“Panasonic has a strong experience in developing Lighting…”

Panasonic Corporation has emerged as a global leader in Lighting, Energy and Indoor Air Quality. Panasonic Life Solutions India Pvt. Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of that Corporation. In a free-wheeling e-interview with the Lighting India team, Dinesh Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director of the company is detailing on several aspects of their business in India. Excerpts…

Tell us about Panasonic Life Solutions India Private Limited. How well has the merger faired and what’s the strategy to achieve excellent quality, even in these testing times?

Over half a century, Anchor has managed to capture the minds of every consumer in India. The Anchor and Panasonic Brands are committed to deliver products for better safety and comfort of Indian citizens. The ideology of holistic quality management to improve product offering has been a part of Anchor’s core business. Since 1963, Anchor is ‘Making in India’ and providing services that deliver social, economic and environmental sustainability. Brand’s experience and understanding of the Indian market is unmatched in the field of electrical products. The prominence of Anchor as India’s only “Switches SuperBrand” testifies to the fact that it is still the most respected brand to be leading this business vertical; with a constantly expanding product range and a growing market share.

Post takeover by Panasonic in 2007, the initial years were spent in the expansion of production capacity, establishing formal systems for quality management and production, supplier consolidation, setting up of Panasonic values and strengthening sales infrastructure. In the period from 2010, we started expanding product range within each of the five businesses. A large part of these products were designed and made in-house; but in Lighting, we had some of the fixture imports coming from China, under the quality approval from Panasonic, China.

Over the past 12 years, with a constantly expanding product range and growing market share, Panasonic is one of the largest domestic manufacturers of electrical construction materials in India; with two brands Anchor for the value-driven, mass market and Panasonic for the specification is driven premium market in each of the product categories, except in Wires & Cables.

We have been expanding our traditional portfolio of business with a focus on three verticals: Energy, Safety & Comfort.

Having started Solar Modules and EPC business in 2014, we have established LED professional lighting fixtures and control systems; Home automation systems and IoT products; Energy monitoring & management Systems; Electric Vehicle Chargers; Smart street lighting and there are many more such technology solutions in our pipeline for India for residential, commercial, industrial and the infrastructure markets.

Panasonic’s Quality Policy itself says that the company will truly serve customers by offering products and services that constantly meet the rising needs of customers and the society.

Brief us on your outdoor lighting range and its unique properties in comparison with each other.

For over 60 years, Panasonic has continued to create advanced lighting products using top-notch designs and technology, quality methods for different spaces in Japan, China, SE Asia and parts of Europe. Today, Panasonic enjoys a proven track record as a trusted and preferred brand of choice for lighting products in Japan, with nearly 60% market share. Panasonic with its aesthetic range of LED lighting and functional superiority will continue to achieve greater energy savings while enriching the living of several spaces and urban environments across the world. The outdoor lighting range comprises the following three segments:

  • Roadway Lighting (Street Lights)
  • Area Lighting (Flood Lights)
  • Landscape Lighting (Garden Lights)

Roadway lighting applications are challenging as good visibility determines road safety; for drivers and pedestrians. We have a complete range of Street Lights from 15W to 250W, right from the periphery of residential societies to Municipal areas and Highway applications. Flood Lights are used in High Mast and illuminating buildings and other areas. Our ever-expanding landscape fixtures are not only aesthetically contemporary but also very energy efficient. We have a unique proposition combined with robust design, high efficacy, and durability in our outdoor lighting range blended with smart and high-tech features.

Elaborate on your consumer lighting range. How do you manage to maintain its quality at a cost-effective price?

We believe that lighting should not only illuminate the spaces but also dramatically enhance the atmosphere which, makes the occupants feel relaxed, at ease. In particular, consumer lighting makes reading and other tasks easy and comfortable. We have an exclusive array of LED lights for home – Panel lights, Ceiling lights, and Spotlights. These fixtures are elegant, affordable, and super energy efficient. In addition to this, we also provide assistance through our lighting design support and technical tools to help you optimize the no. of fixtures required based on the intended use of a room. While making the lighting design, we keep in consideration our three core pillars, i.e Energy, Safety and Comfort. The various value-added services we provide include planning and designing, testing, on-site validation, design and implementation, and validation after the completion.

What’s your observation on the customers’ acceptance level of the emerging trend of Smart or Connected lighting using LEDs?

The market is evolving and moving towards automation and Smart Lighting. The emerging trend today is smart lighting and lighting management systems, which can be controlled remotely through a web application or automatically through a motion sensor, lighting sensor, and occupancy sensor. Lighting today is a very important part of all interiors for illumination and a good ambience. There has been a massive transition to LEDs that ranges from warm to cool, from an ideal working light to lighting that matches the surroundings. Panasonic, with its vast experience in Japan, believes that the aesthetic range of LED lighting will continue to achieve greater energy savings while enriching the living of several spaces and urban environments across the world.

What makes your brand stand out from your competitors in the market? How’s the level of acceptance of the solutions offered by Panasonic in the Indian market?

