GE Lighting Uses Competition To Design New Smart Office Lighting Products
When compared to the ‘total lighting solutions’ of other European lighting powerhouses, it wouldn’t be unfair to opine that GE Lighting has been lagging behind. But now the company plan to change all that by leapfrogging over their competition by using………..a competition.
The company have launched a challenge to design a complete smart lighting system for the office of the future. Up to two winning teams will receive $15,000 each. And a maximum of three teams may have an opportunity to further collaborate with the GE Lighting EMEA Team regarding their Entry design and enter into a mutually agreeable business relationship, which may include an internship or consultancy position.
Here is a snippet of the challenge published by GE Lighting:
What does the future of intelligent office lighting look like to you?
This challenge seeks your brilliant ideas to do exactly that – to design a complete, intelligent lighting system for an office environment – one that can monitor, analyze and optimize its surroundings.
Why Intelligent Office Lighting?
Big data and smart technology are intersecting everywhere – from a wristband that tracks your health or an app that lets you remotely control your home. But how can these functions translate to an office environment? Can the building where we work be as smart as our phones and computers?
The competition has three major components: System Design, System Performance and Business Plan, represented by three sub-contests. Each sub-contest will have deliverables at the end of each Phase, and deliverables will build upon each other from one phase to the next. In Phases 1 and 2, respondents will receive collective feedback from a global panel of judges on their entries and they are encouraged to consider the feedback when refining their entry for the next phase.
But hurry; the closing date for the first phase is 20th October 2015. Winners will be announced in April 2016.
Awards & Opportunities:
Up to 2 winning Entries will each be awarded a $15,000 USD cash prize. In addition, up to 3 Entrants may have an opportunity to further collaborate with the GE Lighting EMEA Team regarding their Entry design and enter into a mutually agreeable business relationship, which may include an internship or consultancy position.
Please visit http://geinnovationlab.com/10eqs/lighting to learn more about the challenge in detail.
Is it Smart?
The competition could be a speedy way of bringing innovation into the product portfolio. Normally, such a new complete portfolio development phase would take at least twice that amount of time and a lot more money than the $30,000 prize money. So yes, it is a new, smart, innovative way to get a lot of ideas for free.
But that is a big ask for teams to put in so much effort in a short amount of time for potentially no reward. And the competition only opened on 15th September. So that’s not a lot of time for teams to come up with an idea and plan for Phase 1. I only found out about the competition yesterday via a knowledge broker website that I am registered with. And I’ve not seen it mentioned a lot in the European press. So is there enough time for teams to complete Phase 1?
The other aspect that I find curious, is that the competition seems to be US focused, with a US facilitator and US$ prize. However, the submissions will be judged by the EMEA team of GE – presumably for that market. So shouldn’t there be more emphasis on marketing this in Europe?
Is this the way of the future – opening up product development and business planning to open competitions? And could you see this expanding to the point where former competitors would collaborate and share the IP & profits on new product development? Given that we see a point where lighting will be used for more than just ‘seeing’, e.g. communicating; other adjacent industries will need to work more closely with us. Do we have the legal frameworks for such collaboration? And how will that affect our business models and channels to market?
With this initiative, GE Lighting have opened up thoughts and ideas beyond a smart office lighting competition. Time will tell if this is the way of the future for new lighting system designs. I will be very interested to see the results.
By Julie Allen