Feature, IoT/Smart Lighting, Lighting Controls

Meet the 10 disruptors transforming lighting

The visionary disruptors are bringing rapid and radical change to a sector that’s more used to long product cycles and traditional glass and sheet metal technologies.

Here they are…the key individuals driving the industry into a brave new world of digital, connected lighting. These visionary men and women are bringing rapid and radical change to a sector that’s more used to long product cycles and traditional glass and sheet metal technologies. 

Selected by a panel of Lux Review senior editors, they are shaping our future…


1. Vernon Nagel – CEO, Acuity Brands

Since 2004 Nagel has turned Acuity Brands from a conservative, traditional lighting manufacturer into a dynamic, high technology giant that’s become a darling of Wall Street. Its newly-formed Atrius division – which brings together all its IoT capabilities which rival luminaire makers can licence – is the one to watch.



2. Joe Costello – CEO, Enlighted

You won’t find a more passionate evangelist for connected lighting anywhere on the planet. Costello, a former board member of Oracle, believes lighting will be a key technology in making the internet of things a reality. Enlighted has been the torchbearer, and the first company to successfully sell data from lighting.



3. Andrew Johnson – CEO, Aurora Lighting Group

Since 1999, Johnson’s Aurora has been shaking up the big players in LED lighting. But it’s the launch of tech offshoot Gooee in 2014 that marks him out as a disruptor. Gooee is a toolkit of IoT tech which light makers can use to get their kit connected to the cloud, enabling a world of data services.



4. Eric Rondolat – CEO, Philips Lighting

While others talk about connected lighting in retail and industry, Philips is actually doing it in the real world. Under Rondolat, Philips has pioneered technologies such as wireless control, power over Ethernet and indoor-positioning as well as concepts such as lighting-as-a-service. 



5. Lee Kun-hee – Chairman, Samsung

Strategic force Lee Kun-hee has kept Samsung out of mainstream lighting – much to the relief of OEMs – but its aggressively-priced and high-performing LED chips and modules are shaking up the supply chain. Its roll-out of drivers and sensors – using expertise gained in the mobile phone sector – could be transformative.


6. Elena Lehtimäki – CTO, Casambi

With Casambi co-founder Timo Pakkala, Lehtimäki’s on a mission to change the paradigm of control. They worked at the Nokia Research Centre when Bluetooth Low Energy was developed, and are convinced the standard will dislodge hard-wired systems and wireless protocols in the lighting controls platform war.



7. Professor Harald Haas – Co-founder, pureLiFi 

Li-Fi is the transmission of the internet and other data using visible light from LED luminaires, rather than congested radio waves. Little wonder it’s garnering a lot of interest in tech circles. Haas, the chief scientific officer of the company and a professor at Edinburgh University, is the undisputed go-to guy for Li-Fi.



8. Professor Russell Foster – Neuroscientist, Oxford University 

Foster led the team which discovered the photosensitive cells in our eyes which control our body clock. Their findings are creating a whole new genre called human-centric lighting which could improve the wellbeing of building occupants  and open up new business models for the lighting industry.



9. Jeanette Skjelmose – Head of Lighting, Ikea

Skjelmose is the woman behind Ikea’s charge into the connected home. The low prices of its well-engineered smart lights are bringing the tech to the masses in a way that no-one else can match.  Its announcement that its kit will be compatible with Apple’s HomeKit, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa will have helped.



10. Michael Bell – CEO, Silver Spring Networks

An Intel and Apple veteran, Bell is targeting the lighting industry with Silver Springs Networks’ robust IoT platforms. It’s a smart move: lighting people are good at lights, not IT. It’s working with companies such as Acuity Brands, Osram, Gerard, DW Windsor and Thorn to deliver connected lighting to customers worldwide.





  • See the technology disrupting the lighting industry at LuxLive 2017 in London this November.  The Gooee IoT Arena at will focus on the exciting digital applications of connected lighting and feature a rolling programme of talks, panels discussions and demonstrations. Speakers include Harald Haas of pureLiFi. Exhibitors include Aurora, Philips, Samsung and Holophane. Entry to LuxLive 2017 is free if you pre-register HERE.