Panasonic is a “core technology company” with innumerable patents to its credit in Lighting. Out of the three Noble prize winners for LED in 2014, one was an ex Panasonic employee. In the Indian market, we thus hold a very special position as, we have contemporary technology for lighting all kinds of urban spaces; i.e., offices, stadiums, airports, metro stations, etc. We are bringing in some of these solutions and products to India based on market maturity. This differentiates us from most of the competitors as they are just importers or CKD assemblers and can thus sell only standard, commodity products.

Besides, with Panasonic’s unique professional assistance offers tailor-made and optimized lighting design and fixtures to a customer. As mentioned, Lighting today is a very important part of the interiors, as not only aesthetics, it has a bearing on energy cost (thus environment) and human mood. Panasonic’s professional assistance includes the below-mentioned activities that ensure excellence and affordability; making it very different from the competitors:

  • Planning and basic design
  • Testing and on-site validation
  • Design and implementation
  • Validation after completion

How is the market value and approach of the customers on LED fixtures/ product range for smart lighting?

In the lighting market, at present LED Lighting products hold 70% of the share. With continuous pressure on cost due to lack of high standard products, every company is forced to drive its product specification, design, and manufacturing to achieve cost economies. The customer approach in general at present is for a cost-effective solution with zero or minimal control automation. But this trend is changing fast especially with the home automation market growing at over 30% annually and the consciousness about energy savings increasing amongst commercial and industrial spaces. The current demand is coming from tech-savvy customers, MNC, and Indian corporate who take environmental protection very seriously.

Summarising the Indian market holistically in term of smart light and connected lighting, where are we heading to?

The Indian smart lighting market is currently witnessing strong growth. Currently, the lighting is responsible for 18% of the total electricity consumption in India. Smart lighting is an innovative technology that is replacing conventional lightings with more efficient LED lights and sensors for ensuring use only when required and thus energy conservation. The market is moving towards automation and one-stop solutions provider, new standards introduced like LEED and WELL certify a building, and lighting is a significant part of it. Panasonic is well-positioned here since it can supply an efficient lighting design, energy-optimized LED fixtures and Lighting controls; which can operate the lighting based on people’s presence, daylight, required ambience, etc. Thus, the emerging trend today is smart lighting and lighting management systems that can be controlled remotely through a web-based application or automatically through a Motion Sensor, lighting sensor, and occupancy sensor. At Panasonic, we are offering a complete range of energy-efficient and smart lighting products, right from Indoor Commercial, Industrial, Outdoor, Retail, and Hospitality segment.

In street lights, as a part of infrastructure up-gradation and in the Smart cities, there is an increasing demand for Smart Street Lighting (SSL). We are already a part of some of the projects including Kalyan- Dombivli near Mumbai, Bhatinda (Punjab), etc.

With the support of our parent company; we are also a Tier 1 supplier to two of the Japanese Automobile companies in India and hope to grow this business further.

Please tell us about Panasonic’s home automation system. Roma Smart Digital and Sensors.

We are committed towards creating ‘A Better Life, A Better World’ and along with our parent Company,  we have forayed into the Connected Living Solutions space with the launch of our IoT & AI-enabled platform – Miraie. In Home automation category, we have two types of product series; One which includes India’s largest range of Smart Doorbells, Smart Plugs, Connected Water Heaters and Switches under “Vetaar” platform, which will soon include Smoke & Gas sensors, Motion sensors and IP Camera for monitoring. This range is being integrated with Panasonic smart appliances through MirAIe; wherein a user can control Smart and legacy appliances to optimise their use and thus energy consumption; in addition to the comfort of pre-setting the operation.

The second is KNX – Panasonic Thea IQ Home Automation; which is a fully wired and a very robust system. KNX is an open standard globally and will help us add many more devices in the years ahead; in residential, commercial and industrial spaces. We will continue to develop products along the above for enhancing energy saving, safety and comfort.

Additionally, the Smart Digital series by Roma is elegantly designed and it comes with feather Touch Panel that combines art with smart combined with unique features of Scenario Setting, Dimming, and Curtain Control to deliver an unmatched experience.

Anything else that you would like to add or any case studies you did like to share?

Panasonic has a strong experience in developing Lighting for various specialized applications like Office lighting, Retail lighting, Stadium lighting, Architecture & Monument lighting etc. While our current focus in India is towards supplying standard but superior products (in terms of Lumen efficacy and robustness); we have started working in projects where we will be able to position our superior technology and our global experience. Apart from this, the brand has worked on multiple such projects and have strengthened relationships with customers. While working for one of the esteemed customers, Panasonic worked with Proconvis Consultants Pvt. Ltd. a design consultancy firm based in Pune. Proconvis introduced Panasonic to BMW India for their lighting requirements. Panasonic understood the lighting requirements in the auto ancillary industry and hence recommended two types of high bay lighting for Indoor area and street light for outdoor area lighting that is Circular High Bay and Street light. We are building similar inroads into many city infrastructure projects including centrally controlled Smart street lighting (Kalyan Dombivli; Bhatinda etc); Airport Lighting; Auditorium Lighting and Stadium Lighting.