Government’s thrust on energy efficient system backed by the urge of young & tech-savvy Indians to quickly adopt the latest technology is pushing the boundaries for smart lighting solutions in India.
Despite the outburst of slowdown in the Indian economy, the lighting industry knows no bounds. The testimony of the fact is its steady double digit growth rate, which it has been registering from last few years, with projection of a much higher growth by 2020. Going by what ELCOMA (Electric Lamp and Manufacturers’ Association of India) – the apex body representing the country’s lighting industry – has predicted, the Indian LED industry is expected to reach ₹370 billion by 2020 from ₹120 billion in 2014.
Thanks to the government’s initiatives like DELP and SLNP which together have put the industry on a rapid pace in order to meet the illumination requirements within the stipulated time frame. No doubt the domestic industry has flourished to become not only self sufficient but also a manufacturing hub to cater to the requirements of neighbouring countries. Over this period, the requirements kept changing with time and a clear shift towards smart lighting solutions is being observed.
It is also evident with the fact that recently concluded lighting exhibition LED Expo New Delhi 2019 evinced a new era of Indian lighting chapter. Over 80% exhibitors had showcased their latest innovative smart solutions which will not only help in filling the gap between the supply and demand of electricity in India but also address the increasing inclination of the young and tech savvy Indian consumers towards smartly operated lighting solutions. We at LED World met a few of these players to know how they perceive the future of smart lighting in India.
Transition to Smart Lighting
According to Divyansh Batra, Director, EcoEarth Electric, “Lighting is now transitioning rapidly – from the oldest illumination source i.e. incandescent bulbs, to CFLs, and soon after, the focus shifted to LEDs. Here, our population plays a big role especially when it comes to demand side of the market, which is always going to be big enough for accommodating this shift in lighting from traditional to LED.” The company has its presence in about 75 cities with a facility to manufacture 10,000 lights every day.
“We ventured into smart lighting around two years back. We have been associated with Tuya for this and we have developed the entire portfolio of smart products now. In our lights, we use Tuya modules along with corresponding firmware for connectivity, while the drivers are developed indigenously. Currently, we have the biggest range in smart lighting in India and all these products are manufactured by us here in India,” he adds.
Sanjay Choudhary, CEO, Crescent Opto., echoes with the same spirit, when he says, “Smart lighting is the third phase of lighting. I mean, the transition is much faster than anticipated. It is like smartphones grew faster than laptops, and laptops grew faster than desktops. However, we would see more in the name of evolution as innovation is a continuous path which can pause but can’t stop. Industry growth or market size was never a problem but the absence of good manufacturing companies within India was. If these companies participate in the growth with good planning then there is no limit.”
And Choudhary is apparently right based on the fact that ‘smart’ is the latest innovation and lighting is no different. While the new generation is shifting its focus from conventional to contemporary, lighting is now majorly getting operated through smart devices like smart phones or smart switches. This change is far more visible in remote areas where grid is yet to reach but battery-powered smart lighting has made an entry.
Girish Tekchandani, Director, Redcard Switches & Homes is of the view that smart lighting solutions have moved a bit deeper into tier 2 & 3 cities where these smart products are increasingly being accepted, which is only adding to the existing demand being generated from tier-I cities. “We have keenly observed the increasing acceptability for smart lighting in smaller cities like Sangli along with surrounding areas of Mumbai or other tier-I cities.”
The push is also from specifiers including architects, consultants and lighting designers, who have started using these new technology products and solutions in their projects. Over the past few years, tastes and preferences of younger generation have also changed dramatically. These are well-appreciated by builders, who of course represent the voices of their clients, and are not just thinking of conventional but also smart switches to be incorporated into smart systems.
The Technology Side
Smart lighting consists of lighting systems that can be remotely monitored to keep a tab on their energy consumption. This has emerged as a key area to help reduce global energy consumption, which has reached unsustainable levels. Since lighting systems don’t constitute a major portion of total energy consumption of any individual complex, this may seem like an unnecessary step. However, lighting systems are present in an overwhelming majority of households around the world, the potential cumulative impact of smart lighting systems is rather more conspicuous.
