Interview with Jan Sjöwall
Jan Sjöwall started his carrier in direct-marketing and logistics. In 1988. For 21 years he was in leading positions in the Kinnevik Group.
He founded TV-Shop which became Europe’s largest home shopping company with activities in 16 countries. He also pioneered E-commerce with CDON, which today is a listed company in Sweden and a leading Scandinavian E-commerce group. He was appointed CEO for Metro International in 1998 with one task, to build the most read newspaper title in the world, a goal that was fulfilled a few yeas later.
After the IPO 2000 he continued as Senior VP to expand Metro to Asia, Latin America and Russia and hence made the successful franchise concept that Metro now use.
When quitting Kinnevik 2009 he decided to work with start-ups in sectors where new technology brings new opportunities. LED-lighting is one of them. And he founded the Swedish Aaxsus, that is engaged in the development and marketing of LED products. The company is an importer and developer of LED light sources and its drive electronics.
We have had the opportunity to ask him about the lighting sector and as we thought, he had some interesting views and perspectives to add.
How would you say that the lighting sector has developed during your years working in the sector?
Like most tech sectors in its beginning the development is very fast. We early determined that Aaxsus chance as a small player in a global market is to have know-how and early adopt new components as well as constantly challenge the existing designs and try to improve them. As a small manufacturer with short series we can apply the latest technology and bring it to market faster. We located the company to Lund which can be compared as the “Silicon Valley” of Sweden, in order to get easy access to resources in R&D. Most development by the industry so far has been to save energy, and to resemble the light quality we been used to. Making light which looks and behaves like the old bulbs, dimability etc. The next phase will be to use all the new possibilities the LED technology brings.
Is there a greater demand today to continuing progressing the lighting sector, does it develop faster than before?
Still there is a learning curve by consumers and business customers regarding LED. Most consumers still believe that the light is measured in Watts since a 25W old lamp has weaker light than a 60W.
The knowledge about how light affects health and well being is not known as well as the possibilities. It’s quite recently the third receptor in the eye that triggers physiological processes was discovered (2002). Currently cutting edge research is made in this field, which we hope will lead to new insights and new products, which improves peoples life.
We have heard a bit about Smart lighting, can you tell us what it is and how you are working with it?
Smart Lighting is a wide description of lighting systems that deliver more than the usual “opposite to darkness”. It includes practical solutions such as remotely control and preset your home to the possibility that light itself can carry information with terms like “Internet of everything”, collecting “Big Data”, and now also systems to deliver a light which contributes to well being and prevention of medical problems. Aaxsus is one of the founding members of Inside Light which is an organization with the objective to interlink the latest research with companies and users.
Hence we are working very close with Lund University. Currently our MD for instance is engaged in a research project, started on Aaxsus initiative which shall result in a more effective light for schools and offices.
What other tendencies/trends would you like to see within the sector? Is there something that you miss?
I think the government shall take a larger responsibility to educate the market, by for instance by consumer information about LED. They can also help R&D by making innovation tenders for practical applications, instead of just buying old tech “safe” solutions. This will challenge manufacturers of both components, lamps and lighting systems and hence help to create the future market.
Thank you so much Jan, to visit the website of Aaxsus click here.