Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

David Gordon

January 15, 2018

By David Gordon

The earliest smart lighting was little more than sophisticated on/off and dimming controls — a market dominated by companies like Lutron, Leviton, Legrand, and a few others. Since then, if a facility upgrades its lighting to LED, adding sophisticated controls after the installation generates only marginal incremental energy savings and can pose technical challenges based on quality of installation and user knowledge. After all, once LEDs save 70% versus the lamps they replaced, what’s the ROI on investing in controls? But as we now know, that’s not the end of the story. Lighting control benefits are more than energy savings.

The latest networked lighting controls can include Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity. Putting a computer, connectivity, and sensors into lights can now take them beyond on/off, dimming, or even colour tuning. Now LEDs are analogous to the smart phone in your pocket, which is much more than a phone. They are data capture and control devices … in essence mini-computers. These IoT lights can monitor any space, relay sensor data to highly sophisticated software programs (outside the fixtures) that analyze the data from across the facility and provide mission-critical services to commercial, industrial, and municipal facility managers. This goes beyond the value of lighting or energy efficiency. It gets into business applications that improve productivity, reduce costs and/or generate sales.

Mission-critical services

IoT lighting can already monitor the locations of expensive equipment in hospitals, factories or warehouses. These are examples of “asset tracking.” They can also monitor the use of conference rooms or the location of shoppers in a store. These are known as “indoor positioning,” leading to better use of commercial space, reduced space requirements ($$$), and push notifications to shoppers about products on sale and product education ($$$). For a list of 30 potentially valuable applications that IoT lighting can provide (detecting gunshot location, directing you to an open parking space in a garage, etc), check “30 ways IoT lighting can solve everyday problems“ on LuxReview.com.

Taking the smart phone metaphor farther

The major Tier 1 lighting manufacturers are taking the smart phone metaphor for IoT lighting much farther. They want to be the platform on which these diverse software applications are built. They want to be like iOS and Android in our phones, with scores of third parties developing the high-value applications that run on their platforms (like in app stores). Only the largest lighting manufacturers can attempt this ambitious move (e.g., Acuity, Eaton, Hubbell). And most are proprietary systems (think Apple) that are only compatible with their hardware and will require distributors, contractors / installers and end-users to know each system in the market… or specialize in specific platforms.

Where the technology is going

There are two types of IoT lighting, wired and wireless. Wired has advantages in new construction where new wiring can be run easily. Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a wired example that uses only low-voltage computer cables for 

Marketingboth power and data, and does not require expert installers. However, PoE requires power hubs to be installed separately to address power loss in the cable network.

Wireless IoT solutions have significant advantages, particularly in retrofit applications. Because each light, switch or sensor in the system has a very small radio built in, no signal wires are required. This can reduce the wiring cost, but there are many competing wireless protocols available in the market. The challenge becomes which to pick.

The protocols, or technologies, include Zigbee, Bluetooth, Thread, Wi-Fi, proprietary protocols, and many more. With so many options, it makes it challenging for specifiers and buyers as well as manufacturer and distributor salespeople to evaluate the pros and cons of each protocol, especially for the environment in which they will be installed and the desired usage. Unfortunately, no one protocol can do everything due to varying benefits in range, data rates, mesh scalability and capabilities, and energy consumption. The chart above, courtesy of Silicon Labs, compares the most popular wireless protocols.

David Gordon is President of Channel Marketing Group. Channel Marketing Group develops market share and growth strategies for manufacturers and distributors and develops market research. CMG’s specialty is the electrical industry. He also authors an electrical industry blog, www.electricaltrends.com. He can be reached at 919-488-8635 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Hubbell

 

The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland has named Hubbell Lighting executive licensee of a technology that can suppress bacteria in the air and on surfaces using a narrow spectrum of visible light. The high intensity narrow spectrum lighting technology has been shown to reduce bacterial pathogens in the environment at a far greater rate than cleaning and disinfection alone.

“Our agreement with Hubbell Lighting opens the door for the food and beverage industry and other sectors to benefit from our continuous disinfection technology, helping them keep consumers even safer,” says Scott MacGregor, vice-principal of the University of Strathclyde and leader of the research team that developed the technology.

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Study


A confirmation: the winds of change are now howling.

Several years ago, in a workshop at Electro-Federation Canada’s annual conference, a roundtable session described and debated the numerous disruptive technologies that are forcing us to think differently.

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Michael Gentile, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Canada, has had a long and distinguished career in the electrical industry and more recently the lighting industry. None of this is by chance. Always in decision-making circles since beginning his career, Michael spends the first 10 years first at Siemens, and subsequently in lighting at Osram as Vice President Finance and Vice President Sales and Marketing. After that, he joins Philips Lighting.