Apart from reducing energy consumption and cutting electricity costs, smart lighting also offers numerous other advantages to end-users. Instead of using switches and push-buttons, smart lights use motion sensors which can automatically switch the lights on and off when the consumer enters or leaves a room. Moreover, smart light bulbs use LEDs that can be adjusted using a smartphone so that it can change colour according to the user’s requirements and can also be switched on and off from a remote location.
Most of the smart products are controlled through given remote controllers while some are app-based and can be controlled through smartphones as well. For now, the smart lights available in the market are commonly using three popular platforms – Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Zigbee. Of these the most advanced is said to be the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or Bluetooth Mesh technology, which is an advanced version of the traditional Bluetooth technology. It allows users creating networks and connecting multiple devices at the same time using this technique.
Is India Ready?
It has been observed that Indians are faster in picking up new technologies across the industry. The fact that transition from traditional lighting to LED lighting has happened here much faster than any other growing economies is just a testimony in this regard. No wonder experts feel that the growth potential is much bigger in India when compared to other growing markets in the neighbourhood. Adding more pace to the cause are supporting policies wherein the government is pushing green buildings, sustainability and energy efficiency. For all this to be achieved, evolution in lighting and its acceptance is a must. Smart lighting is just a stepping stone in that direction, towards which India has already moved on.
“I think it is. Today, every brand wants smart lighting in its product portfolio. People have started using Alexa devices and home automation devices like Google Home, making it evident that they want to use such technologies. Now Alexa has started working in Hindi, thereby removing a big barrier in the adoption of this technology. These things are going to drive the shift towards smart lighting too. Controlling through an app is still tough, but with voice commands, things have become really easy,” says Batra adding that the concept of smart has become more evolved after the invasion of artificial intelligence.
Therefore, there is hardly any doubt that the market for smart lighting has continuously been on the surge with noticeable developments in last few years. But there are some concerns of quality. According to Tekchandani, the trend has duly been favoured owing to the increasing penetration of considerably cheap smart bulbs. These are being assembled in India with the help of substandard components sourced from neighbouring markets. He, however, feels that Indian manufacturers have an edge over their Chinese counterparts, especially when it comes to smart lighting. “Home automation or smart lighting is not just about installing, but a dedicated after-sales service is needed for it, which the Chinese manufacturers may not be able to cater to.”
EsyLux Asia anticipates high potential for smart lighting in India based on the fact that the Indian lighting market has progressed very quickly in the transition from traditional lighting to LED lighting. “What we are going to see in the future is automation and lighting controls coming into the picture. Because that’s also the next step of achieving energy efficiency and the Indian government is having a lot of initiatives when it comes to sustainability of buildings and respectively the energy efficiency of buildings and it’s where we are seeing our brand coming in place,” as Hendrik Nedeljkovic, the company’s Managing Director has been quoted as saying.
This German technology major, represented in India by Ipush Innovations, has technology advantages that Chinese manufacturers don’t have. “Another critical point is that we care for the total cost of ownership, which not only includes the price of the component used, but also installation and maintenance costs. This led us to develop an ecosystem wherein our smart drivers save about 60% of the installation time. We see lighting such as traditional lighting industry and automation industry growing together into something that is called smart lighting or intelligent lighting and connectivity of lighting, and that is where our strength lies.”
Jitendra Agrawal, Sr. VP-Home Electrical Business, Luminous Power Technologies Pvt. Ltd. feels that the smart bulb segment in India is still at a nascent stage, and hence, has a very niche market with a lot of growth potential. “In the last few years, we have enhanced focus on future-ready environment-friendly products. We would continue our consumer-centric approach wherein our focus would remain to meet their needs. We want to offer them solutions to enhance their experiences. Our concern, therefore, would be to focus on what role should we play to contribute to the growth of the market.”
Delving into the manufacturing side, he says that overall, 90% of Luminous products are manufactured in India. “But for smart bulb, we are not manufacturing 100%. However, we are in that ecosystem and taking all the help that is available across the world, wherever we can have access to, based on the presence of our group companies. This is because there are some parts we do locally and for some, which is not yet done within the country by any manufacturer, we are sourcing from outside. However, as we would grow we may see these parts are also available locally.”
