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Osram and LiteOn Identify Market Opportunities in Weable Market for IR LEDs

Emerging IR LED market applications in wearables and virtual reality device markets are attracting more manufacturers to join, said representatives from Osram and LiteOn at IR+UV Summit that organized by SEMI that took place at Nangang Exhibition Hall in Taipei, Taiwan on Thursday.

As a global leader in IR components and projection market, IR components is Osram Opto Semiconductor’s (Osram) third major business sector. The company has in-house developed comprehensive products ranging from IR LED to IR laser technology, said Michael Gu, Senior Marketing Manager, IR Product, Asia Pacific, Osram.

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Jo-Ann Su, Senior Manager, SEMI, Ray-Hua Horng, Distinguished Professor, National Chiao Tung University, Hao-chung Kuo, Distinguished Prof., National Chiao Tung University, Mr. Maurice Lee, Manager, Lite-On Technology, Michael Gu, Sr. Marketing Manager, IR Product, Asia Pacific, OSRAM Opto, and Prof. Helge Weman, Founder and CTO, CrayoNano. 

The IR LED market is gaining market traction as consumer electronic manufacturers scale up IR sensor applications, such as Apple Watch’s use of IR LEDs for photoplethysmogram (PPG) (810 nm) applications, or the usage of IR LED (850-940 nm power) sensors in Windows 10 for iris and facial recognition. 

IR LED proximity sensors built into smartphones, such as Fujitsu iris recognition smartphones is also presenting new opportunities for the IR LED (810 nm) market, said Gu. Osram has been supplying IR LEDs to major Asian smartphone OEM since 2010, and most of the company’s proximity sensor designs are now 3-in-1 sensors.

Wearable devices are viewed as a potential market by many LED manufacturers including both Osram and LiteOn, as consumers become more health conscious wearable devices are adding more biosensors. In the near future, wearables capable of measuring blood glucose levels are expected to emerge.

Aside from IR LED, Osram is developing on UV-A LED products and has samples ready this year, but plans to ship out more options by 2017, added Gu.

LiteOn has been developing IR LED products, as it seeks to diversify its product line as LED usage volume declines in smartphone backlight market, said Maurice Lee, Manager, Lite-On. To differentiate from market competition, the company has been offering customized IR LED designs to clients. The company started to offer 3-in-1 IR LED proximity sensors because clients were having difficulty integrating the IR LED with the sensor components, added Lee.

Wearables is a specific market that Lee highlighted as offering high market potential. “The industry agrees the year wearables started was 2013,” said Lee. The incorporation of IR LEDs in Apple Watch encouraged other manufacturers, such as Samsung and others to also include heart rate monitoring features in their products.

Lee and Gu both noted emerging biosensor applications would indicate the devices would need better data computing software to support the sensor technologies, especially in wearable devices. 

Lee also pointed out recognizing the IR LED trend is insufficient, adjustments also have to be made in company market strategies, instead of using standardised products.The company is also developing UV LED sensors and receptors at the moment.

Both speakers from Osram and LiteOn identified the IR LED market is an upcoming trend, which could attract more competitors, “but what can be done is only to prepare for the trend,” said Gu.


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