Exhibitor Interviews

Ayhan Siriner, Regional General Manager, Middle East & Turkey, Sylvania

Brief history of Sylvania

We might call Sylvania the only survivor in the lighting industry as a historical or traditional brand successfully transformed to a LED lighting supplier. Sylvania together with GE, PHILIPS and OSRAM are the first lighting manufacturers in the early twentieth century.

Currently, PHILIPS has changed to become independent from the Royal PHILIPS Company under the name Signify. OSRAM did an IPO and sold it to a consortium of Chinese Investors under MLS. GE decided to sell its lighting business to Hungarian investors and will become Tungsram. However Sylvania Lighting is still the same for more than 100 years.

Remaining a key player in the professional lighting industry despite undergoing several major changes in the last decade, Sylvania is available in Central and Latin America, Middle East and Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia. Sylvania is currently owned by Feilo Acoustics, a Chinese company that invests in lighting manufacturing and associated businesses.

Sylvania is originally from the USA, and started as a lamp repair shop in Boston. As for Europe, the historical manufacturing plants are in Germany, France and the UK. With our Chinese owners Feilo Acoustics, we’ve access to affiliated brands in China. One of the Feilo brands is Yaming, so Sylvania and Yaming are sister companies. In 2016 the two offices in Dubai were merged into one office, forming the Feilo Sylvania Dubai FZCO.

We have a sub-brand called Concord, which is an architectural lighting solution originally from UK. Concord has been in our portfolio since 1990, with a focus on indoor lighting such as fashion retail, museums, offices etc. Our branding strategy focuses on Sylvania globally as our mainstream brand, and Concord as a niche brand for high end offices, retail and museums.

Our activities in the Middle East

The current trend in the Middle East market is heading toward energy efficiency. It has been building up for several years and governments are paying more attention on saving energy. With energy production prices increasing and oil prices declining, governments have to save money, and lighting is one of the easiest technologies to save on.

It’s a matter of replacing existing lighting with more innovative and energy efficient products. A development in the market in the UAE is that of Etihad ESCO, which is leading government subsidized private projects by issuing tenders for massive projects to replace lights with more energy efficient solutions.

There were several projects that have tendered last months, one of which is Dubai Airport, and we’re bidding for this with one of our partners. The trend is very important, and it’s going from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, where there are many ESCO governmental supported projects going. We’re participating in those projects with our partners.

Another of our current projects is the Shindagha Museum in Dubai’s Deira area, which is very important for us due to its historical meaning and significance to Dubai. For this project, we have offered our latest spotlighting technology, Beacon Muse.

LED prominence

It’s all about LED nowadays, and there’s almost no application now focusing on conventional lighting. So, when we look at our sales now, we’re ahead of the market in changing from conventional lights to LED.

We still have florescent tubes manufacturing in Germany for special applications such as aquarium lighting or UV lighting. However, these are transitioning to LED as well. Our main focus is on retail, offices, airports and hospitals, which are all focusing on energy efficiency.

I would also like to add the role of Dubai in terms of energy efficiency, which is very big in the Middle East. We see the influence of that in many energy efficient projects by ESCO Etihad and followed up and managed by Taqati as a government office.

All this influenced other countries such as Saudi Arabia, which has started huge investments in energy efficient projects. The market there is getting more structured for ESCO projects, which we’re also working on, such as in street lighting. One of the projects that we’re currently working on in KSA, is King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, where we’re the major supplier for lighting solutions.

Dubai Expo 2020’s impact on the lighting fixtures market

Expo-related projects are now coming to the manufacturers after the designing and specifications period is done. We’re now in discussions with several pavilions, so I think it will have a major impact on all parts of the lighting industry. The same goes for the hospitality sector, since the number of new hotels being built for Expo visitors is huge.

Hospitality lighting

For new hotels, lighting designers know enough about their requirements, and I’ve not seen many new hotels that still use conventional lighting, but it’s the hotels that are built in the last ten years that need more support from lighting manufacturers to transform to LED.

This is something that lighting designers can achieve but they have to be approached by the hotel owners or management. What we see now is that such projects come directly to our electrical fitting partners or to us, then we can refer them to our electrical partners.

Our SylSmart and ToLEDo lighting solutions and Light Middle East 2018

SylSmart is a concept rather than a product. There are many innovative start-ups on lighting technologies, so we decided to partner with these start-ups – creating the SylSmart solutions focusing on different application areas, such as offices, retail and public spaces. Start-ups bring the technology we give them the know how in applications and lighting expertise.

This gives us the manoeuvrability to compete with smaller companies and invest in innovations that are already there rather wasting that investment on reinventing the wheel again. SylSmart is there to apply in places which requires a combination of our knowledge and open source technologies.

