Buyer sought for troubled lighting controls firm

Administrators are hunting for a buyer to save the troubled smart lighting controls firm Organic Response.

The Australian start-up – which pioneered an innovative controls topology in which luminaires share intelligence – went into administration at the end of February, raising concerns among corporate customers who invested in the technology.

Organic Response equipment has been sold in light fittings from well-known lighting brands, including Feilo Sylvania, Whitecroft and Fagerhult, and the company was developing an ‘Internet of Things’ offer in which the luminaire-mounted sensors generate data for cloud-based analytical software.

‘Organic Response was a very ambitious company, but they had to spend too much to stay ahead of the market'

Whitecroft Lighting technical director Paul Cassidy

Key European distributor Feilo Sylvania said today it was ‘very confident’ that a buyer would be found. The luminaires-to-lamps manufacturer said it expected an announcement next week, and moved to reassure customers with Organic Response-enabled installations that their networks would be supported.

Feilo Sylvania global director of strategy Bastiaan de Groot told Lux: ‘We know when we are working with exciting disruptive start-ups such as Organic Response that there is a risk and therefore we have a corporate framework in place to ensure our customers are fully protected. 

‘We have security procedures to ensure that we have access to the technology should one of our suppliers fold over. We don’t expect any negative impact on our customers.

‘We are working closely with Organic Response, the administrators and potential buyers and we’ll share further information in the course of the next week.’

Organic Response sensor modules embedded in light fittings communicate with each other in a unique ‘distributed intelligence’ topology, allowing responsive lighting control, remote monitoring and the compilation of occupancy data.

Whitecroft Lighting technical director Paul Cassidy described the news of Organic Response entering administration as ‘frustrating and disappointing’.

‘It is a lesson to all Internet of Things companies,’ he said. ‘There’s a lot of buzz about this technology, but there are not enough people actually buying the technology yet.

‘Organic Response was a very ambitious company, but they had to spend too much to stay ahead of the market. 

‘The development of the Internet of Things is not like the development of LED. You have to put a lot more money on the roulette wheel with IoT and you can only bet on single numbers. The costs to stay in the game are increasing and the challenges for smaller companies are getting larger.’

Whitecroft would provide on-going technical support to customers with projects using Organic Response technology.

The news is set to raise concerns about the stability and security of disruptive IoT start-ups entering the lighting marketplace. 

VIDEO – Watch Organic Response founder Danny Bishop explain the concept to Lux at the company's launch at Light+Building:

 

 

  • Internet of Things-based lighting control, data capture and security will be a key theme of LuxLive 2017, which takes place on Wednesday 15 November and Thursday 16 November at ExCeL London. For more information, and to register for free, visit www.luxlive.co.uk.

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