FOR A CHANGE
Even an investment by Warren Buffett in recent weeks has not been enough to prevent the stock being buffeted by the ongoing severe turbulence in the markets (sorry, couldn't help that).
Being a glass half full kind of guy, I couldn't help but share the kinds of things that GE is working in another side of it's many businesses, in the area of consumer and commercial lighting.
As this CNN article reminds us, GE is not the only company working in this promising area, but does have a legacy of success in lighting:
"OLEDs are beginning to be used in TVs and cell-phone displays, and big names like Siemens and Philips are throwing their weight behind the technology to make it a lighting source as well. The OLED printer was made by General Electric Co. on its sprawling research campus here in upstate New York.
It's not far from where a GE physicist figured out a practical way to use tungsten metal as the filament in a regular light bulb. That's still used today, nearly a century later."
The commercial reality of this vision is still a few years away, as the CNN piece explains:
"LEDs and OLEDs both hold the potential for big energy savings over standard incandescent bulbs. Matching fluorescents is tougher. Universal Display this year created OLEDs that exceeded the energy efficiency of fluorescents, but combining that feature with longevity and mass production will be a challenge.
"It's not going to be competitive with fluorescents in 2010," Duggal said.
As point light sources, LEDs are likely to coexist with the big, diffuse OLEDs, said analyst Lawrence Gasman at Nanomarkets LLC, a research firm in Glen Allen, Virginia. "Together, they make for a nice lighting future," Gasman said.
He projects that OLED lighting sales could reach $5.9 billion by 2015.
Bob Sagebiel, technical marketing manager for lighting at distributor Arrow Electronics Inc., is less optimistic. Because OLEDs are so different from current lighting technology, they could have a hard time being accepted by the market, he believes. An OLED panel won't fit in any of the 20 billion light-bulb sockets worldwide, he noted. Commercial buildings will probably need rewiring to take advantage of big panels that don't fit into existing fixtures for fluorescent tubes."
Regardless of these intermediate challenges, GE (along with a few other companies), could bring more good things to light over the next decade, as long as they make it through this rough little patch here.