Michael agreed to share a few moments with us to discuss his career trajectory, the industry, trends, worries, and wishes. A tour of his career is also a tour through a key period in the industry and a reflection of its adaptability to new technologies — from an expert's point of view.

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Changing Scene

  • Prev
Flextherm Celebrates 25 Years With a Big Bang PHOTO: EIN-37/CEW-18-CS-Flextherm-400.jpg The floor ...
Electro-Federation Canada’s 6th Annual Future Forum, Thinking Smarter — Channel Products, Energy, ...
In partnership with Habitat for Humanity Québec, Convectair is donating two heating units ...
Do you know an industry member who has greatly contributed to the Canadian electrical industry and ...
Kendra Smith will be joining the company’s Nationals Accounts team as the Key Accounts ...
Blueway has been added as a division within Sonepar Ontario, reporting directly to Sonepar Ontario ...
Pilz Canada has added Marcus Graham to its family. Marcus is now serving a wide base of customers ...
Christopher Balleine has been appointed Stelpro’s Sales Representative, Maritimes, ...
Based in Ottawa, Lafontaine will be responsible for building on Schneider Electric’s ...
Bill Smith from Electrozad Supply Company Limited has been selected as this year’s recipient ...

Peers & Profiles

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Sales of electrical supplies from full-line electrical distributors capture the geographic ...
I've known John Sencich since CEW began publishing. He agreed from the outset to be part of the ...
Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & Son for ...
Michael Gentile, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Canada, has had a long and distinguished ...
Gordon MacDonald is a cheerful, driven individual who loves to be challenged, a trait that suits ...
  Jordan Prins is an account manager at Wesco Distribution in Abbotsford, British Columbia. ...
Mike Marsh, President and CEO of SaskPower, has been a leading figure in Saskatchewan’s electricity ...
I didn’t wake up one day and go, “I want to work for my dad!” Actually, it was ...
    Ouellet Canada is celebrating 50 years in the Electrical Heating ...
  On February 27th Lumen opened their 36th branch in Ottawa, Ontario. ...

Laura Dempsey

Owen Hurst

Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & Son for over 15 years, and is a member of the BCEA U40 network of young professionals. She lives in Langley, BC and is proud of her position and work with E.B. Horsman, particularly as she is the second Dempsey generation to work for the company.

Laura’s mother Shelly has worked at E.B. Horsman for over 25 years, and instilled in Laura a determination to succeed. Laura followed in her mother’s footsteps after witnessing how much her mother enjoyed her work and the people she works with at E.B. Horsman.

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Laura Dempsey

Line Goyette

I've known John Sencich since CEW began publishing. He agreed from the outset to be part of the newsletter’s Editorial Board. His contribution was regular and sustained. Always present to answer my technical questions, and refer me to the right person for additional information as needed. Always available despite his role as senior leader of an influential company.

Over the past five years, many industry insiders have cited John Sencich when I asked them to name someone who had made a difference in their lives or had inspired them as a leader.

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Looking Back

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  As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we take a look back at an aspect of ...
The resource-based industries of the Maritimes are looking to electronics to make their operations ...
  Electrical distributors must remain in both the electronic and electrical ends of the ...
  The public’s strong interest in energy-saving products should continue in the ...
  Even in a principally agricultural province like Saskatchewan, the impact of electronics ...
Electrical distribution companies operating in British Columbia will continue to get larger while ...
Golden anniversaries are celebrated by the mature, and our industry is allowed to celebrate ...
The last 50 years have been exciting ones for the electrical industry but they won’t compare to ...
The ceiling that had been placed on membership fees remained a point of contention among ...
The year 1982 started on a relatively good note for electrical distributors. Sales in the first ...

DIgitalDigitalization is set to take a strong hold of all business models, transforming how companies access, monitor, engage with and service customers. Today’s customers are not passive consumers; they rely on real-time digital access to information to make purchasing decisions. Businesses must consider how to apply digital technologies and digitized data to connect with customers to help reshape their paths to purchase. This digital lens provides improvements to business functions, operations and overall processes by creating stronger insight and knowledge so businesses can take action.

The path towards digitalization has put the electrical supply channel at an important crossroad: the entire electrical value chain (suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, customers) will need to strongly consider how to move from a traditional model that has served the market well for decades, towards a new model that is connected, smart and highly efficient. But how does the industry evolve from a traditional model to an integrated ecosystem?

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EFC 2018 Scholarship Program

This year Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) will award $156,250 across 62 scholarships supported by manufacturers, distributors and associations.

The annual EFC Scholarship Program reflects an industry that understands its responsibility to attract future talent. In the face of technological, demographic, and socio-economic evolution, the employment landscape is in constant transformation resulting in substantial challenges for companies as they work to define and redefine their recruitment practices. Furthermore, as competition for the brightest and the best of the next generation of business leaders intensifies, it’s more important than ever to engage young people. 

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