As the Platformatics team passes our one year anniversary, I want to thank my fellow founders, investors, suppliers, partners and customers. In 363 days the team designed, built, sold and installed a working lighting system. Not only does our system support white light applications, but it also supports full color, tunable white, emergency lights, and a huge array of sensors. Milestones like this offer a great time to reflect on how far this new approach to lighting has come and what remains to be done.
When I started the Cisco Light as a Service initiative six years ago, a few executives were supportive but most thought the idea was crazy. Once the team built a working prototype with lights hand made by Chris and Lisa Isaacson at NuLEDs and software from our friends at Joulex.net (later acquired by Cisco), the resistance began to fade.
After building a prototype we sought input from industry experts, specifiers, architects, MEPs and others. In the early days, we received a lot of push back and FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) from industry insiders. As we learned more about the way in which the industry operated and how projects are sold, planned and installed, we realized that the PoE+LED approach would provide enormous cost savings for new construction and deep retrofit projects. The solution offers tenants a better quality of light and gives them individual control. To building owners and operators, the PoE+LEDs makes tenant fit-out easy, fast and cheap while saving energy and giving the new renter a great lighting experience. In short, it was a win for everyone except the folks who sell and install 277V AC circuits (but with very minimal training, they can install Cat 5 cable). According to many Cisco sales teams with whom we worked, the solution promised to reenergize the sales force and allow them to easily double sales of PoE LAN access switches. Unfortunately, executives at big companies are often incentivized to focus on short term growth at the expense of leading a once-in-a-lifetime market transition.
After several years of building the Cisco PoE-LED lighting eco-system with luminaire vendors, a chip manufacturer and several controls companies, I became increasingly restless with the pace of innovation. I decided that I could build the solution better and faster by departing the company. When it became clear that Cisco would exit the lighting solution business, several team members and I accepted the severance package and left. Within a week several folks across Cisco called to ask if we would return. We declined. When Cisco called to ask if we would join their new Connected Lighting Technology Partner Program, we agreed. You can find more information here: https://marketplace.cisco.com/catalog/companies/platformatics-inc/products/poe-lighting
Today we’re focused on helping lighting companies migrate their luminaires to a PoE infrastructure. We sell product through lighting companies and direct to IT System Integrators, Lighting Specifiers and MEP firms. If you’re a lighting company interested in this new approach, call us. If you’re a technology reseller interested in expanding your product and services portfolio, we can help.