ToLEDo is popular especially with the Vintage range and we’ll introduce the Mirage collection during Light Middle East 2018. The vintage range uses filament, while our Mirage uses laser printed light guides with a certain design.

We’ll also again showcase our SylSmart solutions, but for all applications such as retail, museums, offices, and high calibre industrial areas. Further to that, we’ll present our Skyline street lighting, which is our own development and product.

At Light Middle East 2018, we’ll have a private innovation corner, which will be accessed by invitation only, and it’ll contain three of our products that were awarded the Most Innovative Product at Light+Building in Frankfurt.

We’re very proud of this and we call it the 6D Spot lighting, which is a spotlight from our Concord range with six dimensions for direction, dimming, beam angle, etc. We also have a down light that uses light guides instead of the conventional direct light source. In addition, we have a new track spotlight system with 24V instead of the usual 12V, which is suitable for museums and high end retail.

The regional lighting market

In principal, the lighting market in the Middle East is growing yearly and LED transformation is going rapidly. However, as with other regions, the Middle East has issues with low quality imports that influence the perception of LED lamps especially negatively at the consumer level.

Governments work hard on getting regulations up and running, and opportunities abound especially in energy efficiency projects. There are 30,000 buildings in Dubai that need to be retrofitted by 2030, and the lighting companies have a major role in that to provide the right product and service for it. 
What we’re offering in the market is the better of two worlds; the production speed of China and our R&D and quality expertise in Europe.

The Middle East is a very competitive market and the number of manufacturers and suppliers have multiplied and offer very much the same product. So, it’s the added value you can bring with lighting solutions. Our SylSmart solution goes beyond lighting, and captures data that can be used as value added information for facilities management. This can be used to save cost in different aspects.

For example, SylSmart has presence sensors, which itself is not a new technology, but it’s the way we deal with the captured information that’s useful. An example is our application in the Netherlands, where we have a project at the Dutch Standardization Office. In that office, we have SylSmart solutions with presence sensors. The system allows facilities managers to follow up on every floor of the building, where it shows which area is used and for how long.

This helps the facility managers to allocate building cleaning staff to clean specific areas more based on the usage recorded by the presence system. This is very crucial in countries where labour cost is high to help them save on that cost.

Our smart street lamps

One of our companies under Feilo Acoustics provides smart poles for smart city concepts and we’re currently working on an internal project to apply this solution to other regions. We believe that the Middle East is the region where this technology is suitable.

Currently smart street lighting is mainly limited to managing the light in terms of dimming or getting light performance information from the unit back to the central headquarters to understand the maintenance schedule.

But I foresee that with the smart street lighting you can do more than that. There’re many examples products where it’s used for WIFI, CCTV, weather stations, charging pole for E-vehicles and many other options as well.

Opportunities for Sylvania in the coming years

We see more opportunity in indoor lighting such as offices and retail, where we had success with Concord lighting. Nevertheless, the amount of projects on street lighting is unneglectable. With our Chinese owners who are very strong in China, especially on street lighting, we have the leverage and capabilities to provide street lighting as well,

From our business perspective, the lighting fixtures market is an equal split between retrofitting buildings and new projects. The retrofitting market in Dubai is becoming huge, and we are working together with government departments such as Taqati to educate the market, consumers and professional end users. 
Recently we have supported Taqati with their social media #MyEnergyMyResponsibility.

The importance of Light Middle East for regional lighting design and technology

It’s a very important exhibition, and we see the success of the show every year. It’s also important for us to be present, and to show the public who we are and what our brand is.
We received many complements from both government and private sectors for being present at Light Middle East last years; we’re very proud of our participation and will continue that.

On manufacturing in the UAE

Together with our Chinese owners, we have a strategy for regionalization where each region has the authority and autonomy to decide what is better for the region. Thus, based on the restrictions imposed on imports in some regions, we decide either to assemble or manufacture in that region. We have plans to assemble or manufacture in the Middle East and that will come in the coming months or years. We know there are some examples of lights being assembled here, but nothing that is completely manufactured from zero.

Interview with Ayhan Siriner - General Manager (Middle East & Turkey) at Feilo Sylvania

Chris E Renfer
Chris E Renfer, General Manager, Zoomlux

Who are Zoomlux and what do we do?

Zoomlux was founded in 1996 as a lighting manufacturer of indoor light fittings.
For more than 20 years, we have successfully manufactured and completed over 400 projects across the GCC region and Africa.

In 2017 we increased our capabilities, enabling us to serve our customers more efficiently, by offering a one stop shop for all lighting requirements from consulting to design, supply, installation and lifecycle maintenance.

At Zoomlux we are fascinated by light and see it as more than just a bulb, fixture or LED strip. We have started asking ourselves questions like:

• Why are we not using light more effectively, for both our health and our society? 
• How can we produce light in a way that will not only benefit people and the planet, but is also economical?
• What can we do, to control light in a more intelligent and efficient way
• How can we deal with the growing problem of light pollution across the globe?

