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Interviews

Government should put ‘energy-saving’ lighting controls in a lesser duty bracket: Alok Hada

Smart Lighting Anusha Technovision

For a developing country like India, it is very important to utilize the available resources in the best possible manner. Smart use of energy is one such thing that the nation must adopt at earliest. Though the government has shifted its focus to the renewable source of energy, it still needs to promote the habit of conservation of energy among the masses. One such way could be an aggressive promotion of smart lighting. Santosh Sinha from RealtyMyths talked to Mr. Alok Hada, Director, Anusha Technovision to understand what and how the government can help the lighting industry to contribute to making India a USD 5 Trillion economy. Here are the excerpts.

Q. How do you define a smart home and what role lighting plays in making a home smart? 

Alok Hada, Director_ATPL

Alok Hada, Director, Anusha Technovision

A. Smart homes mean different things to different people. A builder might say he is offering a ‘Smart Home’ to a prospective buyer if the IP video door phone installed in the house can also be viewed over a smartphone. An architect may call a home a ‘Smart Home’ if the lighting controls can be manually activated on a time clock, from inside the house or remotely. A system integrator selling AV systems may say he has designed a smart home where the homeowner can view any media content stored in the cloud or locally from anywhere in the home. But, for me, Smart home is one or all of the above. Whatever technology is used to make a smart home should enhance the home owner’s experience, and it should make life more convenient, comfortable, and enjoyable. Smartphones have become an integral part of our life, so have smartwatches and smart TVs. Our dependency is increasing on them extensively, so why resist the ease and comfort of a smart home?

While thinking of a smart home, thoughts of smart lighting are inevitable. Smart lighting has changed perspectives, cities, and our responses to visual stimuli. This innovation of the cities has also impacted the way we design lighting. The monotonous practice of switching lights is replaced with lights responsive to the circadian rhythms of the human body and environment. Lighting is a key aspect when designing a space, as it orchestrates the atmosphere with the kind of fixtures and the positioning of lights. Light is no more an assumption subjected to the object around it. Smart lighting is the creator of nuance redefining spaces in all practices.

Q. A smart lighting system conserves energy as well. Do you think it can play a role in solving India’s power crisis? Do you think the government should promote the use of smart lighting?

A. Smart and intelligent lighting sure can play a crucial role in solving India’s power crisis. Dimmer compatible lights are not only user-friendly but also conserve energy and improve the aesthetics and ambiance of a space. This allows a homeowner to live on the “just right amount” principal. To substantiate, if we did not have dimmers for lighting, we would actually have lights on at 100 percent level when we are occupying the space, even though our requirement might be just for 50 percent of the lighting. Hence, we say, “just the right amount” and energy is saved when controlled via Smart Home System.

The Government should definitely promote the use of smart lighting as not only is this is an investment for life but also step towards carbon neutrality and towards a more eco-conscious world. Instead of custom duty in the highest category” energy saving,” lighting controls should be put in a lesser duty bracket.

Q. A major portion of your order books depends on the real estate market which, as the market reports suggest, is not in a good shape. How do you look at this scenario? What is your backup plan in case the real estate market takes time to recover?

A. The real estate industry is an industry that continues to function even when times are difficult. In light of the pandemic, of course, everything is in a standstill and a lot of our work requires on-site presence which is simply not a possibility right now. Luckily, we are not dependent upon the Real Estate market alone for our business. We cater to Government business where energy saving is important. We also service individual homeowners. As of now, we’re exploring other commercial sectors such as airports with regards to automation, where we can fully explore its potential for everyday usage, especially in public spaces.

Q. What are the latest trends in smart lighting that you are currently offering? How much emphasis do you give on utilizing the natural lights while customizing a house?  

A. The lighting industry is evolving rapidly due to constant innovations in technology. The market dominance by LED lights have made a way for further advancements and the graph is only going upwards. One lighting trend to look forward to is the Internet of Things (IoT) enabled lights. IoT will allow the users to control and operate lighting fixtures via their smart gadgets, making it possible for them to turn the lights on and off from anywhere within or outside the space with the help of inbuilt sensors.

Wireless technology is making its way to almost everything, the lighting industry is no exception, and even the traditional wired lighting systems are switching to wireless models.  Controllers are another technology that we offer, they are user friendly and give options like zoning, dimming, setting timers, changing colors, etc. You can also control outdoor lights with the use of these controllers according to the mood and occasion. What’s more? They can be easily integrated with a voice command system such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa.

Natural Light can be easily accessed in a home with intelligent and motorized shades. These work in tandem with the indoor lighting to give the right mix of natural light and indoor lighting a given interior space.

The advances in technology only promise efficiency. And, with efficient and smart lighting controls, the future seems positive and full of transformations. New applications that are compatible with the lights and fixtures are expected to be developed to control these lights.

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