Founded in 2016, Svarochi is a brand from iBahn Illumination Pvt. Ltd. smart LED lighting company that aspires to bring the best of lighting & technology to the Indian consumer. The concept at Svarochi smart LED lights are based on Bluetooth mesh technology that provides users with a wide range of combinations & controls. The smart LED lights can be easily managed via a mobile app – available on both iOS& Android, enhancing convenience. When it comes to products, the company’s current portfolio comprises smart bulbs, downlights, spotlights and striplights a complete offering to create or make a smart lighting home.
Svarochi is the brainchild of the team comprising lighting big-wigs from Philips Lighting (now Signify). The founders’ name includes Rajeev Chopra, former Philips India CEO and Global CEO, Business Group Home BV, Philips Lighting; Arjun Shahani, who headed Luminaires Business Division of Philips Lighting India; and Kunal Chaudhuri who was the R&D head of the Professional Luminaires Business of Philips Lighting India. The core team also includes Sudeshna Mukhopadhyay who was the head of Philips Lighting Design Centre and Lighting Academy in India.
We, at LED World, met Arjun Shahani, Co-Founder & COO, iBahn Illumination to know how the range of smart lighting from Svarochi is transforming the way lighting has been perceived till date. Prior to iBahn, Shahani was the Managing Director at Armstrong World Industries. Here are the excerpts of what he shared with us:
What made you establish iBahn Illumination?
Lighting has gone through a lot of disruption and that too pretty fast. Initially, Edison bulbs were there for 100 years, after that came in tube lights. It was followed by CFLs, which emerged out as a big disruption in the world of lighting in such a way that quite a few lighting fraternities started setting up CFL manufacturing plants. Suddenly, in the year 2008-09, came in LEDs. That time LED lighting was a meager. I remember the first budget for LEDs we got in Philips in 2009, which was very small. Then, it was out of reach because of the high prices although it had a huge advantage with respect to the life of the product.
LEDs came up with two biggest challenges – heat dissipation and point source, which the industry quickly looked in to. Lumens package has also started coming up. It was in 2010-11 that Syska took over the responsibility to take LEDs to the masses in the same way as Havells and Philips did for CFLs. Getting influenced with LEDs unmatched features, the market quickly moved from CFLs to LEDs and almost all the CFL manufacturers decided to shut down their production and immediately switched over to LEDs.
We noted this disruption and decided to take on the next best in the way forward i.e. smart lighting. Prior to zeroing in, we looked into various options of the available platforms including ZigBee, WiFi, and Bluetooth. Each one of these technologies has its own limitations. Like for instance, ZigBee platform has a limitation of 50 connections with a particular driver. After considering the pros and cons, we opted to go with Bluetooth Mesh technology for our futuristic lighting solution i.e. smart LEDs. We believe that in next couple of years smart would be the common lighting term.
Why do you think that future belongs to smart lighting?
Let’s begin with the bulbs that took more than 100 years to change over to tubelights, which took over 50 years to changeover to CFLs. But from CFLs to LEDs, it just took about 10-15 years. This is nothing but the disruption in the technology, which is crashing. In the next 2-3 years 25% of market will be smart LEDs. Within 7-8 years, normal LEDs will be out from the market.
All these are destined to happen because people want convenience at their fingertips. For instance, in today’s homes, most of the electronic gadgets are controlled through remote, which will soon be replaced by the touch of a button i.e. smart phone, which has evolved out to become extremely vital for all of us. Smart phone has become a child’s play and our brand Svarochi is creating lot of interests of people of all sections for its smart features.
What does Svarochi stand for?
Svarochi is the smart LED lighting venture of iBahn Illumination. The word Svarochi is taken from Sanskrit, which means brilliant appearance and own ray. It’s about the substance that derives its own illumination source. Based on this theme, we aspire to make homes and social spaces beautiful by creating lighting ambiances that perfectly sync with the occupants’ mood and decor. In short, we at iBahn Illumination, aim to disrupt the market with our Svarochi Smart LEDs by offering high functionality in accordance with locally relevant propositions at affordable prices, through continuous innovations.
What do you mean by smart LEDs?
Lighting is all about creating best balance between functionality and aesthetics, while smart lighting allows building layers using multiple light sources thereby setting the perfect ambience in any decor. For example, smart lighting can make a bedroom more than just a place to sleep in. Each zone in a bedroom, whether it is the makeup/dressing area, study/work zone, TV zone, couch area or the wardrobe and closet, has a different visual need. With smart lighting solutions, one can create different light groups and settings to help her read, relax, watch TV, do make up and, of course, get a peaceful sleep.
