Amir Zoufonoun, CEO
Intelligent buildings are gaining significant traction in today’s architecture and construction world, owing to their ability to deliver engaging experiences, increase tenant satisfaction, improve space management and ensure robust energy performance. At the heart of the smart buildings lie the LED lighting systems that make any space attractive. Be it a workplace, apartment buildings, or commercial areas, good lighting helps create the aesthetics for a venue, turning an otherwise bland room into a pristine canvas. Well-illuminated spaces not only make people feel good and stay longer but also improve efficiency and productivity. More advanced lighting systems also include wireless connectivity not only to control and monitor each light but also to act as the primary communications network to integrate and control all other key functions in the building, such as HVAC, window shades, and sensors, among others. Besides maximizing the happiness of the people in the space, these integrated systems also optimize energy usage, sustainability, and reliability.
There are several smart lighting solutions providers for intelligent buildings, but one innovative company stands out. Xicato, long known for its applicative expertise, high-quality, and reliability of its lighting systems, has also been steadily expanding its portfolio of smart systems to include best-of-breed controls hardware and software. A one-stop smart lighting and controls solution provider, Xicato is on a mission to define the future of intelligent buildings by delivering the absolute best quality, highest performing, and most reliable portfolio of spot and linear lighting with the latest in Bluetooth controls technology. Xicato’s Bluetooth (BLE) lighting controls are designed to provide a superior range of controls and reduce the implementation and maintenance costs at any site. A unique benefit of using the Xicato controls is the ease of integration through its open software platform and its embeddable controls card or firmware, The company offers an open API, which allows clients to integrate with 3rd party systems.
A Leader in the Making
Xicato was established in 2007 mainly to create and distribute the highest quality LED lights across the globe. Under the leadership of Amir Zoufonoun, the company is now an end-to-end player for best-of-breed lighting and controls. Today, the company is well-known for enabling designers and customers create beautiful and healthy spaces in smart and connected environments. “We are one of the few companies that offer the complete solution - spot and linear light sources, with embedded Bluetooth mesh controls that tie the hardware and software all together in one complete package,” states Zoufonoun, CEO of Xicato. This makes Xicato the perfect choice for ease of integration, performance, and reliability. Unlike other one-stop companies, which tend to be very large and too slow to react to rapid market shifts and technology changes, Xicato, as the only midsize player is fully focused on and is well-positioned to cater to the needs of this segment. “There are many advantages to being nimble and laser focused on this elite group of progressive customers. Unlike the very large vendors, we enjoy a certain level of customer intimacy that allows us to change direction based on direct customer feedback and rapidly incorporate their inputs into our plans,” explains Zoufonoun.
With installations in over 30 countries and more than 10 million nodes, Xicato has wide adoption worldwide. The company is a strong brand within the lighting industry, being a byword for “quality” in their sector. In support of this position, Xicato, offers the only 10-year warranty on color and lumen in the industry, guaranteeing zero color shift or light output loss for ten years. “This is a game changer in the industry. Typically, standard LED lights start to shift colors after two or three years, where for example one light may go greenish and another next to it goes pinkish—unacceptable in most applications. With Xicato you get beautiful, consistent colors for a long period of time,” assures Zoufonoun.
Addressing the Challenges Effectively
As a lighting expert in the intelligent buildings arena, the company is dedicated to solving this sector’s most pressing challenges. Zoufonoun elucidates, “When it comes to intelligent buildings, construction companies and building owners have a very hard time deciding on how to integrate systems, or even which system components to choose. As many people are confused by the variety of offerings with little education on the differences, they often end up deploying multiple solutions from different vendors, which oftentimes leads to failed results.” Another reason stopping contractors and building owners from adopting smart building systems is the perception that they are expensive to build with years to realize the ROI. They also believe that achieving efficiency and reducing costs while at the same time improving comfort and productivity is a challenging endeavor. Good news is the latest technology solutions have solved many of these problems. Xicato addresses these issues by delivering high-quality and energy-efficient lighting products at a reasonable price while providing a beautiful and personalized lighting experience. The company educates its customers with proof points, case studies, testimonials, and real-time data. “In fact, we are working right now to highlight a case study with real data on a popular chain of stores in which we have 250,000 LED modules installed with a 0% failure rate in over 7 years,” states Zoufonoun.
