R&D A ROADMAP To Future Innovations

In a free-wheeling conversation Sumit Joshi, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Signify India speaks with Abegail D’mello from Lighting India, on the awareness and increasing demand for human-centric and smart lighting. He also highlights the LED market value in India and Signify’s keen interest in the Make In India initiative.

Elaborate on Human Centric Lighting. Is there a significant demand for it in any particular sector?

Human-centric lighting is making a difference in settings where people seek to heal and enhance their mood. In hospitals, tunable lighting systems are already promoting better sleep, which is vital to a patients’ recovery. In the educational field, students are making most from the greater cognitive focus that the correct lighting regime promotes. These lightings are not only energy-efficient but also enhances the wellbeing of employees, making them more productive and motivated at the work front. Lighting can be customized by each employee to suit their individual requirements, creating a smooth and refreshed work environment.

As people are now more aware of the benefits of human-centric lighting in their homes and workplace, it has become more common and, we are witnessing a rise in the demand for such lighting.

Are there any new innovations that will be launched by Signify in the near future? What is the acceptance of your products internationally?

We have an in-house R&D unit which works closely with global teams on business forward plans and portfolio development. UV- C based innovations will remain a strong focus area for the organization. We have initiated production and are capable of catering to the significant demand of our customers. We plan to have a variety of UV-C based solutions with professional and consumer applications.

In this effort, we recently acquired Germicidal Lamps and Applications (GLA), a Netherlands-based company with extensive expertise in UV-C disinfection solutions that complements our portfolio. We acquired their assets which include upper-room UV-C air disinfection portfolio as well as in-depth application knowledge. The upper-room air disinfection luminaires can be used, with people in the room as they are installed, at a height which is in combination with shielding and optics to prevent exposure, to the UV-C light source. The air in the upper part of the room is continuously disinfected using UV-C irradiation and natural convection of airflow within the room, making these perfect for use in schools, offices, gyms, retail outlets and other high-contact areas. The assets and know-how acquired from GLA will help us to accelerate the development of our roadmap for UV-C based upper-room air disinfection systems. We plan to make these products available across the globe soon.

What is Signify’s point of view towards Make In India (Atmanirbhar Bharat) initiative?

India is a strong focus for Signify. We are committed to the idea of Make in India, creating livelihood and economic value here, and are continuously innovating to suit the needs of the market. We have been manufacturing in India, for India over 90 years, since 1930. About 98% of what we sell in India is made in India and was strategically done much before the crisis. To de-risk our production from external factors and become self-reliant. Our manufacturing unit in Vadodara currently exports conventional and LED lamps to 29 countries across the world. Our state-of-the-art R&D facility, Signify Innovation Labs with over 400 employees in Bengaluru, has churned out the blueprints for smart cities and smart building concepts designed for the Indian market, which has enabled various central and state government projects in the country. Our teams here are also driving the worldwide transition to smart cities out of this Bengaluru facility. India is also the global headquarters for Signify’s solar business & R&D facilities in Bengaluru & Pune are leading the product & software development for the world. We are proud to support the Government’s vision of self-reliance and will continue our endeavours in this direction.

Kindly summarize the lighting industry of the Indian market holistically. What are the progress and goals made by the Indian market in terms of IoT and sustainability?

The Indian lighting industry is on the path of rapid growth. With the government initiatives to boost LED adoption and growing awareness regarding lower power consumption of LED lighting products and replacement of basic and inefficient incandescent, halogen, fluorescent lamps with modern LED lights, we are getting towards the reduction in electricity consumption.

In India, smart lighting for homes is expected to grow by 45% over the next three years as many more houses adopt connected lighting in a major way. We are by far the market leader in this segment, as we virtually created this category when we launched our Philips Hue range in India five years back. While smart lighting for homes constitutes a very small share of our overall business right now, it has a lot of potential for growth in the future owing, to the increasing urbanization and internet penetration.

As the business scenario in India matures, expectations for a new generation of employees from their workplaces have increased and, we also see employers adopting new technologies to boost employee engagement and productivity. These developments have led to the emergence of smart and connected offices wherein the ‘Internet of Thing’ (IoT) drives new ways to collaborate, innovate and socialize. Hence, it is not surprising that in today’s fast-changing business environment, new ideas such as connected lighting are implemented, in workspaces that can facilitate a culture of innovation based on collaboration. With connected lighting, offices can offer employees the ability to personalize the lighting in their immediate work area, which, in turn, can have a profound effect on their wellbeing and effectiveness. Organizations are also focusing on building energy-efficient green offices, enabling optimal use of available resources. Connected LED lighting also allows building managers to monitor and analyze building usage data in real-time, enabling them to identify inefficiencies and control other facilities such as air conditioning, heating and meeting room availability. It can drive down energy consumption by up to 80% compared to conventional lighting allowing businesses to slash their carbon footprint and drastically reduce their running costs.

With the growth of smart cities in India, there is a lot of potential for growth, of smart street lighting. It can equip city administrators with a robust infrastructure to improve city services, improve citizen safety, beautify public spaces, engage with citizens, and encourage civic pride. It can also reduce energy costs and increase efficiency so that the city can reinvest its savings in new smart city projects.