Smart LEDs are application-based, internet-capable LED light bulbs that allow lighting to be customised, scheduled and controlled remotely thereby enabling individuals to control and adapt the lights, they have at home or at work as per their mood and requirements. Just with the touch of a button using an app on the smartphone, one can create the perfect lighting effect for each space and every occasion.
Which all products and solutions are there in iBahn portfolio?
Under Svarochi brand, we have three light variants – smart bulbs, downlights and spotlights. As I said, iBahn Illumination is India’s first company that is only specialising in smart LED lights, wherein all the lights can be wirelessly operated with a mobile app. The aim is to offer a range of smart LED lighting products, based on Bluetooth Mesh technology, which enables users to control the intensity and colour of their lights through our easy to use smartphone app.
The setup and operations are very simple making it user-friendly for all smartphone users. Compatible with Android and iOS, the spotlights provide exceptional indoor lighting and can be applied in spaces such as the living room, bedrooms, in POP ceilings for home, corridors, in recessed gypsum ceilings of showrooms, cafeteria, restaurant, hotel lobbies, and reception areas.
Additionally, for a 2×2 fitting, so far, the available recessed or suspended LED light is 16W fixture. Our portfolio has that of up to 50W thus enhancing the capabilities to touch new heights. Further in version 3, our solution would be such that one can control 1 lakh 50 thousand lights with a phone unlike 640 lights that we were able to control with our existing solutions.
What is the latest addition?
We have recently augmented the list of our offerings by adding PRIMA and ELITE series of spotlights in our portfolio. These are the country’s first app-operated chip-on-board (COB) lighting solutions. Users can switch the lights on and off, set the lights to the colour temperature of their choice (get the correct shade of white or yellow), adjust the intensity and set the lights to any colour (from among 16 million available options) with the help of the app.
Prima offers reflector-based spotlights with fixed and adjustable spots, whereas Elite is a lens-based spotlight with a modular design of four different reflector attachments – fixed, swing, angle, and curve. These lights are available in 8W and 16W, bright and dim (Prima), and warm and cool (Prima and Elite) lighting options allowing users to control the dimming and colour temperature as per their tastes and requirements.
What is Bluetooth Mesh technology?
Our smart LED lighting products are based on the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Mesh platform and provide innovative options to users, which include control of these smart lights with a mobile phone-based app, besides control of the tone and colour. These clutter-free lights fit into conventional fitments, do not need any extra fittings, and work on the Bluetooth mesh platform. Being based on the Bluetooth technology, these lights are priced lower than those smart lighting products which are operational through Wi-Fi connectivity. For this, our lighting systems come with an embedded chip which works as the interface between the phone and the lights. This is simple and easy, thereby, allowing users to adjust the brightness, and the colour tones as needed.
How is the technology from Svarochi different from those available in the market?
For now, the smart lights available in the market are using three popular platforms – Bluetooth, WiFi and Zigbee. Ours is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or Bluetooth Mesh technology, which is an advanced version of the traditional Bluetooth technology. It allows users creating networks and connect multiple devices at the same time using this technique.
Who are your target customers? How do you market your lighting solutions?
We started moving through architects. 50% of our lighting is going to high-end establishments and the rest is going to small commercials for spaces spread across 1000 sq. ft. to 2000 sq. ft., which also include jewelry and garment showrooms. We have now come up with 30W solution, which will be apt for high-end retail chains where the ceiling heights are more than 10 feet. We are in process of setting up a distribution network. Apart from that we are also selling through our own retail outlets, which have been setup in select cities as of now.
Solution for retail seems to be the focus of the company!
Oh yes! The colour tunable lights are not only needed at homes, offices or commercial spaces to set the mood in sync with the occasion, but it has far greater role in showrooms. For instance, in jewelry showroom, silver and diamond jewelry need white lights; while for gold jewelry, yellow lights would be appropriate. Similarly, for garment showrooms, different colour lights are required for improved colour coordination. To meet this kind of typical requirements, we have products with 2200K, which is unique in itself.
What is the current market size of smart lighting? Where do you see iBahn in couple of years from now?
We believe the ‘Smart LED’ market is likely to be a Rs. 4000-crore by 2022 of which we are eying to capture 10-12% in the next 5 years to touch Rs. 500 crore turnover.