The spurious and non-branded LED products are a serious threat to not just the organized and compliant market players but also to the government’s key programs like Make in India and Demonetization. While exploring the current and prospected future of the Indian LED scenario, Sumit Joshi, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Philips Lighting India in talks with Niloy Banerjee – Consultant Editor, BIS Infotech lightens up on the LED future of India and marquee opportunities the market has kept for the frontrunners like Philips. Edited Nub.
- Sub-standard products, lack of technical expertise and high cost of manufacturing had loomed the Indian LED industry. How big-wig Company like Philips Lighting cobble this scenario?
Over the past few years, there has been a significant transformation in the lighting industry with the introduction of LED lighting. As a solid-state light source, they provide consumers with a good lifetime, efficiency, low power consumption and brightness amongst many other advantages. In 2014, LED lighting products were available at a higher cost owing to low demand, which resulted in higher cost per unit. However, after the introduction of various government schemes like UJALA, the industry gained the critical mass that was essential to increase volumes and decrease prices due to economies of scale. As a result, LED’s are now available at a significantly lower cost as compared to earlier.
On the other hand, this also led to an influx of illegal and sub-standard products that are non-compliant with consumer safety standards, as prescribed and mandated for lighting products by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India. Despite these non-compliant products openly flouting government regulations, they are being openly sold in marketplaces around the country due to poor enforcement for compliance to these safety standards prescribed and mandated in India. This has led to an increase of unsafe and illegal products being used in households and offices by Indian consumers, endangering many.
Together with ELCOMA (Electric Lamp and Component Manufacturers’ Association), Philips Lighting India are strongly advocating the need for stronger enforcement for compliance to these safety standards prescribed and mandated by the Bureau of Indian Standards and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India. The spurious and non-branded LED products are a serious threat to not just the organized and compliant market players but also to the government’s key programs like Make in India and Demonetization. In addition, they also impact government’s tax revenue collections, which would have otherwise been contributed by the formal sector, defeat investment objectives and go against the ‘ease of doing’ business philosophy of the Government of the day.
As the global leader in lighting, Philips Lighting India innovate, design, build, and deliver world-class lighting systems embedded with intelligence and connected through software to deliver capability to manage, monitor and control lighting assets, enable data harvesting and analysis for improvement of lighting operation and business performance.
We are pioneering breakthrough innovations in products, system architectures and services – making bold investments in sensors, cloud-based controls platforms, connected lighting, indoor positioning technology and consumer-based personalized lighting systems. At a global level, we invest approximately 5% of sales revenue in R&D to ensure we remain at the forefront of lighting technological developments. Philips Lighting India has over 16,000 patents, 1,000 start-up and technical partners and State-of-the-art labs at our global headquarters in the Netherlands, USA and China. In India, we have research and innovation centres in Noida and Bangalore, delivering local innovation for the Indian market and also developing software solutions for the globe. We recently inaugurated our Remote Operations Center in Bangalore that can manage our connected lighting installations across the world, remotely from Bangalore.
- Philips Lighting has a mammoth LED portfolio catering diverse segments, which sectors are of prime focus for you and what are your strategies to tap the bullish Indian market?
We are witnessing the emergence of a connected world where machines communicate with each other, your homes are automated, and buildings are turning smarter. We are in a new era of connected cities, homes, buildings, offices and industries wherein light has the potential to become an important backbone of a connected world.
To cater to this emerging connected world, we recently announced a new Internet of Things (IoT) platform, called Interact, that will enable our professional customers to unlock the full potential of connected lighting for the IoT. The platform supports our company’s strategy to deliver new data-enabled services as value expands from lighting products and systems to services. These connected lighting systems, offering a unified user experience, feature applications that address industry-specific verticals such as Interact City for public space lighting, roads, streets, pedestrian areas, parks and plazas; Interact Landmark for architectural lighting; Interact Office for offices and commercial buildings; Interact Retail for large retail and food stores and Interact Sports for stadiums
Philips Lighting India also announced the launch of Light Fidelity (LiFi), a technology in which high quality LED lighting provides a broadband Internet connection through light waves. As the lighting company for the Internet of Things, Philips Lighting is the first global lighting company to offer LiFi-enabled luminaires from its existing office lighting portfolio. It can offer tremendous value for industries such as banking, government buildings and healthcare, where data privacy and equipment interference is a concern. LiFi is significantly better than WiFi in these applications as it can be used in places where radio frequencies may interfere with equipment, such as in hospitals, or where WiFi signals cannot reach or are weak, such as underground locations or secure bank rooms handling sensitive data.
- Traversing across the last FY, which sector in India majorly lauded the growth of the company?
We at Philips Lighting India offer a range of intelligent and people-focused lighting solutions that can enhance the quality of life in cities, making them safer and better-connected places to live and work in, while increasing energy efficiency. We are working with several state governments and municipal corporations to create safer cities and public spaces for citizens. Optimum lighting levels in a city can significantly enhance the perception of safety as it helps to distinguish people, shapes and objects so people can react faster to their surroundings. Visibility, a critical factor in road safety, can also be improved with the right lighting.
In the past, we have worked on street lighting projects in Naya Raipur city, Pune municipal corporation together with TATA projects, Hyderabad Growth Corridor Limited and Department of Rural Development in Tamil Nadu, to name a few. We have also installed our Philips Color Kinetics façade lighting solution at prestigious government buildings like Rashtrapati Bhavan, North and South Block, India Gate, Ambedkar Memorial, Somnath temple, Varanasi city to name a few, thereby enhancing their aesthetics and boosting tourism.
4. Philips legacy will now be torched under the new name ‘Signify’. This switch is known to come amidst Philips extending focus towards IT-based lighting and service? Your comments on it.