Agarwal asserts that Luminous Power Technologies is high on its awareness spree to educate both the market as well as the end consumers who are the potential prospects. “Our primary objective is to educate the target audience about the kind of technology we have come up with. The more we would be successful in disseminating information to our consumers, the more the market will grow. And this would be possible when the industry as a whole comes forward to take the initiatives as one player cannot build the market.”
EcoEarth boasts of its back-up team for support which keeps spreading awareness while addressing the issues that the end-users come across. “For smart lighting, we have a back-up team for support. In India, we understand that people want a service where someone comes and explains to them about the light and its features, as well as install the system in their smart devices, and later train them on how to use it. That is what we are doing! The products are in the company warehouse and our people are in the showrooms to demonstrate the functionality. If any enquiry comes in, the dealer passes it on to us and we directly supply the material. We have to provide end-to-end solution to our customer,” shares Batra adding that the company also participates in industry-specific exhibitions.
Philips Smart Wi-Fi LED bulb is the latest inclusion in Signify’s smart products portfolio that works on Wi-Fi and lets the user easily control Philips smart lighting using a mobile app or voice assistants including Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. As the bulb works on the WiZ technology platform, one can get started simply by installing the easy-to-use WiZ app on his/her smartphone or tablet and connect to home’s Wi-Fi network – no wiring, smart hub or additional equipment is required. The need is to download the free WiZ app (iOS or Android), screw the Philips Smart WiFi LED light bulb in any existing table lamp or wall fixture, and follow the step-by-step guide in the app to complete the setup.
The Philips smart Wi-Fi LED bulb lets the users create the perfect mood for every moment, allowing them to choose from its millions of colour options or use its preset themes or create special customised light settings. This smart bulb can also be tuned to the perfect shade of white light, ranging from warm white to cool daylight to suit the daily tasks. By choosing the right light suiting different parts of the day, it supports users’ natural circadian rhythm and enhances well-being. It automates lighting, using its timer and scheduling functions like switching it on automatically as the users reach home.
“Philips Smart Wi-Fi LED bulb puts the user in complete control of lighting with smart bulbs that are easy to use, functional, and affordable. We are delighted to introduce this new smart light bulb that lets conveniently control lights using a mobile app or voice assistants. One can now choose the right light for any situation, whether it is about spending time with family and friends, doing housework or enjoying a meal with a single tap of an app or using voice,” says Sumit Padmakar Joshi, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Signify Innovations India Ltd. during the launch.
Halonix Technologies Pvt. Ltd., one of the country’s most progressive and environment-friendly lighting companies, has recently launched inverter LED battens, which are designed to provide light back-up of up to 4 hours in case there occurs a power-cut. Prior to this, the company had introduced a unique app-based million colour smart LED ‘Prizm’ under its most coveted brand Prime. This Prizm is smart, alluring, ravishing with capability to define colour to suit every mood.
With its most striking features like shake & dance, bubble shooter, learn colour and camera pic, among others, Halonix Prizm gives users the option to choose the light settings according to their mood and occasion. The users are required to download the app named ‘Halonix BT’, available on both Apple iOS and Android Playstore, and choose from millions of colours to create their personalised lighting with this product.
“Taking smart lighting onto the next level, this app-based Halonix Prime Million Colour Smart LED Prizm gives freedom to change the colour of light as per mood or activity by a mere tap of fingers. At Halonix, we stay ahead of time and competition to offer state-of-the-art products to our valued customers,” says Rakesh Zutshi, Managing Director, Halonix Technologies Pvt. Ltd. during the launch of the product.
Almost similar type of bulb was launched by Luminous Power Technologies Pvt. Ltd. i.e., Smart Glo LED bulb which facilitates a wireless control of the lighting system with the help of a special app that is available to download on playstore and iOS. This bulb is designed to create vibrant lighting or a soothing atmosphere with a mix of different colours, with the help of which users can bring alive any space with a simple touch on the screen of their respective smartphones. They can make modifications as per their liking with versatile features ranging from brightness setting to colour adjustments.
