This Entrepreneur is Revolutionizing The Connected Lighting Industry

Sam Sinai of Deco Lighting, and his business partners, have launched many entrepreneur-inspired product revolutions

By
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Entrepreneurs are dreamers by nature. They dream of making a lasting difference in the lives of customers and markets they serve. They dream of leaving a legacy of prosperity and opportunity for those who embrace the visions they champion, feeding on those rare moments when vision, investment, hard work, and good fortune intersect to make dreams become reality.

Sam Sinai
Sam Sinai

The breakthrough happening at the corner of Vail and Elm, in Commerce California, cannot be mistaken for ordinary.

LED adoption was in full swing by 2014 when co-founder of Deco Lighting Sam Sinai, and his business partners asked the question responsible for launching so many entrepreneur-inspired product revolutions, “The what If” question. In this case, reflecting on the solid-state and digital footprint created by the LED technology, Sinai pondered what could be,  what if Deco were able to embed wireless technology into the power source of every fixture, thereby converting the fixture from a static part of the building infrastructure into an intelligent device capable of collecting and disseminating information, capable of being controlled and automated in support of energy efficiency mandates, capable of addressing the growing demands for business intelligence, and capable of taking advantage of the anticipated benefits of Internet connectivity and access.

Since receiving a patent in 2017, Sinai and the Deco Lighting team have been relentless in their effort to develop and launch a revolutionary connected lighting platform. This innovative approach uses the wireless driver technology to bring the benefits of connected lighting within reach of the estimated 97 per cent of the market that previously saw it as too difficult, and expensive. The road to developing a market-ready offering was not without challenge and even disappointment. Sinai embraces the need to learn from our past but insists that when it comes to innovation we must always look forward and never back.

The glass walls and elegant open ceilings of Deco’s offices speak of a commitment to excellence and creating value. Important to Sinai, however, is the meaning behind the graphics adorning the interior walls of Deco’s office. Life-size graphics that combine the image of a superhero with an employee's name in a fun yet empowering expression of his belief, that every employee has a unique skill and contribution to make.

Sinai said, “True inventors are rare. While few can invent, everyone is capable of innovating, of making those incremental contributions that collectively make ‘the’ difference. However, innovation for innovation’s sake is meaningless. To succeed, innovation must address a market need and be martialed in a way that execution is coordinated across functional disciplines to make commercialization possible. In my opinion, this is the secret to successful entrepreneurship, this is the secret that now inspires hope and opportunity for Deco and all of its stakeholders.”

Sinai also expressed his gratitude to industry thought-leaders who embraced his vision for the smart-fixture technology, several of whom invested significant time, money, and intellectual capital alongside the Deco team to bring the offering to fruition.

Today, Deco offers smart fixtures under the moniker IoT4Free. Integral to the existing driver, the wireless technology allows for seamless integration of the fixture into a robust connected-lighting system, without the need for expensive adders or skilled labor. The energy, safety, and application benefits of connected-lighting control systems are widely embraced and include such advantages as daylight harvesting, dim to off, color tuning, automated scenes, and occupancy sensing. In the case of Deco, the empirical value of innovation is evident as these and other benefits are offered at 40 per cent discount from the next closest competitor. The wireless technology, in combination with Deco’s proprietary software, allows the smart fixtures to be commissioned, and the control system configured, in minutes with eye-opening simplicity that has industry experts hailing it as the game-changer.

Sinai speaks of current initiatives with global technology leaders. These initiatives are aimed at leveraging the cost and performance advantages of Deco’s system to commercialize smart-space services addressing a variety of industry needs, including, asset tracking, geofencing, indoor GPS, heat mapping, tailgating, Wi-Fi sniffing, space allocation, scheduling, and active shooter detection. Sinai continued, “As global competition intensifies, the demand for greater efficiency, decision making, and security is also intensifying”

He points to the pandemic and geopolitical pressures, bringing workplace health and safety concerns into the forefront of their collective focus. The Deco team is actively working on smart-space solutions for controlling workspace conditions of distancing, contract tracing, air quality, and approved access. As further evidence of the potential and promise of the commercial smart-space movement, Sinai cites a recently launched DOE initiative through Pacific Northwest National Laboratories where the DOE is challenging manufacturers to develop low-cost solutions to providing IoT-ready luminaires. Sinai believes that Deco’s patented wireless technology at the driver level uniquely positions Deco to support global luminaire manufacturers in the launch of IoT-ready technology and, will allow Deco to compete favorably in the smart-space market which by some estimates is expected to exceed $86 billion by 2026.

Sinai’s vision extends to his channel partners and the sales agencies that represent Deco nationwide. He sees their enterprise value and competitive leverage increasing as SaaS-based services with recurring revenue change the way they interact with their customers, increasing strategic touchpoints and elevating their ability to add value beyond merely selling elegant fixtures or basic control systems.  

The Persian-American immigrant and graduate of UCLA, is no stranger to dreaming big and working hard, a combination that earned him recognition as a 2017 finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurship of the year award. Sinai draws his motivation from influential leaders whose drive for innovation changed industries, such as Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk. Sinai concludes, “I hope to join their ranks someday, to have inspired innovation that brings impactful change and adds value, I believe we have the opportunity to do just that here at Deco."