On May 16th, 2018, we launched our new company name – Signify, which will be adapted in India in the beginning of 2019. The choice of our new company name originates from the way light becomes an intelligent language, which connects and conveys meaning. It is a clear expression of our strategic vision and purpose to unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world.
5. In coming time, what major technological advancements and innovations are reckon to the LED sector in India.
Over the past few years, there has been a significant transformation in the lighting industry with the introduction of LED lighting. In light of their benefits, LED’s are fast replacing conventional lighting at workplaces, public infrastructure, industries and homes.
However, the latest trend in the lighting industry has been the emergence of connected lighting, marking a significant shift by transforming lighting from a commodity product to a fully integrated lighting system that can seamlessly connect with a wireless network or Ethernet, allowing users to remotely control and monitor their lighting systems. The new LED lighting systems can now connect and interact seamlessly with smart controls, networks, devices as well as apps to offer a customizable and tech-enabled lighting experience, paving the way for a fully digital world.
Philips Lighting India foresees that this technology will significantly enhance a consumer’s lighting experience at home and drive new business value for professional users and smart cities.
6. Smart-Cities initiative is a billion-dollar debonair for the LED industry. What scopes does it keep for Philips Lighting?
Urban populations are growing rapidly and 60 percent of the world population is predicted to be living in cities by 2030. Philips Lighting India is helping to pave the way for massive urban growth by developing a people-centric blueprint for lighting and Internet of Things (IoT) services in the smart city of the future. Connected LED lighting has the potential to enhance quality of life, transform everyday experiences and services, and ensure sustainability in our ever-expanding global cities. By 2030 it is expected that there will be close to 70 billion light points.
Philips Lighting’s look into the city of 2030 explores four scenarios which demonstrate how future lighting technology can deliver more sustainable, better-connected and more enjoyable cities. These are:
Connected LED street lights provide highly energy efficient, quality light, but they are also sensor nodes on an information highway. In 2030 connected street lights will be able to stream data between millions of devices. Connected lighting infrastructure collects and distributes data and improves city services such as light, traffic, air quality, public safety, parking and other location-based services, leveraging state-of-the-art communication technologies. Autonomous vehicles navigate roads safely, using and communicating with sensors in street lights that scan the road and pavements, and provide a frame of reference by transmitting situational information to augment the vehicles’ on-board sensors.
- Philips Lighting’s Citytouch solutions are currently used in more than 250 cities in 31 countries and some key installations are in London (UK), Surakarta (Indonesia), Los Angeles (USA), Greater Toronto (Canada) and Buenos Aires (Argentina).
- Philips Lighting India announced one of the world’s largest connected street lighting systems in Jakarta with Philips CityTouch monitoring and managing nearly 90,000 street lights.
- Our street lighting system in LA leverages public mobile networks to monitor and maintain 110,000 street lights provided by other vendors. In addition to providing a sense of security for citizens, some of the street light poles house small cell technology which generates new revenue streams for the city by providing wireless data services, so that wherever you are you get a signal. The lighting infrastructure also supports future applications such as monitoring noise levels at street level to safeguard the health of citizens.
Interactive Public Spaces
Scarcity of space will compel cities to extend public spaces underground, with a seamless transition made possible by lighting that mimics natural daylight and makes people feel comfortable. The digital lighting system can send positional data to help drones navigate and deliver items, while responsive light walls display art and foster citizen interaction and creativity.
Philips Lighting India presented a new Philips Power over Ethernet (PoE) connected lighting system that transformed Madrid’s landmark office skyscraper Torre Europa into a smart office.
Sustainable City Farming
Beneath the city and in unused spaces, urban farms that use little water and no pesticides, can grow plants and vegetables sustainably – reducing the distance between the farm and your fork, increasing food security, ensuring provenance and protecting precious natural resources.
Since 2013, Philips Lighting collaborates with GrowUp Urban Farms that is a vertical urban farm established in an unused warehouse in East London’s industrial area. This is the first commercial aquaponic urban farm in the UK and produces 20,000 kilograms of fresh salads per annum with the help of Philips GreenPower LED lighting.
More Personalized Living
In the home of 2030, lighting will be able to synchronize with everything from your door bell to your television and music and will befully adjustable to individual preferences. It will pre-empt your needs and complement your wellbeing, energize you, relax you and keep you safe.
In November 2016, Philips Lighting and Xiaomi joined forces to design and develop connected LED lighting products for Xiaomi’s smart home ecosystem in China.
- How can India set a sustainable National Standard on LEDs?
As per an ELCOMA study, the Indian LED Lighting market has grown from Rs 500 crore in 2010 to Rs 10,000 crore today and constitutes over 45% of the overall Rs 22,000 crore lighting industry in India, comprising of all categories like GLS, FTL, CFL and other lamps. Given the government’s push towards adoption of LEDs and their general consumer popularity, LED lighting will constitute a majority share of the total lighting market in the next few years. Given this scenario, it is important for the government to act against these spurious and non-branded products for safeguarding consumer safety and protecting their revenues against these companies. The Indian Lighting industry unanimously recommends a need for stronger enforcement for compliance to these safety standards prescribed and mandated by the Bureau of Indian Standards and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India.
- You being on the leadership board and a statesman for the Indian LED industry, what are your recommendations and advice mulling into the current Indian LED sector?
The major drivers that will boost the adoption of LED lighting are the increasing number of government initiatives for energy conservation, rapid urbanization, rising consumer awareness about energy-efficient products and innovative products offered by the industry that are in sync with the overall trend of digitization. This evolution indicates a tectonic shift in technology from electrical to electronics. In turn, this may represent a significant growth opportunity for companies offering electronic hardware/components and solutions used in LED lighting with functionality across homes, public and professional lighting.
We strongly believe that the future of lighting is connected and the lighting industry can play an important role in creating a connected future.