LED technology seems to evolve at the speed of light. Paavo Ritala attempts to keep pace.
“If you don’t have LED now you’re out of the game,” says Ensto’s Paavo Ritala. His business card reads Manager, Lighting Solutions, but he’s also known as “Mr. LED” or, from his Twitter handle, the “LEDi Master.”
Ensto started in the LED business in 2007 with outdoor lighting products. In 2013, Ritala joined the lighting team, and since then it’s been his job to keep pace. “Renewable time for LEDs is amazing,” he says. “Chip development happens so fast that we could be updating our products every six months!”
Commercial fixtures produce approximately 100 lumens per watt, but 200 lm/W has been exceeded by global manufacturers. (Context: an incandescent light bulb is measured at 10 to 15 lm/W.) “It’s rising all the time,” Ritala notes.
New tech, old fixture
Ensto’s first foray into LED was putting LEDs inside existing fixtures, and today this series of retrofits offers nearly a dozen LED options.
Ensto’s future, however, will be new lighting products designed around the LED.
“We’ll carefully follow our customers,” says Ritala. “Most urgent are outdoor luminaires – lighting parks and parking lots, tower block buildings in public and semi-public settings. We’re at the idea level and will develop two to four product families in the coming year.”
That development is guided by Ensto’s LED300 program, the “300” meaning percent: a goal to triple sales in LED products within three years. “LEDs are currently 15 percent of our lighting turnover,” says Ritala, “but they could easily grow to be one-third of Ensto’s total lighting business.”
Small is beautiful
Ensto competes with tailored solutions. “Small means faster and flexible,” says Ritala, “and that’s how we can take on the big LED players that we can’t match in resources or sales power.”
In non-residential buildings, Ritala says success will come from offering across-the-board solutions: EnstoNet, Ensto Workpoint electric poles, office luminaires, motion detection, and couplers for electric installations. “Everything is based on three ideas for the professional market: easy to install, easy to use, and as energy efficient as possible.”
“We need to build the brand, the design, the selection to match the customer needs. I’d love to see that there’s an ‘Ensto look’ to our luminaires. ‘Oh, that’s probably an Ensto,’ would be nice to hear.”
All over Europe
Thanks to 55 years in Finland, Ensto products are well known and respected. But abroad we must work to raise awareness to the levels we have in Finland and Sweden.
Ritala’s challenge is to marshal and coordinate all of Ensto’s lighting resources and know-how: “Ensto France knows the lighting needs of office customers. Ensto Italy can outfit an entire cruise liner with luminaires. Our colleagues in the Czech Republic are experts in LEDs for difficult conditions, and we’ve got a product development and management team in Finland.”
“I want to take the cruise line selection, put it in hotels. Take the French stuff and make it a global office offering. Combine EnstoNet and LEDs… I’m good at putting stuff together, finding the combinations of products and people.”
Before he was Mr. LED, Ritala was Mr. Hardware Store. He began his career with five years on the floor in the lighting section of a hardware store in Espoo, Finland. Then he joined a wholesaler, and eventually became a product manager for lighting and electrical items.
While he long ago left his first job, there’s one thing that never left him: “In the hardware store, every customer you meet has a problem for you to solve. At Ensto, I want to give our customers the idea that if you have a space, come to us, because we have a solution for complete electrification.”
Author: Scott Diel