This is when Light Reimagined was born.

What is Light Reimagined?

Light has had more impact on mankind than any other element. Light at its core is a promoter of life. Without light, plants will not grow, and our food chains will collapse. An absence of sunlight directly affects humans’ health.

Light has influenced and changed all aspects of modern life from medicine to communication. Light is also a key enabler for the future: it serves as an incubator for many innovations, from smart phones to defence systems, manufacturing processes to robotics and from medical treatments, to our quest to inhabit space.

Picture a world where you have safer work environments by never letting the sun set. 
Imagine being able to save money through the ability of controlling light more effectively. 
Think of creating a relaxing atmosphere through ways in which we light our homes.

Light Reimagined is an incubator of Zoomlux and its Partners to find answers on tomorrows challenges, allowing to design new ways (technologies and solutions) of producing, using and controlling lighting. We strive to contribute on building a better, safer and more sustainable tomorrow for our future generations, knowing that the world is not given by our fathers, but borrowed from our children.

What innovations do Zoomlux bring in controlling light?

We are living in a vastly connected world, where we have all types of devices to connect us to people, our homes, our cars, our offices and the environment. Everyone knows it as the Internet of Things or IoT.

Within the same concept lies the Internet of Lights, which is the extension of the IoT principal to light, by connecting next generation Lights in a controlled, semantic and intuitive way. This makes the use of light human centric and efficient, saving energy and operational costs and reducing light pollution.

Let’s take one of our Partner’s innovative solutions, called Trivalite. Trivalite from SwissLux was born from the inspiration of nature. Consider a swarm of bees, or a flock of birds, or a school of fish. How do they work together precisely? Picture this flock of birds, flying in unison and navigating together as a unit through the sky.

Every bird has a mind of its own and is individually controlling itself, however mimicking the movement and path of the other birds. This phenomenon that we see as ‘swarm intelligence’ only exists out of the interaction between the animals. And that’s also the way the group of birds find its path: the swarm now has an own ‘intelligence’, which arises out of the swarm and finally helps animals to use their energy efficiently.

In Trivalite each luminaire has everything that’s required to control itself (‘the intelligence’): sensors, control unit and communication capabilities. Each fixture ‘listens’ to the whole swarm and interacts in this way with its neighbors, providing exactly the required light, resulting in a much simpler light control

This type of technology is breakthrough for many stakeholders. Imagine the commissioning time of a project can be cut down 60-80 percent. Once installed, the ‘swarm’ programs itself from one light fixture, learning the program and required mode of operation itself.

What are some of the new ways Zoomlux is using light?

Light is all about emotions and creating a positive emotional response from individuals. New innovations in the lighting industry are aiming to create a better, healthier and more comfortable environment for individuals through advancements in technologies. But frankly, who among us has not experienced a situation, of feeling disturbed or even hurt by light?

Creating so called “flexible environments” which are changing the way people perceive their surroundings is just one example. Why not use light interactively where it focuses our attention to the next step in a process or even highlight dangerous conditions to beware of. This is known as semantic lighting.

Alternatively, lights can revitalize a person’s natural biometric cycles or boost serotonin in our brains, creating less stress and more positive impact on people’s daily lives. This circadian lighting helps us be more productive at work and more restful at night.

How is Zoomlux involved in new ways of producing light?

When we talk about the production of light, we can refer to both the new ways in which luminaires are produced, however also refer to how visual light is created. This may not sound very different at first, so let me explain what we mean.

Imagine a light that you could print at home, precisely in line with your needs and ideas. Yes, I said print. With nanotechnology, it has become possible to print light. This is how Zoomlux is reimagining light and the possibilities that are existing to make people’s lives better.

Today we can harness sunlight and transport it throughout a building’s infrastructure, deep into the building to provide the most natural, clean light available. Imagine working in the back corner of an office with no natural daylight. It is now possible to transport daylight to that office corner without having windows to the outside.

Why do we talk so much about sunlight? It is because it is an infinite and free light and energy source. It is not new to produce light from the sun however this process takes the sunlight, converts it to electricity and then reverts back to light. This is both expensive and produces a light of inferior quality compared to the original.

Why not use sunlight directly? Sunlight harvesting and plasma technologies produce natural light improving our health at work and in the home.

What is Zoomlux bringing to the market in the future?

Zoomlux ambition is reimagining light, how it can be used to the people’s and environment’s benefit; how it can be produced in a more effective and efficient way; and how it can be controlled to ensure safety and functionality of spaces in the future.

Light Reimagined is our invitation to search for new ways and technologies in producing light and exploring how we can use and control light for the benefit of mankind.