The Smart Glo Bulb offers millions of colour options to choose from, allowing users to match the illumination to perfectly suit the mood in that point in time. The specific app that has been built to enrich the bulb allows various other possibilities like grouping of multiple lamps and setting the functionality to match the tunes of favourite music numbers. Other attributes include certified bright LEDs, high surge protection and dual socket compatibility. Besides, users can go a step ahead with smart scheduling of the bulbs to automate lighting with alarm setting, which enables them to get notified of daily tasks and routines.
“For our smart bulb, we have used BLE Mesh – a self-constructed landmark mesh system that facilitates a network which doesn’t limit the range for users. There is no central controller that is going to control the devices, rather it’s a self-governed mesh offering enormous amount of flexibility,” says Naveen Goudar, Sr. VP R&D Purchase & Quality HEB, Luminous Power Technologies Pvt. Ltd. while explaining about the technology used in the bulb.
Brighter Side of Smart Illumination
India is considered to be the biggest smart lighting market in the Asia Pacific region. As per predictions, the investments in smart lighting will double in the country. Also, around 27.5 million traditional street lamps will be replaced with LED lamps in the coming 2-3 years. The ‘Smart Street Lighting Market in India’ will grow at an estimated CAGR of 42.2% during the forecast period 2016–2022.
The major factor driving the replacement is the energy efficiency of LED lighting solutions compared to the conventional high-intensity discharge lamps (HID) which consume more energy and also generate a lot of heat. Therefore, with the growing awareness and the aim of reducing carbon footprint, the government has started replacing the conventional street lights with smart street lights. Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have started working on smart street lighting projects.
These smart street lighting poles can be turned on or off through the smart devices. Most of the smart poles are enabled with motion sensors which turn on whenever there is a movement near the pole. The key players will play an integral role in helping in this transition are GE Lighting, Philips Lighting, Acuity Brands, Osram Licht AG, Eveready Industries India Ltd., Bajaj Electricals, Havells India Ltd., and Syska LED Lights.
Penetration into Residential Space
The share of the residential sector in the global smart lighting market is expected to reach 10.7% by 2020, while outdoor lighting is expected to account for 17.4% of the smart lighting market by 2020. According to Transparency Market Research, the global smart lighting market is expected to more than double in value from 2013 to 2020 owing to the steady demand for energy-efficient lighting, rising from a market valuation of US$21 billion to US$56.62 billion at a CAGR of 15.9% from 2014 to 2020.
Despite the dominance of commercial and industrial sectors in the global smart lighting market, the demand for smart lighting from the residential sector is expected to exhibit robust growth in the coming years. The overall reduction in the cost of lighting due to the use of smart lighting is responsible for this. Outdoor lighting is another high-potential application area for smart lighting due to the growing use of smart grids in the developed world.
The efficiency of LED smart lighting systems helps cut down on overall energy consumption. This also makes them scalable in operability, while the heat generated by incandescent lighting makes them unsuitable for large-scale operations. LED lighting is perfectly viable to be used for public as well as residential or industrial lighting purposes. Due to wide-ranging government support to smart lighting systems in the form of tax concessions and other financial incentives, LED systems have become highly profitable for major players in the smart lighting market, particularly in comparison to conventional lighting systems.
However, the prime driver for the contemporary global smart lighting market is the high energy efficiency of LEDs, which have led LEDs to replace incandescent lights in most application areas, and the wireless connectivity offered by the steady technological advancement in the field of the Internet of Things. These two factors have been crucial in driving the demand for smart lighting in street lighting, which is a rapidly growing application segment of the global smart lighting market.
It is a fact that the Indian smart lighting market is currently witnessing strong growth. Smart lighting is an innovative technology that is now replacing conventional lights such as incandescent bulbs, halogens, CFLs, etc. with more efficient LED lights most of which are sensor-based for energy conservation. With India being the second most populated country in the world and one of the largest consumers of power, it is a must to address the increasing electricity demand-supply gap, which has made power shortages and blackouts as regular features.
Moreover, the lighting sector currently accounts for around 18% of the total electricity consumption in India. As a result, the government is equally poised to push the energy-efficient lighting products and hence, it is playing an active role in replacing the current lighting solutions with more energy efficient ones. This all would keep pushing the market for smart lighting in India as future buyers of smart lighting will be buying an ecosystem of applications and services, which will be beyond illumination as lighting will intersect with security, sensing, big data and advertising.