Comment: Smart grids and grid girls

02. May 2016

Are grid girls also smart? Just one of the really important questions on Light+Building 2016…

by Joachim Ritter

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Light+Building 2016 was very much future-focussed. Everyone was talking about smart lighting and smart grids. But there were still some people around who did not seem to really get the point. A number of companies resorted to sales arguments and strategies that had had their day back in the last century. Many visitors consequently found it hard to take them seriously. Nevertheless certain exhibitors opted to exploit flashy sports cars as traditional eye-catchers. Formula One fans are familiar with so-called grid girls, pit babes or race queens. Please note: smart grids and grid girls have just about nothing in common …! At trade fairs, these young ladies are generally referred to as hostesses. The purpose of involving them is solely for the marketing effect: they attract attention. The winner at this year’s show was quite clearly Osram. The hostesses and the car were practically inseparable. And the Osram stand was probably one of the most photographed at the entire fair.

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At the Artemide stand it was at least possible to see the connection between the car and the luminaire displayed. “Ameluna” is a successful blend of the expertise of the established Italian lighting manufacturer Artemide and the design philosophy of Mercedes-Benz: sensuous clarity. An Italo-German affair! Well, it worked for Ferrari and Michael Schumacher. In this case, an Italian lighting manufacturer making use of the design approach of a German company. Now, that is really something else.

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Martini did not venture down that path. Sports cars are anonymous with Italian flair and the image the Italians like to promote of themselves, and Martini and Pagani see their position on the market as being linked with elegance and technological innovation. I guess parallels can be drawn between sports cars and luminaires.

But there were also some very serious fields of application. Up till recently, battery-powered vehicles were about as interesting as battery-powered grids. Not even worth mentioning. Since Tesla started changing the market with the launch of their Model 3 at a price of 30,000 euros and with a range of more than 346 kilometres (the distance covered in any Formula One race) electrical charging stations are becoming increasingly popular as an integral part of a luminaire. At Light+Building some manufacturers presented how they were cooperating with automobile manufacturers and demonstrated how they were seriously entering this market. Besides Schréder, Heper was displaying products from Smight (an acronym made up of the words smart and light), a subsidiary of the EnBw electric utilities company. Light as a product is no longer only supplied by manufacturers of light sources and luminaires, but also by network providers, utilities companies and automobile manufacturers. We will have to wait and see how that works in the long run.

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Bag, mousepad, cloth to clean your glasses and beer mat from Abalight.

My opinion:

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