With innovative technologies such as myRoom and HomeWorks QS, Lutron is looking to promote energy efficiency and offer cost savings in the region
With building energy consumption having become a burning issue in the region, global lighting control expert Lutron has made it its business to address this challenge and thus strengthen its position in the Middle East market.
With the increased focus in the Middle East on developing sustainable economies, the demand for smart solutions that produce significant energy savings for new-build as well as renovation projects is on the rise, says the company.
With a track record of having invented light dimming, the 55-year-old US company is well poised address these issues with its innovative products.
“As a technology-centric company, our main focus has always been on innovation, quality and delivery,” says Ramin Mehrganpour, senior vice-president of Lutron Electronics.
“We have been investing over 10 per cent of our revenues on research and development,” he says.
Last year, the company launched myRoom guestroom management solutions designed to enhance guest experience and create energy efficiencies and cost savings. The product has received very good response from the market, according to Michael Pessina, co-chief executive officer and president, Lutron.
myRoom saves energy, reduces operating costs and increases guest satisfaction and loyalty by offering a high degree of personal control over the guest room environment. Through the options of myRoom prime and myRoom plus, the solution is available for any type of hotel room as a standalone solution or integrated into a broader hotel management system.
In addition, Lutron solutions utilise guest presence detection to save energy by turning lights off when a room is unoccupied or initiating HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning) setbacks when a room is unsold.
This ‘occupancy-based temperature setback’ can save 10 to 30 per cent of HVAC energy in hotel guest rooms and so make a significant contribution to sustainable hospitality.
Some of the UAE’s leading hotels like the Four Seasons, Fairmont, Marriott and some local brands, are already using the solution. Lutron has a strong pipeline for myRoom, not only in the UAE but also other countries in the region like Saudi Arabia, over the next two to three years.
The company has been selling its products in the Middle East since the early 1980s through its dealers and distributors.
“However over the past 10 years, we have been focusing on expanding and developing our business in the region,” says Mehrganpour.
The Dubai office was set up in 2003 and is the head office for Lutron’s Middle East operations and business. The company has another office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “We have a team of sales and service people to cater to our customers. The regional office looks after nine major countries in the Middle East and also Central Asia. In all, these include 18 to 19 countries, but the main focus is the Middle East and the GCC,” he adds.
Lutron’s team works directly with specifiers and lighting designers. “We also work with MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) engineers, consultants and interior designers,” says Pessina.
“We work with them directly, so we get involved at a very early stage and help them with the right solutions.
“Our total technology of lighting control and shading control has been provided to Abu Dhabi Financial Centre. We have also done Doha airport and King Abdulla Science and Technology University (Kaust) in Saudi Arabia where we installed the latest automated technology,” says Mehrganpour.
Lutron is currently working with Etisalat. “Etisalat has a number of branches across the UAE and we are going to provide the company with a simple wireless technology for all its retail shops that will help in controlling the lighting in its retail outlets and offices and also help the company develop lighting control in its headquarters,” he says.
Lutron also provides HomeWorks QS to the regional market.
Describing the product, Pessina says: “It is a high-end quality product for the residential sector. As a smart integrated home automation system, it integrates not only light but also the temperature control and shading of windows.
He adds: “We have been using this product mainly for the high-end residential market in the region and this is probably our most successful technology in the recent years. We have done many palaces and high-end mansions and also smaller size houses. The product has played a key role in our growth in the Middle East.”
Pessina continues: “We will have significant launches this year and all are related to lighting control for commercial residential applications. That is where we are focusing.
“One of our core capabilities is to provide products not just for new projects but also existing facilities. We are also developing technologies for the refurbishment markets.”
The last several years have been very good for the company, according to Pessina.
“As a private and family-owned company, we are able to take a long-term vision. Businesswise, it is difficult to say how this year is going to be but we are hopeful it is going to be good for us globally as well as in the Middle East.”
Lutron will continue to invest in new technology. It plans to increase business in the hospitality sector across the Middle East with myRoom.
“We will continue to focus on energy conservation products not only for large projects, but also smaller ones. We will also focus on wireless technology,” says Mehrganpour.
“While part of our business is in the hospitality sector, we are also very strong in the commercial building segment and a smaller part also comes in from the residential sector. So we have a well-diversified market.
“We are also looking at expanding our business into the high end-residential market and provide home owners with technology to not only conserve energy but also control natural light, enhancing comfort in their homes. This, along with the hospitality sector, is going to be our focus for next three years to drive our business,” he adds.
Commenting on the trends in hospitality lighting, he says: “We are noticing a strong trend in design towards LEDs (light emitting diodes) and we are in a position to handle this and provide very good systems. “Today, there are also more touchscreens in the rooms to control the systems. There is also a lot of emphasis on simplicity and aesthetics.”