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Cover Story | July 2018

Industry is undergoing a tectonic shift in technology

The government's push to energy conservation, rapid urbanisation, increased consumer awareness, and new innovations will enable a widespread adoption of LED lighting solutions, according to <span style="font-weight: bold;">Sumit Padmakar Joshi, Vice Chairman &amp; Managing Director, Philips Lighting India. </span>This will likely represent a significant growth opportunity for companies offering electronic hardware or components for the segment.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">What prompted you to enter the LED business in India?</span><br /> Consumers in India seek smarter energy-efficient homes, offices, and retail outlets, thereby fuelling the demand for LED lighting. We have witnessed a significant rise in demand for our LED lighting products, which attests the fact that awareness of LED lighting is increasing among consumers, together with their consideration towards conserving energy and protecting the environment. <br /> <br /> We are the global leaders in LED, conventional and connected lighting in both professional and consumer categories. Our size and position across the value chain provide us significant economies of scale, allowing ongoing development of innovative technologies, products, and services. Innovation is core to our business. We hold more lighting and lighting controls patents than any other lighting company, with approximately 90 per cent of these pertaining to LED and digital lighting. In the future as well, we will continue to innovate in LED to outgrow the market. Our strong foundation in LED light sources and luminaires, drive opportunities for innovation in connected lighting systems.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">What are some of the potential drivers that will boost the adoption of LED lighting in the coming years?</span><br /> The major drivers that will boost the adoption of LED lighting are the increasing number of government initiatives for energy conservation, rapid urbanisation, rising consumer awareness about energy-efficient products, and innovative products offered by the industry that are in sync with the overall trend of digitalisation. 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 or components and solutions in LED lighting, with functionalities for homes, public, and professional lighting. <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Can you elaborate on the kind of government projects your company has participated in till now? </span><br /> 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. <br /> In the past, we have worked on street lighting projects in Naya Raipur city and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) together with TATA projects, Hyderabad Growth Corridor, and Department of Rural Development &amp; Panchayat Raj in Tamil Nadu, to name a few. We have also installed Philips Colour Kinetics fatade lighting solution at several prestigious government buildings like the Rashtrapati Bhavan, North and South Blocks, India Gate, and Ambedkar Memorial in New Delhi. <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">What focus does the company give to R&amp;D in LED?</span><br /> As the global leader in lighting, we 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, and enable data harvesting and analysis for improvement of lighting operation and business performance. <br /> <br /> 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 personalised lighting systems. At a global level, we invest approximately 5 per cent of our sales revenue in R&amp;D to ensure that we remain at the forefront of lighting technological developments. We have over 16,000 patents, 1,000 start-up and technical partners, and state-of-art labs at our global headquarters in the Netherlands, China, and the US. In India, we have our research and innovation centres in Noida and Bengaluru to deliver local innovations for the Indian market and also develop software solutions for the world. We recently inaugurated our Remote Operations Centre in Bengaluru that can manage our connected lighting installations across the world, remotely from the city. <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">What kind of opportunities do you foresee emerging in the LED segment over the next two years? </span><br /> Over the past few years, there has been a significant transformation in the lighting industry with the introduction of LED lighting. Its penetration has increased substantially over the past two years owing to enhanced awareness among consumers about its advantages, such as high durability and lower power consumption, in addition to its increased availability and reduced prices. The LED is fast replacing conventional lighting at workplaces, public infrastructure, industries, and homes.<br /> <br /> However, the latest trend in the lighting industry has been the emergence of connected lighting, marking a significant shift, transforming lighting from a commodity item to a fully integrated system that can seamlessly connect with a wireless network or ethernet, allowing users to remotely control and monitor 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 customised and tech-enabled lighting experience, paving the way for a fully digital world. Philips Lighting foresees that this technology will significantly enhance a consumer's lighting experience at home and drive new business value for professional users.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">What new products do you propose to launch this year and do you have plans to diversify into other segments as well?</span><br /> We recently announced a new internet of things (IoT) platform, called Interact, which will enable our professional customers to unlock the full potential of connected lighting. The platform supports our company's strategy to deliver new data-enabled services as value expands from lighting products and systems to services. Interact is also the name of the connected lighting systems that will not only support customers to improve their lighting experiences but also generate and upload data to the Interact IoT platform. These connected lighting systems, offering a unified user experience, feature applications that address industry-specific verticals. Available now are 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.<br /> <br /> We also announced the launch of Light Fidelity (LiFi), a technology in which high-quality LED lighting provides broadband internet connection through light waves. As the lighting company for the IoT, Philips Lighting is the first global lighting company to offer LiFi-enabled luminaires from its existing office lighting portfolio. LiFi is a two-way, high-speed wireless technology similar to WiFi but uses light waves instead of radio waves to transmit data. With a speed of 30 MB per second (Mb/s) broadband connection, users can stream several HD quality videos, even while on a video call.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">- Manish Pant</span><br />
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