Transforming Lighting with Nanoleaf - an Interview
Nanoleaf is one of the exhibitors at Global Sources Startup Launchpad (Spring Edition). Let’s see what they have in store for us!
What's Nanoleaf story and its core philosophy?
Nanoleaf was founded by three engineers, looking to leverage technology to address the global environmental crisis and revolutionize the way we light up our world. The story began in Canada where the three founders, Gimmy Chu (CEO), Tom Rodinger (CTO) and Christian Yan (COO) met while working on the ‘World Solar Challenge’ at the University of Toronto as engineering students. Their passion for sustainable and energy efficient lighting led them to start an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012 to fund the award winning ‘Nanoleaf One’.
Our company is principled on strong foundations in innovation, energy efficiency and human centric designs. Consumers are at the core of the design process, and we aim to inspire a new wave of personalized, intelligent lighting that rethinks the conventional light bulb. By creating the world’s most energy efficient light bulb in 2012, our company has become a leader in minimizing the global electricity demand for lighting – which accounts for 20% of the world’s total electricity consumption.
How does Nanoleaf reshape and reconfigure the traditional light bulbs?
We originally asked ourselves, “Why does a light bulb have to look like a light bulb?” Next, we asked, “Why does lighting have to be restricted to the conventions of a light bulb at all…?” For our original ‘Nanoleaf One’, we looked to redefine the conventional light bulb by developing a multi-sided circuit board and LED design which delivers 360° uniform light. The design transcends trends with a modern circuit board aesthetic, while the dodecahedron shape was inspired by the ancient art of origami. We have continued our path of innovation with further developments to our Classic Lighting range and, more recently, our Smart Lighting, which includes the Nanoleaf Aurora and Smart Ivy. In our Classic range, we surpassed restrictions of LED lighting by developing easily dimmable light bulbs without a dimmer switch. In our Smart range, we created a highly-personalized lighting experience – the modular smart lighting Nanoleaf Aurora.
Were you excited to received Apple's approval to join the HomeKit?
It was an honor to receive Apple’s approval for HomeKit. The partnership is a testament to how “smart” Nanoleaf products truly are. Integration with Homekit allows customers to maximize the potential of Nanoleaf products, from telling Siri to turn off the lights as you leave the house to having her customize your Aurora panel colors to set the mood.
Tell us more about your new product - The Aurora.
The Aurora smashes the boundaries for what we conceive to be modern lighting technology. Who said light bulbs should be round? Controlled by an app, the Aurora is a set of nine illuminated panels in the form of triangles that can each be adjusted to the tune of 16.7 million colors. The panel shapes allow users to configure them into any pattern design they like, allowing users to personalize their homes with countless designs - our Instagram (@Nanoleaf) features some of our customers’ most creative designs. Additionally, new features are added seamlessly via self-updating firmware.
Our goal with the Aurora is to create a smart lighting product that serves as the customer’s canvas to bring ultimate personalization to their lives. The range of lighting customization is unparalleled in the market, making this the go-to product for those looking to usher in a new wave of creative expression into their lives. The Aurora has been featured in the Museum of Modern Art, on the roof of Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai, Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and in Time Magazine as “The World’s Coolest Nightlight For My Son”. The Aurora illuminates rainy days, sets the tone for date nights and brings a range of stunning colors to your life.
You guys have been exhibited with Global Sources for more than once. Can you share your experience with us?
Global Sources has given us the opportunity to showcase our product and kickstart sales for new products at a premier electronics convention. The opportunity to showcase Nanoleaf products at Global Sources sowed the seeds for several long-term business relationships with key partners. The 2016 show allowed us to reconnect with one of the largest consumer electronics distributors in the United States, priming our newest product, the Aurora, for sales in more than 500 retail outlets in North America. Additionally, the convention allowed us to network with key personnel that have enabled us to integrate Nanoleaf products with Apple HomeKit.
Among the 38 startups featured on Global Source’s Startup Launchpad pavilion in 2015, we were one of four to successfully launch our products via retail channels. The opportunity to be featured on Global Sources has undoubtedly contributed to the major success that Nanoleaf has seen.
Any exciting plans ahead for Nanoleaf?
Currently we are developing our apps and crafting mounting kits to allow improved user interaction and personalization of the Aurora, such as ceiling mounts and flexible connectors to allow our customers to get really creative! Aurora is voice controlled and, with the upcoming updates, the Aurora ‘Rhythm’ will also react to the music you’re listening to. We are also developing a controller to allow for better interactions with our connected lighting devices. We are continuously working on developing our current products and thinking up new ones! Expect to see some more lighting panels, as we are working on making these more versatile - we want to make our panels waterproof so they can be used indoors and outside, allowing more freedom and creativity.
Maybe flying toasters with predictive algorithms to asymmetrically generate better breakfast decisions, alongside embedded quantum dot LED lighting designed to make buttering your crumpet more fun. Seriously. Okay, you’re right, we’re just kidding. Or are we? We have a lot going on in the pipeline!