Bastiaan de Groot has end-to-end responsibility for strategic new business development within Feilo Sylvania, including smart lighting and EMC contracts. In order to navigate the major disruption currently hitting their industry, Feilo Sylvania has an open innovation policy in which it works with the most innovative partners worldwide, whether they are large corporates or disruptive start-ups.
Bastiaan is an expert in building new ventures within industries that are facing major disruption. He has built and launched new business for the likes of E.ON, Airbus, Vodafone, British Telecom, Philips and La Poste working on topics including smart homes, internet of things, augmented reailty and other major industry disruptions. Before joining Feilo Sylvania, Bastiaan worked as a growth and innovation consultant at Inzenka and within Philips Corporate Technologies on connected lighting.

How did you become involved in the Smart Buildings industry?
I have a background in corporate venturing and supporting blue-chip companies that want to build disruptive new businesses. I started my career at Philips and therefore have extensive knowledge of the lighting industry. When Feilo Sylvania was looking for someone to lead the introduction of the smart lighting business I had a unique profile and was asked to fill the position.

What excites you about the Smart Buildings industry?
What really excites me is to understand and show people the value that new technologies can bring to their business. At the moment, this is the biggest challenge in the smart lighting industry. There are so many new technologies hitting the market and it is important for building owners, facilities and energy managers as well as contractors and specifiers to understand the propositions that these technologies can enable.

Are there any particular technologies that we should be aware of, but are currently under the radar?
Our customers are becoming increasingly interested in gathering presence and occupancy data for their buildings and utilising the lighting is a great way to do this. It is something our new lighting control systems can deliver and enables a whole range of new value propositions, including optimising meeting room space and flexible desk utilisation to optimising the layout of retail applications.

What services does your company offer?
We are traditionally a lighting company but with the introduction of smart lighting we are increasingly becoming an integrator of IT services, incorporating a range of sensors and smart building services into our luminaires.

Are people aware of the regulations that they will need to comply with in the near future?
Across Europe, we see are seeing tighter regulations on commercial buildings and the energy efficiency targets they have to meet. Especially when it comes to offices, this can have a detrimental impact on building owners being able to rent out their properties.

What are the benefits of a smart building?
The smart building allows a much more efficient operation of a building in terms of energy, maintenance and footprint while at the same time increasing the comfort level of the occupants by informing them expecting their needs

Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
This would definitely be Larry Zentner, the managing director of the consultancy firm I worked previously. He gave me the opportunity to work on some of the most exciting disruptive new businesses for some of the biggest brands across Europe.

What is the question you are most often asked in your business life?
Could we become the uber/nespresso/appstore/spotify of our industry?

What are the best/worst things about your job?
The best thing is definitely all the exciting new propositions that we are developing and getting out to meet new customers. However, this does mean there is a lot of travel!

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
Focus on the value and benefits of any new technology and not with how cool it is.

What living person do you admire and why?
Elon Musk, I love his drive to really disrupt industries and challenging all existing assumptions while at the same time helping to address some of the biggest humanitarian challenges

Where would you most like to live?
Amsterdam, which is where I currently live, it is a fantastic place to live with an extremely high quality of life. I love getting back there after a hectic week in London or one of the other metropolis’ around the world.

What is your favourite book?
I’ve got to admit that besides the standard business books, it has been a decades since I last read a book.

How do you relax?
I do yoga 2-3 times a week, which is what enables me to relax and clear my mind

What sports team do you support?
I have played rugby for more than 15 years at a high level and enjoy being part of a team. I like that I can get to know everyone personally and I value this more than supporting any team.

What is your desert island disk?
Mountain by Danko Jones

What is your ideal holiday?
Definitely together with my wife enjoying a combination of high quality healthy food, sunshine, tranquil and luxurious environment and taking care of body and mind with massages, spa baths and yoga and probably some scuba diving.