to make buildings and the people in them more efficient, healthy and productive.

Tapping into this potential means understanding that LED lighting technology is bigger than the light itself. We are rapidly moving past the stage of simply replacing existing light sources with more efficient alternatives and are entering a new era, creating intelligent systems that will enable the full promise of connected communities.

Connected intelligent LED lighting systems are driven by the integration of intelligent lighting products, integrated sensors, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to collect and analyze data about buildings and spaces.  Through the use of predictive artificial intelligence, the systems can generate insights to continuously improve operations. By leveraging the IoT ecosystem, intelligent lighting improves the buildings where we live, work and play. Building operators can better manage their energy usage, improve space utilization and reduce other building costs, while occupants enjoy improved services and customized spaces more suited for their needs and preferences.

Schools are installing intelligent LED lighting systems to create more productive classrooms and workspaces

Building operators can further leverage these intelligent lighting systems as the backbone of the building sensory network to drive interconnectivity with other systems, such as HVAC, security and other administrative systems. This interconnection enables operators to better manage energy usage, optimize heating and cooling operations, improve air quality and auto-schedule facilities management based on precise knowledge of building occupancy and usage patterns.

The human and economic impact of intelligent LED lighting is far-reaching and touches many sectors of society. On the human side, it impacts our health, increases workforce productivity and improves student performance. On the economic side, buildings become smarter, better utilized and cost less to operate.

Schools are installing intelligent LED lighting systems to create more productive classrooms and workspaces by tuning the color and intensity of the lighting throughout the day. A recent study by the Optical Society of America, shows that test scores are improved with adaptive human centric lighting that maximizes student engagement and teacher satisfaction.​

“The human and economic impact of intelligent LED lighting is far-reaching and touches many sectors of society”

Health care facilities are also seeing the benefits of intelligent LED lighting where nurses, doctors and patients report reduced depression, decreased length of stay in hospitals, and improved sleep. According to a study from the National Institutes of Health, light is one of the most significant factors affecting sleep and circadian rhythm and consequently health.

Light is one of the most significant factors affecting human health

Commercial office buildings are using intelligent LED lighting to give occupants the ability to tune their individual areas to suit their preferences and to quickly locate unused conference rooms for impromptu meetings. A 2016 study by Harvard and the State University of New York showed that working in high-performing, green-certified buildings can improve employee performance.

Change of this magnitude requires global leadership; challenging the status quo and pushing governments, businesses and communities to evolve. At Cree, we take this responsibility seriously. Now more than ever, we are focused on unleashing the full potential of LED light through intelligent lighting systems. Our collective goal should be to transform human experiences and drive economic development through best in class products and innovative solutions.  Together, we can do so.

About the Author

Charles (Chuck) M. Swoboda is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cree, Inc.  Mr Swoboda joined Cree in 1993, and during this time the company has grown from just over US$6 million in annual revenue to nearly US$1.6 billion. He has held numerous executive positions, leading Cree from a near start-up to today’s market leader. Mr Swoboda has served as a member of the Cree Board of Directors since 2000, as Chief Executive officer since 2001, and Chairman of the Board since 2005.

In 2010, Charles Swoboda was named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for the Carolinas, and in 2013 he was named The Edison Report’s Lighting Industry Person of the Year. He received an engineering degree from Marquette University (1989) and holds 23 US patents covering a wide array of LED-related technology.

Cree, Inc.

Cree (Nasdaq: CREE) is a technology pioneer that enables the world to do more and consume less, with innovations in LEDs, LED lighting and advanced wide-band gap power and RF semiconductors. As the first company to commercialize the blue LED and invent many of the key technologies that have made LED lighting the industry standard, our team makes the impossible possible with a nonstop focus on innovation. Cree is a global corporation with headquarters in Durham, North Carolina and operations across multiple continents with over 6300 employees worldwide. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @Cree and like us on Facebook @Cree.