Vendor action in IoT lighting kept on coming today, as Norwegian luminaire provider Glamox AS named its first ever chief digital officer, tasking him with finding a way to leverage data collected by smart lighting, among other duties.
Terje Løken takes the post on Feb. 1, joining from Cognite, an industrial software, data, and services firm that promotes its ability to “make generative AI work for industry.” Løken has served there in different roles including as senior vice president with global responsibility for software-as-a-service (SaaS).
Both Glamox and Cognite are based in Oslo.
“I’m excited to welcome Terje to Glamox,” said Glamox CEO Astrid Simonsen Joos, to whom Løken reports. “In this new role he will be responsible for the group’s digital innovation strategy and further strengthening our light management systems and connected lighting capabilities. This includes developing a data services strategy to maximise the use of data acquired by our luminaires and connected lighting systems.”
Løken’s broad remit also includes overseeing digital innovation and business processes — such as customers’ online ordering. In that capacity, his responsibilities echo the background of boss Simonsen Joos, who conducted a digital business overhaul as global chief digital officer at Signify before joining as captain of Glamox in August 2022. Løken will also run internal IT at Glamox.
The data gathering portion of his duties is indicative of a challenge facing the entire IoT lighting industry. While vendors have made modest progress selling digitally and wirelessly controlled lighting outfitted with sensors, they have fallen short in their cloud-based efforts to collect data from the sensors and analyze it in a way that provides insights to customers on everything from facilities management to space optimization to retail store layouts and sales promotions.
As Eric Rondolat, CEO of rival Signify, recently noted on an analysts web call, “I would say that cracking the code in terms of monetizing systematically data, we haven't reached that level yet.” On the same call, Rondolat also remarked that “we are building today, with our IoT platform and with our connected light points, a database and I would say, sensory network, that is capable to generate data that we believe is going to be useful for the future, but it's not meaningful at this point in time.”
Such is the importance of data in the IoT pursuit that Glamox had originally intended to call the new executive post "chief data and technology officer". It settled on chief digital officer.
“It is what was agreed,” a Glamox spokesperson replied when LEDs Magazine inquired about the change. Although not part of the job title, “data” is still a large part of the job description.
Løken and his team of over 70 will hope to leverage the growing installed based of smart lighting that is equipped with intelligence capable of handling more sophisticated data applications. Today those sensor-equipped and radio-equipped systems provide the significant but more rudimentary benefit of saving energy by turning lights off or down when not needed.
“We are now seeing a wider uptake of wireless smart lighting for commercial buildings and marine and offshore markets,” said Simonsen Joos. “This is due to the ability to generate even more energy savings and work smarter.”
As Signify’s Rondolat noted, the next step will be to monetize data. The industry has struggled to reach that point over the decade or so that it has been trying. But a resurgence is underway in its efforts. Just last week, for example, Fagerhult launched a slick new smart lighting campaign. Earlier this year, Austrian lighting vendor Zumtobel came back to the IoT table after a conspicuous absence. Signify has even extended its “smart” technology into non-lighting environments, a move that could be considered as either an adjunct to smart lighting, or as an effort to salvage IoT initiatives, or both.
The enthusiasm of newly appointed Casambi CEO Mark McClear should also boost the renewal.
“This is an exciting juncture in the lighting industry as luminaires become increasingly smarter,” McClear said upon taking the reins at the Espoo, Finland–based wireless lighting controls company. “From stamped metal and screw-in lamps, we’ve advanced to integrated LEDs, and it’s now inevitable that all luminaires will soon feature embedded Bluetooth Low Energy radios and sensors.”
Vendors also continue to tweak their IoT messaging as they try to determine what the killer apps might be. In its “7 Reasons” push, Fagerhult highlighted how smart lighting can provide intelligence that supports the environmental sustainability and “circularity” of luminaires, helping to keep them and/or their materials in circulation. Light for health and wellbeing — also known as human-centric lighting and circadian lighting — is also on the Fagerhult list.
Starting in February, Løken will lead Glamox’s efforts to spread IoT beyond the functionality of energy savings, both in its maritime and professional buildings operations.
Løken has more than two decades of software experience including about two years at Cognite and 14 years at Norwegian financial services outfit The Storebrand Group, where he held a number of jobs including executive vice president of digital and innovation. He currently serves a part-time role as chairman at Econic, a Norwegian SaaS company.
Løken graduated from the Trondheim-based Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 1999 with a masters in computer science.
MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).