Selling services has been an established business model in car-leasing and home-renting. With the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming the centre of many business activities, this concept of ‘renting out’, rather than a direct sell, is fast gaining popularity in the lighting and building technology sectors too. Typical applications in the field of light and building technology are ‘Light as a Service (LaaS)’, ‘Security as a Service, or Safety as a Service (SaaS)’.
For the buyer, say a building owner, it’s makes more economic sense as he or she doesn’t need to pay the price of the solutions ‘upfront’. Payment is on a subscription-based model. The customer only pays for the actual-usage. Ownership risks are shifted from the customer to the provider. For the providers this offers new opportunities of revenue – and, looking to the networked future, and thanks to big data – in-depth observation of their customers’ usage behaviour, which they can utilise as a basis for further innovations, products and services. And conversion of the lighting system to modern LED technology is beneficial to the environment.
The services offered by LaaS providers normally include planning and installation of the lighting, plus lighting management. Regular maintenance and service and monitoring of the lighting, plus optimisation of the control technology to reflect changing needs, are mostly comprised in these packages.
‘In future lighting will become part of the internet of things’, confirms Dr. Jürgen Waldorf, managing director of the ZVEI Association for Light and the ZVEI Industry Initiative light.de. ‘In this field the new technology, and particularly the linkage with sensor systems and other technical facilities, will provide an opportunity to adapt the use of light to each user’s particular needs. In this way the operation of the lighting system and overall energy consumption can be optimised in conjunction with sun protection, air conditioning and usage of a building.’
The ‘as-a-service’ concepts are also gaining a significant presence in the field of safety and security. They integrate burglar-alarm and video technology, evacuation systems, and time and access management on one central platform. Mechanical components, such as barrier systems, gates or turnstiles are becoming part of the rental concept. Under these arrangements, too, the customer can calculate with stable costs during the term of the contract for the entire technology necessary, for the operation and maintenance of the system.
Fire-alarm systems, too, are already being supplied as part of ‘as a service’ models. Compliance with strict fire-safety rules is thus placed in the hands of specialists. The project design and installation of the system with its corresponding software and related equipment are likewise carried out externally; a standing charge replaces one-off capital investments. Additional services, such as insurance or remote maintenance, can also be booked as part of the package. In this way the contractor can guarantee that the (rented) equipment is always state-of-the-art.
Through the availability of a multiplicity of data the new technology makes predictive maintenance possible. Using collected data, experiential values and related algorithms as a basis, it is possible to rectify problems before they lead to a breakdown. Expensive and time-consuming repairs will thus be avoided in advance. Experts believe that in a few years most systems will be bought as services. Given the large volumes of data available, better assessment methods are possible through artificial intelligence. And the availability of data provides an opportunity for new business models.