The company further notes that end users don’t have the service and support they need for such solutions and become frustrated when their systems don’t work together as planned. Xicato addresses this by offering a services division for complete support after the installation is completed.
A Mark of Quality and Reliability
The company’s product portfolio has expanded across multiple dimensions in line with market demand and customer needs. Xicato today offers high-quality Bluetooth wireless solutions that include lights, smart drivers, sensors, gateways, repeaters, and switches, all with supporting software and services. There are different kinds of lighting solutions that customers can choose depending on their application. “Our linear lighting has become very popular in all kinds of segments. And the quality has now reached a point where it can be used alongside of spotlights to create beautiful and healthy atmosphere,” avers Zoufonoun. The lights can be controlled using a control system made up of hardware such as precision dimming drivers, sensors, switches, gateways, control panels, and so on. Xicato’s embedded software and smart cards control the overall system. These embeddable smart cards can be used to tie into other systems such as shades and HVACs. Additional software can be written to integrate with it as well, so that other sensors, shades, locks, security, and any other function may be controlled with one system, centralizing the control.
Xicato’s smart wireless controls can sense and report a whole host of intelligence about the space such as occupancy, light levels, temperature, humidity, usage and intensity data, which are key to making intelligent decisions about creating comfortable spaces with social distancing in mind, saving energy, and developing models over time to refine and enhance the smart building. The company’s Bluetooth wireless technology provides beacons that track occupancy and greatly ease the challenge of asset tracking, such as in hospitals and warehouses, while Xicato’s system can easily be integrated with other BMS through its open API.
Delivering Personalization and a Healthy Environment
After constructing a new building, Kreon Headquarters and Showroom in the Netherlands had a new challenge ahead of them. In this new building, light control - one of the most essential features, became a mandatory requirement. Personalized scenes, using lifestyle descriptions to execute the desired scene, easily raise or lower the lighting to create a unique atmosphere were decisive features for the new building. There was also a need for integration, such as multiroom audio, shades, and temperature, in the different spaces of the building - offices, landscape rooms, meeting rooms, restaurant, outdoor areas, and many more.
Kreon was particular about implementing high quality light fittings, circuits, and controls. They ultimately chose Xicato. Using Xicato’s end-to-end lighting solutions, Kreon achieved personalization and enhanced convenience– improved safety and reliability– comfort, security, and dramatic lighting scenes while saving energy.
With such unparalleled lighting and control systems, the future looks promising for Xicato. As a part of their product expansion plans, the company looks forward to adding more intelligence and capabilities to their product portfolio. Xicato already has broad, diversified products, market segmentation, geographical reach, and a rapidly growing base of marquee customers and local channel partners worldwide. The company is thus well-positioned to ride what they believe is coming soon - the consolidation wave - and land on top. Zoufonoun adds, “This interim consolidation phase is likely to be driven by innovative platform companies that are not only diversified across multiple dimensions, but by those who have also fully embraced the new and emerging market trends such as climate change, circular economy, and healthy spaces. We are rapidly expanding our portfolio consistent with these trends. An example is our new network-ready AC drivers with the longest warranty in the industry.” The company has a broad presence in North American, Europe, Australia, and Asia, with wide adoption in the most tech-savvy areas of the world. They plan to continue to grow their footprint in these areas as a leading end-to-end player.
Xicato is no longer a single product company in one or two markets. As a multi-product, multi-market company, Xicato is well-positioned for the growth in the intelligent building space. “Our immediate focus is twofold; broaden our one-stop-shop offerings to our customers by expanding our intelligent building product portfolio, services, certified programs, and marketing efforts, and broaden our market reach by growing our global partner network,” concludes Zoufonoun. “Longer term, we strive to establish Xicato as the go-to brand for the best-in-class intelligent building technologies and solutions.”