How did you become involved in the Smart Buildings/Lighting industry?
You could say it was by default. My dad is an Eco Warrior so I have been able to rewire and programme heating systems since I was 12 years old. I took this passion one step further by studying Control Systems and Electronics at University followed by a sponsored Masters to assess the performance of wireless sensor networks for home automation and after graduation I worked as electronic engineer and software developer for WebBrick Systems who produced systems for Smart Homes. I used this knowledge to build my own house, which is where I came across Loxone and was so impressed that I has to work for them!
What excites you about the Smart Buildings industry?
Although the Smart Buildings industry is still in its infancy there is already a great scope to have a big impact. Working in this industry means that we have the chance to improve the way people live their lives, whilst saving the environment at the same time – how could you not be excited by that?
Are there any particular technologies that we should be aware of, but are currently under the radar?
Most people fail to realise that technologies are purely enablers, and not the solution. Whilst there are many new technologies that will impact our industry, I feel that we’re approaching a revolution in how we interact with technology. I believe that in the future we will move away from us having to tap buttons on apps in Smartphones to more intuitive ways of interacting.
What services does your company offer?
Loxone offers a centrally managed home automation solution, which can be tailored to each individual homeowner’s needs. Whether it’s simple smart lighting control, or automating the entire home to include heating, blinds, security, access, audio and so on.
Are people aware of the regulations that they will need to comply with in the near future?
Sadly very few people are aware of the regulations that they will need to comply with in the near future, and even if they do they often do not understand how new technology can help them comply.
What are the benefits of smart lighting?
There are endless benefits that I could list of smart lighting but here are a few:
Energy saving - if your kids keep leaving lights when you’re trying to get out the door for the school run smart lighting lets you touch a button and shut off all lights in the house at once.
Time saving – smart lighting removes the need for running around the house checking everything’s been correctly switched off
Presence simulation – smart lighting has the ability to make your home appear lived in, even when you’re on the opposite side of the world!
Makes life easier and more comfortable – You can choose a variety of colourful lighting scenes for all types of day. For example, a nice dimmed setting when you’re still half asleep eating your breakfast, mood lighting for a dinner party or disco lighting for a party!
Smart lighting allows you to highlight favourite features of your home. One of our case studies features a stunning glass staircase, which the homeowner illuminates using LED lighting- simple but so effective.
Not only do these benefits result in peace of mind, but also lower energy bills. It’s hard to argue with that.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
The biggest influence of my career to date has to be Andy Harris, the inventor of Mime Sweeper. Mime Sweeper was the first application of virus scanning in emails and sold for £692m in 2000 to Baltimore and I had the pleasure of working with him during my time at WebBrick Systems.
What is the question you are most often asked in your business life?
I’m always asked what will happen if Loxone goes bust or Google buys us. My response is pretty simple - Loxone is a rapidly growing company, with over €20m turnover in the last year and over 100% annual growth. Since 2009 our products have been installed in over 38.000 homes, so I think it is fair to say that we are no longer a small startup company and since we do not rely on any external investment there is no reason why we should disappear.
Also, Google buying us is simply not an option, because we are not for sale. We are extremely passionate about what we do and do not believe that we could be doing the same work if we had any external shareholders. Both of the founders are actively working in Loxone and we want to leave our own mark on this world. Being swallowed up by Google, Apple or anyone else will simply not allow us to do that.
What are the best/worst things about your job?
Being in a market that is still so young is a bit of a double edged sword and is both the best and worst thing. There is a lot of confusion in our market at the moment and no clear understanding on what a smart home is which can be tricky to navigate. However, at the same time this only serves as a great opportunity for us to shape the industry.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
For anyone starting out in the industry I would tell them to think about the consumer and their life at home. Get away from technology and instead focus on providing simplicity - everyone's life is already complicated enough and our technology should only serve to make it simpler.
What living person do you admire and why?
I really admire Elon Musk, the South African businessman and inventor. It is amazing what results he has been able to achieve through sheer willpower and determination alone.
Where would you most like to live?
I have no desire to live anywhere other than where I do now – happiness and contentment comes from who you surround yourself with, not where you are.
What is your favourite book?
I have read too many books to have a favourite, but if I had to pick then “In the Plex” by Steven Levy would rank highly. It is inspiring to read how Google grew to the company it is today and how it is staying true to the principles of the founders.
How do you relax?
I’m a bit of a sports fanatic so if I get the chance my favourite way to relax would involve running up mountains, kite surfing or snowboarding.
What sports team do you support?
I don’t actually support any sports teams. I get too restless when watching sports and would prefer to be outside participating myself.
What is your desert island disk?
My desert island disk would be my very own Epic Music playlist. Music has a huge impact on my mood so I wouldn’t trust anyone else to compile the right mix that works for me,
What is your ideal holiday?
My ideal holiday is one with lots and lots of opportunities for sports, surrounded by my family and friends such as a trip to Norway to swim in the fjords one day, climb a mountain the next, go skiing the day after and then finish things off with a mountain bikes session – perfect!