Sumit Padmakar Joshi, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Signify Innovations India Limited in a candid discussion with BIS Infotech Sub-Editor, Jyoti Gazmer, lays down the road map for Signify in the year ahead alongside, giving an erudite analysis of the Indian LED market in 2019. Edited Nub
- To start off, what key trends would be popular in 2019 for the LED market?
As the global leader in lighting, we at Signify foresee that LED penetration will further increase in the Indian market, across public, professional and home lighting. In the LED bulb category, new shapes and forms will emerge, such as our Philips T Bulb that we launched last year in India.
Connected lighting will also continue to be a key trend, as the world becomes more digital. With the expansion of the IoT ecosystem, we anticipate a shift towards a fully integrated lighting system in cities, building, retail shops, hotels and stadiums. We recently announced our new Interact IoT Platform that connects seamlessly with smart controls, networks, devices as well as apps to offer a customizable and tech-enabled lighting experience. The platform delivers new insights to help customers drive operational efficiencies and take more effective decisions.
- 2018, created a lot of buzz for the IoT-based LED Lighting as well as the AI-based lighting. What advancements are being made for this domain in 2019? What are the challenges of adopting it?
The year 2018 witnessed the emergence of IoT and AI-based lighting. Since then the concept has gained further popularity amongst the consumers. It not only represents the next generation in LED lighting, but also the opening up of a host of new possibilities in lighting.
At the home front, AI-based lighting can be controlled through various apps and gadgets, making them easier to use. Our Philips Hue connected home lighting system enables customers to change their lighting color to create an ambience of their choice as per their mood and occasion. These lights can also be programmed to switch on/off at a specific time during the day, thus enhancing safety when you are away from home. In 2019, we will add more applications for the Hue ecosystem for the entire home.
Modern workplaces are also moving towards intelligent lighting, as building managers are beginning to understand the value addition brought in by these lighting systems. Connected lighting systems increase both energy efficiency and employee productivity. Thanks to luminaires fitted with sensors, building managers can easily monitor energy usage and occupancy data to control other facilities such as air conditioning, heating and meeting room availability in a building.
However, the biggest challenge remains the monitoring and analysis of data collected through the various luminaires. Due to a lack of training and education, building managers are not prepared to handle the new demands for data transmission, storage, processing and its complex analysis, which is of utmost importance. This is where our recently launched Interact IoT platform fits in, and can deliver useful insights to administrators, bringing connected lighting to offices, retail shops, hotels, cities and landmarks.
- India’s UJALA scheme and drive to low-power green lighting has nudged the Indian LED industry. How evitable will these initiatives be in 2019?
Over the past few years, there has been a significant transformation in the lighting industry with the introduction of LED lighting. 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.
The UJALA scheme also enhanced consumer’s understanding about LED and its advantages such as good lifetime, efficiency, low power consumption and brightness amongst many others. This resulted in enhanced penetration of LED products at homes, public spaces and private buildings. We expect the transition towards LED products will keep growing in this year as well, especially in homes and public spaces.
- Indian LED market in terms of (new markets, ROI, etc) in 2019?
Lighting pervades every area of an individual’s life – home, work, on the road and in public places, and we believe that connected lighting will play a significant role in the development of smart cities of the future. It has the potential to enhance the overall quality of life, transform everyday experiences, services and ensure sustainability in our ever-expanding global cities.
India is also home to the world’s youngest population that is increasingly smartphone savvy and an early adopter of the latest technology products and trends available globally. At Signify, we have also witnessed a growing awareness about IoT and connected lighting amongst consumers. We introduced our Philips Hue product range specifically targeting this tech-savvy population that are keen on enhancing their homes and lifestyle using technology. Philips Hue is easy to install and can be operated remotely from anywhere using just a smartphone, allowing users to truly personalize their lighting experience at home.
Furthermore, over the years, the lighting market in India has evolved with lights surpassing their functional usage and now serving a more aesthetical purpose. Recently we also launched the Philips CeilingSecure LED downlighter bulbs, focused on the home lighting segment. This innovative Twist & Fit LED downlighter has a modular design featuring a separate LED cartridge that can be fastened into the outer housing installed in the false ceiling of a room. This not only enables easy installation but also prevents ceiling damage when customers want to replace their inoperative downlighter.
- Lastly, what would be your company’s major focus this year?
As the global leader in lighting, Signify has always been a pioneer in introducing new technologies in the fast evolving lighting sector. We were the first company to introduce the concept of connected smart lighting solutions with our Philips Hue range, the world’s smartest web-enabled LED home lighting system. This year, we will expand our retail presence with our Philips Smart Light Hubs across more cities in India, offering the complete Philips Hue range to more and more customers. In the LED category, we will focus on our new innovations such as TBulb and Ceiling Secure downlighters, expanding their reach to more cities in India.
With our connected professional lighting systems for offices, public buildings, retail stores, hotels and landmarks, we are helping to pave the way for massive urban growth by developing a people-centric blueprint for lighting and Internet of Things (IoT) services for smart cities of the future. We will also focus on our most innovative lighting solution – LiFi, that provides a stable and fast broadband data connection through light waves. LiFi is highly suitable for use in banks, schools, government, healthcare and industry, indeed anywhere where WiFi is poor or unavailable. It offers a secure, personal connection for anyone concerned about data privacy.