Redwood Systems, a provider of building-performance lighting systems that use twisted-paircabling as their infrastructure, has established operations in Europe. The company also has received European certification of its products and announced a deal with France's largest electric utility, EDF. Additionally, Redwood has extended its partnerships with structured cabling system manufacturer CommScope and distributor Anixter.
The company's European headquarters are in London and headed by Brent Boekestein, vice president of global markets. He is responsible for extending Redwood's presence and growing market share by pursuing new customers. The company says his initial efforts will focus on the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Concerning the deal with EDF, Redwood's co-founder and chief executive officer Dave Leonard explained the utility "was on a tour of the U.S. looking at energy technologies, specifically in Silicon Valley" when the two organizations first met. He added, "It's interesting to me that the key power provider in France, with a large portfolio of nuclear plants, is so interested in energy-saving technology." In France, Leonard further explained, energy is less costly than it is in some neighboring countries. In a general sense, the more energy EDF saves - and gets its customers to save - the more it can sell to neighboring countries at a higher rate.
EDF has implemented Redwood Systems' technology in its innovation laboratories to determine the potential impact building-performance lighting solutions can have on its commercial customers. Following a successful trial, EDF plans to implement the technology across facilities in its service area. EDF Labs research engineer David Menga said, "Low-voltage technology and IP connectivity are game changers in the lighting industry and Redwood Systems' smart lighting solution leads the way in Europe."
Leonard added, "Europe in general tends to have early adopters of building technologies. This is a new relationship that we can leverage to their clients. In any region of the world that has lower-priced electricity [such as France], it's important to have a partner that represents selling and distribution of that electricity. That is not so much the case in the U.K., where customers are motivated on their own" to implement energy-saving measures because of the more significant cost implications. "Most of our market in Europe represents higher energy costs and a higher awareness of sustainability and carbon reduction that is extremely important," he added. "Carbon reduction and energy savings is an acute issue - one that has to be solved, whereas in the U.S. it's a nice-to-have. It will get escalated in importance in the U.S., but right now Europe is an area we think the market is really going to shine for us, for that reason."
In addition to the EDF deal, Redwood announced that it received the CE mark for meeting several European safety standards related to telecommunications and lighting. In addition to meeting protocols from Underwriters Laboratories (UL), tests were also administered by a third party to certify that Redwood meets European electromagnetic interference (EMI) standards. On that achievement, Leonard commented, "You just can't do business [in Europe] without meeting EMI and safety standards. When we first won UL certification in the U.S. about a year-and-a-half ago, it was a big deal for us. We immediately started to focus on turning it into the European equivalent. Lighting has never fallen under Class 2 power rules. We can do that, which means there is no safety or fire threat from the power we deliver to the lights. That means the low-voltage contractor is able to install it."
Redwood referenced the Building Research Establishment Environment Assessment Method (BREEAM) in its announcement. BREEAM can be compared to the U.S.'s LEED program. Leonard said, "It is highly motivating for U.S. buildings to be LEED Gold or Platinum. In Europe it becomes even more of a business issue. Customers expect them to be adhering to energy-efficiency and sustainability programs."
Another part of Redwood's expansion into Europe is the extension of its agreements with Anixter and CommScope, which the company said "provide Redwood Systems with access to a well-established network of salespeople, technical resources and customers." Leonard said, "A key to our success is having great relationships with the low-voltage ecosystem, from companies like CommScope and Anixter and the contractors they represent. Every business is as dependent on innovating its channel as its product."